The San Diego Chargers are a NFL team that plays in the American Football Conference (AFC) West Division. They are located in San Diego, California. The franchise, which was established in 1960, was one of the original teams in the American Football League (AFL). Originally named the Los Angeles Chargers, they spent their first year in that city before moving to and being renamed for the City of San Diego.
Barron Hilton first owned the Chargers, who were one of eight charter AFL teams. He was the son of Conrad Hilton- the man who founded Hilton Hotels. Originally, the club played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (1960). From 1961-1966, they called Balboa Stadium in San Diego their home.
In 1967, the Chargers moved to what is presently known as Qualcomm Stadium; they still play there today. From 1968-1980, the venue was named San Diego Stadium and in 1981 it was renamed Jack Murphy Stadium. Murphy, who was a sports columnist and editor for the San Diego Union newspaper, was instrumental in bringing the Chargers and the Padres (Major League Baseball) to San Diego. It was known by that appellation until Qualcomm bought the naming rights in 1998. Nicknames for the stadium include “The Q” and “The Murph”. The team fight song is “San Diego Super Chargers”.
In 1963, the Chargers won their only AFL Championship. The have earned one AFC Championship, which they captured in 1994. They went to Super Bowl XXIX that year, losing to the San Francisco 49ers 49-26. The team dominated the AFL West in the first half of the 1960s, winning five championships from 1960 to 1965. In the mid 2000s, they have also been dominant taking the AFC West in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Other AFC West titles were won in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1992 and 1994.
Hall of Fame players include receiver Lance Alworth (1962-1970 Chargers and 1971-1972 Dallas Cowboys), quarterback Dan Fouts (1973-1987) and head coach Sid Gillman.
Alworth, who was a seven-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro, caught 85 touchdowns. He made 542 catches for 10,266 yards. He was selected for the AFL All-Time Team and the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Fouts led the team for 15 years, earning a quarterback rating of 80.2, passing for 43,040 yards and hitting for 254 touchdowns. In 1982, he was the NFL Offensive Player of the year, and during his career, he was selected to the Pro Bowl six times. He is a member of the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team.
Gillman was an innovative head coach who stretched the field by having his quarterbacks throw long passes. He was the only one to coach the Chargers in their first decade. He finished with a 123-104-7 record.
Billionaire Alexander Spanos, who bought 60% of the team in 1984, owns the Chargers. From 1984 to 1994, he continued to purchase shares owned by several minority stockholders. He holds 97% of the stock. Restaurateur George Pernicano, who has been associated with the team for most of its existence, is a minority owner holding three-percent of the club.
A.J. Smith serves as the General Manager and Executive Vice President of the team, which are positions he’s held since 2003. On February 20, 2007, Norv Turner, a longtime NFL coordinator and coach, was selected as the team’s new head coach. Turner replaced Marty Schottenheimer, who had been fired on February 12, 2007.