Last month Chargers wide receiver Keenan McCardell visited the Hall of Champions, my day job, for Sports at Lunch. One of the fans in attendance expressed exasperation the Chargers and their star players don’t get the national attention on ESPN and the highlight shows that other teams receive.

McCardell, who wears a Super Bowl ring from the 2002 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had a ready answer.

“You’ve got to win to get respect,” McCardell said. “Tampa Bay was a good team for a few years, but it wasn’t until we won the Super Bowl that we started getting that kind of recognition.”

Well, look who is suddenly being viewed a Super Bowl favorite with an MVP favorite in running back LaDainian Tomlinson – the 11-2 Chargers that are riding a seven-game winning streak.

The Bolts beat the Denver Broncos Sunday, 48-20, to clinch the AFC West title and on a day Tomlinson scored three touchdowns to set the NFL single season record with 29 and counting. Combined with the Indianapolis Colts’ loss, the Chargers also gained the lead for homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

There might be an East Coast bias in college polls, but it’s all about winning and rating points in the eyes of the NFL’s TV world.

When I tuned into ESPN last night, I heard Chris Berman and Tom Jackson not only talking about the Chargers as a Super Bowl favorite, but Jackson, the old Denver linebacker, said he’s starting to believe Tomlinson is the best running back of all-time.

Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer has been telling us that since the 2003 season, but outside of San Diego ranking LT ahead of Jim Brown was considered sacrilegious.

LT is now about to break the NFL single-season scoring record. He has 174 points, placing him just two points behind the Paul Hornung’s 176 points in 1960 when Hornung scored 15 touchdowns but also kicked field goals and extra-points for the Green Bay Packers.

But here’s the best story about LT: In the huddle before his 29th touchdown, he told his teammates he wanted them all to join him in the huddle. In a world where players take off their helmets to celebrate themselves on TV, Tomlinson wanted to share the moment with his teammates.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.