Friday, May 13, 2005 | When the 2005-2006 San Diego Chargers’ NFL schedule was announced April 13th, it created an immediate buzz with the city’s football fans. Not only are the Chargers playing against some of the best teams in the NFL this year, but nine out of their 16 regular season games are going to be featured on national television, including three primetime games at home. The Chargers did not have a nationally televised game in 2004, 2002 or 2001 and have not had more than one primetime game since having three broadcast in 1997.

San Diego fans will get a shot at redemption Sept. 25th, when the New York Giants come to town with their second-year quarterback Eli Manning, who spurned the Chargers last year and in the process humiliated an entire city and organization. That game will be featured on ESPN Sunday night football as well as the Dec. 4th game against the rival Oakland Raiders.

As if that weren’t enough, ABC’s Monday Night Football will return to San Diego for the first time since 1996 when the Chargers play the AFC Central champion Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 10th. The Dallas Cowboys – “America’s Team” – will also open the season in San Diego on national television. The other home foes will be Kansas City (Oct. 30th), Buffalo (Nov. 20th), Miami (Dec. 11th) and Denver (Dec. 31st).

All in all the home schedule looks very enticing to local football fans and Qualcomm stadium should have playoff-like atmosphere almost every week. It’s going to be a lot of fun for football fans in San Diego this fall. The schedule also features road games against Super Bowl participants Philadelphia (Oct. 23rd) and New England (Oct. 2nd); a return trip to Indianapolis for a rematch against the Colts (Dec. 18th); and a shot at payback in New Jersey against the Jets (Nov. 6th).

The 2005-2006 schedule is going to be a true test of just how far the organization has come in the past few years. The Chargers were on a course to be the new Bengals of the NFL until they turned it around last year and went 12-4 and won their division. Now this year they have an opportunity to shed that image once and for all. They will be playing the best teams in the NFL, on the brightest stages and in front of the most people possible. They can finally be considered a dominant team if they succeed in making the playoffs this year and proving to the rest of the country what the fans in this city already know – that the Chargers have one of the most dynamic and exciting young teams in the league and that they are going to be a contender in the league for the next few years.

Troy Roble grew up in Tierrasanta and attended University High School as well as Scripps Ranch High School. He participated in three sports in high school – football, basketball and baseball. He is a lifelong Chargers and Padres fan and an avid sports fan.

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