If you just look at their records over the last decade you’d assume it’s the Raiders that have been struggling while the Chargers have been building. But that’s why you have to actually watch the game in order to know it.
Those that know football are well aware of how much the San Diego Chargers have underachieved in the last decade. Norv Turner’s move from the East Bay to SoCal has been met with plenty of criticism over the years, which makes the length of his reign even more confusing.
Those that follow all the action on Sundays also know how miserable the last decade has been in Oakland. Making matters worse is just when the team was showing signs of improvement a regime change occurred and everything has started over again.
While the Chargers have had more success they’ve failed to even reach the level the Raiders were playing at when last the franchise was respectable. And while the Raiders haven’t been able to catch the Chargers even in their disappointing state both franchises have nothing to show for the last 10 years.
So on Sunday when these two rivals conclude another lost season there is a great chance neither will look at all similar the next time they meet.
San Diego will almost certainly undergo a complete overhaul as both Turner and general manager A.J. Smith are expected to be shown the exit. Last year it was the Raiders who went through a similar change though for much different reasons.
While this was technically the first year of the Raiders newest rebuilding effort the reality is the real work begins this offseason. Reggie McKenzie and his coaching staff pretty much took one full NFL season as a brainstorming session trying to see what works and what doesn’t.
Something the Raiders hope will work is the Terrelle Pryor experiment at quarterback. TP gets his first taste of extended NFL action in a move meant to see what if anything there is to expect from him going forward.
The Chargers already know what they have in Philip Rivers. Of course it’s hard to know which Rivers to expect these days. Once considered among the NFL elite, Rivers has strung together a couple of woefully regressive seasons that have seen his stock plummet.
But those are just two of the many questions these franchises are facing going forward. Sunday will provide few answers as most of the business at hand will be taking place in the coming months. But for a few hours at least we’ll see before our eyes the state of two franchises in different yet very similar places.