October 26, 2008. San Diego Chargers ‘at’ New Orleans Saints. The second ever game of the ‘International Series’ in London. The first, and only, time the Chargers have taken part in the series, now known as the NFL London Games. After 4 more games this year, there has now been 21 games in London, in 10 years, and a further two in the NFL’s Mexico Games.
The Bolts game against the Saints wasn’t successful. The Chargers rallied late, but it wasn’t enough and fell to a 37-32 defeat. I understand why the Chargers were against the idea of coming back so soon after their experience in London. They traveled a round trip of over 10,000 miles, a total flight time of almost 24 hours and a time difference of 8 hours probably didn’t help either. Neither did the eventual loss to the Saints taking the team to a 3-5 start to the season.
So, at this point, you’re all thinking this is a waste of time but hear me out. We all know the stadium situation. We’ve all seen the pictures of the stadium and let’s not pretend this didn’t happen in the last years at Qualcomm, either. The Chargers don’t have many fans, and it’s probably decreasing at every moment, and will continue to do so when the likes of future Hall of Famers; Antonio Gates and Philip Rivers retire. In the last few years there have been increasing murmurs about the Bolts returning to London, and I think it’s in 2018 when it comes to fruition.
Before I look at some of the options for possible Chargers games in London, here’s what we know of their schedule now.
AFC West, Ravens, Bengals, Cardinals, 49ers and the same place finisher in the AFC South.
AFC West, Browns, Steelers, Rams, Seahawks, and the same place finisher in the AFC East.
Let’s have a look at some of the options for 2018:
1. Denver (Home)
I understand this is a division game but that shouldn’t hinder this option too much. There’s already been multiple division rivalries that have been played in London, so this is far impossible. Denver haven’t visited London since 2010, and like the Chargers, it didn’t go well for them either.
2. San Francisco (Home)
The team that Denver lost to was in fact the 49ers. San Francisco were the hosts so maybe they fancy an ‘away’ trip across the pond. And the NFL do like to send not so good teams over.
3. At Seattle Seahawks
It’s been made apparent over the last few years Seattle would like to hold their first ever Super Bowl and to do that, they need to host in London first. They have previously been lined up for a game in China, too, so they’re not afraid of the travelling.
4. At Los Angeles Rams
The wildcard option. The first time these two will face each other, since their respective moves, in the regular season. Now I’m sure the Rams would love this to stay in L.A., but they do have a deal in place with the NFL, where they have agreed to host a game in London every year up until their new stadium is built.
I don’t believe it’s a certainty that the team come over but there’s more than a few viable options.
–Thomas Herd is a Deputy Editor and Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media and covers the Los Angeles Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @chargers_uk.