The game is part of the NFL's tip of the hat to the old AFL, by matching the original AFL teams against each other. The Chargers, like the other originals, are celebrating their 50th season this year.
And what better way to get fired up for the first game than staring at the Raiders and being on a stage where there is but one game to watch.
"The Chargers-Raiders rivalry is always a heated match up," said Chargers coach Norv Turner, who was the Raiders head coach for two seasons before coming to San Diego. "Our fans always get a little extra excited when we play the Raiders, and this will be a great way for us to get things going."
RB LaDainian Tomlinson
A win at Oakland would give the Chargers 12 straight over their California foes.
And they hope to do it with millions of fans tuning in.
"Playing a divisional rival on national television is a great way to start our season," Chargers president Dean Spanos said. "We're excited about the opportunity for Chargers fans across the country to watch us kick off a tough schedule."
Coach Norv Turner said the changes the Raiders have made on their coaching staff will throw a wrench into preparations.
"It's going to be a challenge for us because they have changed," he said. "They've changed their defensive staff and I think they've made some changes offensively."
--RB LaDainian Tomlinson said he is eager to show he's still got something left in the tank after two straight seasons which were derailed by injuries. "For me, it's good because I get to prove what I'm worth again," Tomlinson said. "I get to prove to people, and that's the way it's always been for me. I've always enjoyed doing that. I get to do it once again."
--RT Jeromey Clary received a big-time performance bonus for the second straight year. He more than doubled his 2008 salary with a $405,859 bonus from the NFL's "performance-based pay" system, which rewards players through a complex evaluation based upon playing time and compensation. Clary's 2008 bonus was the highest awarded by the NFL. He made roughly $376,000 in base salary last season, when he started every game as the Chargers' right tackle. He made a $253,015 bonus for 2007, a season when he made $285,000 after starting the final six games in that campaign.
--WR Kassim Osgood, a two-time AFC Pro Bowl special teams player, is being shopped around. Osgood is eager to see more action as a receiver - he had zero catches last year - and has asked to be traded.
--The veterans will report to the offseason workouts on Monday.
--The Chargers were awarded two fourth-round compensatory picks (Nos. 133 and 134) after losing RB Michael Turner and CB Drayton Florence to free agency last year.
--Coach Norv Turner said the AFC West landscape is changing with new coaches in Denver and Kansas City. "The division is going to be different. It's going to be important for us to get a handle on (it) quickly."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think I will continue to be an explosive player. I'll be back to being full strength and to being the L.T. that you guys are used to seeing." - RB LaDainian Tomlinson on the type of season he expects from himself in 2009.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
All focus remains on the draft with no free agent visits planned for the Chargers. The Chargers will select No. 16 overall, their highest pick since taking Shawne Merriman at No. 12 in 2005.
TEAM NEEDS/OFFSEASON STRATEGY
WR Chris Chambers
On the surface there doesn't seem to be any question, what with Vincent Jackson having a breakout year with more than 1,000 receiving yards and savvy veteran Chris Chambers on the opposite side.
But Jackson is in general manager A. J. Smith's doghouse after being arrested during the week of the second round of the playoffs for driving under the influence.
And Chambers had games in which he disappeared, although the team points to the numerous weapons the offense possesses for his drop-off in production.
Then there is Buster Davis, a first-round pick two years ago. He didn't do much his rookie year and last year he spent most of the season on IR because of a groin injury.
1. Strong safety: The Chargers' pass defense was horrible last year. It wasn't all Clinton Hart's fault but it's obvious the team seeks a hard-hitter on the back end to strike some fear into receivers. That pass defense should improve with the return of a healthy Shawne Merriman, but an upgrade at strong safety would help as well.
2. Right guard: The departure of Mike Goff as a free agent and the lack of depth behind him is a concern. If the Chargers can fill the right guard spot, there might not as much urgency to try and replace right tackle Jeromey Clary as well. The Chargers must shore the right side of the line, but the biggest void is at tackle.
3. Defensive end: With Igor Olshansky being allowed to flee in free agency, the Chargers aren't certain they have a bona fide started on the roster. The team could fill this need through the draft.
MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.
FRANCHISE PLAYER: RB Darren Sproles: Tendered at $6.621M.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--OLB Marques Harris was used on passing downs and has shown some promise, but he won't be re-signed.
--C Jeremy Newberry was a valuable backup when Nick Hardwick was injured early last season, but the Chargers won't re-sign him.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--WR Malcom Floyd (tendered at $1.545M with second-round pick as compensation) has a good connection with QB Philip Rivers and can be a solid red-zone target. Injuries slowed him some down the stretch last year.
--CB Cletis Gordon (tendered at $1.545M with second-round pick as compensation) surprised some by getting that tender as some of his shortcomings were exposed when playing extended stretches last year. But he is a solid special teams player and has potential as a returner.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: None.
--OT Jeromey Clary: ERFA; $460,000/1 yr.
--OG Kynan Forney: Potential UFA; $4.8M/2 yrs, SB unknown.
--LB Kevin Burnett: UFA Cowboys; $5.5M/2 yrs, $2M SB.
--RB Eldra Buckley (released).
--OG Mike Goff: UFA Chiefs; terms unknown.
--DE Igor Olshansky: UFA Cowboys; $18M/4 yrs, $8M guaranteed.
--LB Anthony Waters (released).