The Los Angeles Chargers aren’t supposed to win on Sunday, at least according to the odds-makers in Las Vegas, as they travel to Foxboro to take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a highly-anticipated AFC playoff contest. However, the Chargers certainly have more than a puncher’s chance at an upset and, according to one report, a win for the franchise would present an interesting conundrum.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports brings word that “there is concern within the NFL league office about the possibility of the Chargers playing host to an AFC Championship Game.” The reason for skepticism stems from the size of the venue. In short, the Chargers have been hosting home games in Dignity Health Sports Park, a stadium that was built for soccer. As a result, its capacity is less than 30,000 and that would be an atypical venue for any NFL game, much less one that decides a trip to the Super Bowl.
“Playing a game of that magnitude in a stadium that small is a big issue to a lot of people around here,” a source told La Canfora. “There isn’t any plan in place to move it now that I am aware of, but there was a lot of talk about that when it looked like the Chargers might win the division. I would expect there to be conversations about that through the weekend as things happen.”
The report cites “meetings and conversations within the league” near the end of the season, but things are seemingly picking up again. It was worth noting that the Chargers would only host the AFC Championship Game in the event of a win and a loss by the Kansas City Chiefs but, while that may seem unlikely, it is obviously within the realm of possibility. CBS indicate that there have been “internal discussions about possibly playing Sunday night and Monday night championship games” in the Los Angeles Coliseum, as the Los Angeles Rams also have a chance to host a game next weekend if they advance and the New Orleans Saints do not.
In many ways, this is a bizarre scenario, including even the hint that a team wouldn’t be able to play the biggest game of its season in a friendly building. Obviously, the Chargers would have something of an advantage even if the game was played elsewhere in Los Angeles, and there have been plenty of shots taken at the crowd in Los Angeles over the course of the season. Still, there are a lot of moving parts here (including innuendo from at least one player that the NFL doesn’t actually want the Chargers to prosper) and a scenario seemingly exists in which the Chargers would play what is technically a neutral-site game for the right to reach the Super Bowl.