Spanos knows selling tickets with status quo “is going to be a challenge”


On Tuesday, Chargers president Dean Spanos shocked the NFL not by firing his coach and G.M. but by not firing them.  On Tuesday evening, Spanos explained the decision in a phone interview with PFT.  (Some would even call it an “exclusive interview,” since Spanos was speaking “exclusively” to PFT at that specific moment in time.)

Spanos reiterated his belief that Smith and Turner are the best men to lead the team at this specific time.  “If I thought they were the wrong guys,” Spanos said, “I wouldn’t think twice about making a change.”

But Spanos realizes that there could be ramifications, if the fan base doesn’t agree.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a challenge this year,” Spanos said as to the task of selling tickets.  The team had multiple blackouts in 2011, and the Chargers routinely had to scramble to sell non-premium tickets to several other games.

But Spanos seems to think that a changing of the team’s coach and/or G.M. wouldn’t have made the turnstiles spin any more quickly.  “There’s a certain percentage of fans that until we go out and win, I don’t think it’s going to make any difference,” Spanos said.

So the task is to win.  And Spanos realizes that making changes for the sake of making changes when the front office and the coaching staff are producing teams that can compete for playoff berths on an annual basis could spark a constant cycle of change.

Winning without firing the current coach and G.M. nevertheless will require some adjustments.  Spanos said the team may be more “proactive” in free agency.

He also expressed dismay and confusion regarding the recent rash of injuries, calling it a “huge concern” and explaining that the training staff “can’t come up with a common denominator” to explain why so many players are getting hurt.

“Maybe we’re drafting players who are more prone to injury,” Spanos said.  “Maybe we are taking too many chances.”

When it comes to keeping Smith and Turner, Spanos decided that making a change would be taking too much of a chance.

61 responses to “Spanos knows selling tickets with status quo “is going to be a challenge”

  1. Smart move keeping Norv “Captain Field Goal” Turner. It’s not like he has a top tier QB, WR, and TE or anything. Oh, wait…

  2. Totally wrong. I was a season ticket holder that cancelled when they kept Norv this season and I was 100% ready to get them again when they fired him. Now I not only won’t be going to any Charger games I’m doing some soul searching as to whether I can even support this joke of a franchise anymore. I’m 30+ years in so it’d be a tough bond to break but I’m going to give it a serious effort. I feel like an abused wife by staying with a team who’s owners obviously could give a crap about winning. Either they’re too cheap to risk having to pay out Norv’s contract or they are intentionally trying to alienate their fans to make their move to LA smoother. The BS about “continuity” and him giving them “the best chance to get back to the playoffs” is insulting to loyal fans.

  3. Sounds like the Chargers are going to try a big free agent splash, as a Charger fan, I hope it isn’t of the Albert Haynesworth variety.

  4. I can’t speak for the rest of us Chargers fans, but I for one am quite excited for another season of mediocrity, and another draft that sees AJ trade up for the best available undersized, slow white guy. AJ really killed it trading up for Hester and Weddle. Also excited to see which “pass rusher” becomes our next big bust.

  5. @monkeyneck
    …yea I’m sure rooting for a team that hasn’t had a losing record since 2003 is exactly like being an abused wife. a real tragedy….get a bloody clue

  6. There is no explanation for this other then an inept team president. This team has under performed more then any team in the NFL the past 5 seasons. No other team has had as many play makers on both sides of the ball but yet they continue to struggle to win, even when they are top in offense and defensive ranking!!

    The only explanation for an under performing talent laden team is a coach that doesn’t know how to motivate players. The fact that the GM hasn’t moved to replace the coach means he should go as well.

    Chargers fans you seriously need to find a new team because yours is going absolutely no where.

  7. I believe this is the right move. There is no guarantee that things would be better with a whole new system and everybody trying to learn it. We’re much better off than the Raiders with Hugh Jackson. He threw his team under the bus because they lost, What a jurk.

  8. It’s not going to be a challenge since there is NO DEMAND for tickets! Enjoy licking A.J. Smith’s balls while watching Norv screw up another season.

  9. They will go after a big name to help sell tickets. I can see them make a run at a big name running back. Never should’ve let sproles go. Now that running backs are becoming more expendable, look for them to make a run at landing matt forte, Marshawn Lynch, or Jamaal Charles. Yes, very farfetched I know, but it was pretty farfetched to let AJ and Norv stick around for another year.

  10. Spanos made it perfectly clear today that he hates San Diego and is moving the team to LA. No one cares since this is no longer an NFL franchise with career failures Norv and A.J. sticking around.

    The only good news from Spanos giving the middle finger to San Diego is that he will NEVER EVER get a stadium in San Diego.

    Good riddance. LA is going to enjoy watching losing football with these chumps running the asylum.

  11. Kinda tough to give a damn about anything when your team plays in San Diego, for the record. You’re a 20-something year-old pro athlete with millions of dollars, in great shape, flawless weather, beautiful women everywhere… I’d play like garbage, too. lol

  12. This team is not very talented. Matthews is made of glass, Gates body is starting to transform into Alge Crumpler’s, Jackson doesn’t want to be there. On defense Jammer, Weddle, and Phillips are serviceable, I doubt they’ll be making any All-Pro teams. So why do 9-Volt fans think this team is loaded with talent?

  13. What the heck is he worried about tickets for? he’ll get a gazillion dollars from TV before they even go on sale.

    Hey Mr. Spanos, if you are that worried about selling tix then lower the price and you’ll sell out the place, even for an 8-8 team.

  14. All they need to do is petition the NFL to schedule all home games against the Eagles, Packers, and Steelers, and the sell out problem will be solved.

  15. Sorry, Dean. Not firing AJ Smith is unforgivable. You have problems on your team with unhappy players, lots of them, and your GM is responsible for that. You can give Norv a pass, to an extent, BECAUSE of Smith’s abrasive treatment of the players, but you can’t excuse Smith.

    Further, the “all the injuries” excuse is a waste of time, because last year the Packers pretty much destroyed the usefulness of that one for the next decade or two. Besides, the unhappy players on your roster are mostly healthy, and if your healthy guys are dogging it, then it don’t matter how many injured guys you have.

    You defend Smith’s drafting by pointing out how many quality offensive players you have. Yup, your team scored 406 points, but only finished 8-8. The other 5 teams who scored as much as you did all A) won 10 or more games, and B) made the playoffs.

    You can kid yourself that AJ Smith and Norv Turner are the best you can do, but understand that the game-attending fans ain’t gonna buy it.

    And…it’s unlikely, as a result, that they’ll buy any tickets, either.

    Oh, and the LA plan won’t save you, either. They basically don’t DO the NFL in Los Angeles. Why hasn’t another team moved there? Right.

  16. The definition of Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

    Albert Enstein

    Even Enstein would of fired Turner

  17. The injuries over the past several years have been devastating. Seems like the 2006 Super Chargers were never injured. Who was the strength & conditioning coach back then? Wish we could get him back.

    Also, who exactly is out in the field evaluating college talent? They’re not doing a very good job.

    Clearly the DC needs to go. Same with whomever decided to cut Laurent Robinson.

  18. Norv Turner has more lives than a cat … or he’s got a better file on Spanos than Hoover had on the Kennedys.

  19. Just trying to follow the bouncing ball. Spanos fired Marty after going 14-2, and he keeps the guys that have now missed the playoffs two years in a row. And yeah, these clowns can’t win the pathetic AFC West.

    Makes sense.

  20. You can tell Dean has never had a real job outside of working the family’s mob-run business. He chose Norv and A.J. over a new stadium. What a moron.

  21. Maybe there’s a chance he’ll reverse this decision when someone points out to him that he’s absolutely wrong when he says changing coach and/or GM wouldn’t have changed ticket sales…

  22. Did anyone notice the subtle way that the author makes this seem like a great decision after spending the last 4 weeks explaining why Smith and Turner deserved to be fired?

    This is the kid glove treatment you get when you return the author’s calls.

  23. “Spanos said the team may be more “proactive” in free agency.”
    I would imagine this would be easier to accomplish without having a G.M. that has made a history of publicly messing with players’ careers to prove he was in charge. Sure, there are any number of players out there that would be willing to sign with any team that wanted them, but the top tier free agents will have their choice of any number of teams to sign with. I can’t help but think that A. J. Smith’s history will make these players think twice before signing with the Chargers as long as A. J. is running things.

  24. Oh Deb, they were 500. They knocked a division team out of the playoffs in the last week wtih nothing to play for. They had a zillion injuries on the OL…they don’t suck. They had a bad year.

  25. blackheld says:
    Jan 3, 2012 11:36 PM
    Sorry, Dean. Not firing AJ Smith is unforgivable. You have problems on your team with unhappy players, lots of them, and your GM is responsible for that. You can give Norv a pass, to an extent, BECAUSE of Smith’s abrasive treatment of the players, but you can’t excuse Smith.
    I was astounded that Spanos didn’t fire Smith (the mini-Polian). Especially when I heard one of his comments that he didn’t think the draft was good in 07, 08, AND 09 but the past two years he thinks are good. Sooooo…who does he think was drafting the 07-09 guys? Space aliens?

    The other day Acee was on NFLN saying how some of the core players AND Norv felt that lack of talent was the main problem with the team, several of the core players went to bat for Norv, so his answer was to keep them BOTH???


  26. I know how most SD fans feel about this, it’s like if Al Davis spirit has entered Spanos Soul, and is purposely ruining the team from its core.

    No pun intended.

  27. Norv Turner’s 6-year run of failure:
    2007 playoffs: 2-1
    2008 playoffs: 1-1
    2009 playoffs: 0-1
    2010 season: Does not qualify.
    2011 season: Losing record. 7-8 since the last game was meaningless.
    2012 season: Announce move to LA after another playoff-less season.

  28. Am I crazy to think it is refreshing to see an owner who doesn’t just act to sell tickets? Whether keeping AJ and Norv 1 more year bites him or not, at least he made the decision and is standing by it. Besides if the Chargers start to win next year and make the playoffs all the Norv haters will jump back on the bandwagon.

  29. This is great for Las Vegas. Bet against the Chargers until December. Roll out the usual suspects on the field. Get the excuses ready. For some reason, the bettors around the country always favor the Chargers early. Against them is the safest way to make good money.

  30. I can tell you what the “common denominator” is for the rash of injuries – not just with the Chargers but across the NFL.

    It’s called a LOCKOUT and players not having the ability to have a regular offseason with mini-camps and a full training camp. The players were pressed into service without the normal training regimen.

  31. The Chargers could move but it is noted it will be the 2013 season so it is odd IMO to keep these guys unless he is getting a bargain deal out of Norv, but I am shooting in the dark here. I don’t really know what Norvs contract is or if he was willing to take a pay cut to stay. Ya never know and there are salary incentives to win if you have a winning franchise.

    If the chargers were intent on moving this year maybe it make sense not to come to L.A. with the Headlines reading ” San Diego chargers move to Los Angeles is imminent but they are coming with no leader at the helm” Just a random thought

    Or L.A. gets their headless team after 17 years. A team in dis ray will move north for the 2012 season. That doesn’t make for good headlines for the spanos.

    Dont take me serious Im just shootin crap around been one of those days.

  32. Bolstschick so true and so many teams have been battered this season. A season that Rodger Goodell was trying to make such a safer game by creating so many new rules to protect players and rob them of their cash for hits deemed unnecessary roughness.

    We all see how that worked out. Being a Raider fan all I saw was a sea of yellow flags and a bunch injured players and many fines being dished out like a Xmas bonus.

  33. so tired of the “devastating injuries” crap. the packers made the playoffs and won the superbowl last year with cripplimg injuries. the patriots are on their 4th center, missed most of their other lineman throughout the year and played with 2 wr’s as db’s and went 13-3. everyone has injuroes amd most are horrible but it is the gm’s job to stockpile suitable backups and the hc’s job to train them up and practice all scenarios. this organization fails on all accounts; scouting, drafting, game prep, coaching, clock/game/challenge mgmnt and loyalty to the fans. i’m sure bill belichick is waiting for aj to offer him a 1 next year for a 2 this year because he has his eye on more hester/weddle gems!

  34. Hey, we don’t want them in LA. LA will not support a team that doesn’t have motivated ownership. That’s why Georgia moved the Rams. She woodn’t invest in winning and we woodn’t invest in tickets. The Chargers will be way worse off here…

  35. I actually like the move. It’s nice not seeing a team tear down everything after a few disappointing years. Unless its completely obvious that turner is the problem, then they should keep him.

  36. Shock? It’s no shock when you realize how utterly clueless most everyone is in this organization. The Spanos family = losers. AJ Smith = not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Oh but wait they are getting rid of the defensive coordinator they hired from the 6 – 10 49ers – yet another of their brilliant off season move. Sproles, Brees – these are outstanding players that they have let go elsewhere. PLEASE Spanos family, just move the team up to LA and be done with it, since that’s obviously your unspoken plan here. Oh and btw, you think it was bad the last two years not making the playoffs? Sit back and watch it get even worse next year. (Men’s Warehouse voice): I guarantee it!

  37. Giving norv one last year seems forgivable. But smith is a joke. Every fan base of every team knows that. No playoffs next year and plenty of blackouts.

  38. unless we could have gotten gruden or cowher i would stick with turner. i think we missed our change to make ron rivera a head coach would be a good move. i not really a turner fan i think he a good regular season coach but terrible playoff/pressure situation coach!!!

  39. Now I can actually understand why Archie Manning did not want Eli on that team. I don’t blame him.

  40. dumping sproles? norv sucks and the team is blah but at least you have good weather and not the vikings problems. ha viva san diego, I wish i was there for vacation. That fighter jet area/Mission beach and cruising in the 300 or charger. sweet. semper fi to the marines out there from us in mn.

  41. For everyone calling Spanos spineless, I think it actually took more balls to make this decision than to just do what the fans want for fear of not selling tickets. If he really believes this is the right move, when/if the Chargers perform the way we all would like, fans will show up, even if the coach is Norv. And if they got a new coach and didn’t win, fans are going to fill the stadium for that either. At least we didn’t do a Denver move when they all cried for Tebow. Ya, I know they made the playoffs, but I think we all know he’s not the answer. We haven’t had a losing team for years and fans are acting like we’re 1-15. Jeff Fisher? take a look at his 17 year record. Give me a break. Overall the Chargers are still a pretty good, very entertaining product. Not as talented as they were at one point, but all teams fluctuate talent wise for various reason. For you knuckleheads that don’t want to go to the game because your acting like spoiled babies because you didn’t get your way, don’t go, stay home and pout. Real fans will go and root for their team no matter what.

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