There’s more to this Texans-Chargers series, or really the pro football history of the two cities than you might think.
The Chargers are, of course, back in Los Angeles, where they started. They were an AFL franchise that lost to the Oilers in the very first championship game in 1960. That’s too long ago for even John McClain to remember. After one season in L.A., it was off to San Diego until 2017.
Let’s zoom ahead to the 1979 season. It’s the divisional round of the playoffs and Earl Campbell, Dan Pastorini and Kenny Burrough are all out for the Oilers. Gif Nielsen and Rob Carpenter led Houston to a huge upset of Dan Fouts and the high flying Air Coryell attack. Vernon Perry had four (!) interceptions.
That Charger era was a fun one though. Fouts was the first quarterback to routinely put up 300-yard games. They made it to two AFC championship games – the next two after the Oilers knocked on the door with their two losses to the Steelers following the ’78 and ’79 seasons.
The first ever road game played by the Texans was at San Diego in 2002 when Drew Brees played QB there. And the only time the Texans were able to beat the Chargers was the 2013 opener on Monday Night Football.
The Chargers now play in a 27,000-seat soccer stadium while they wait for their new shared home with the Rams to open. The stadium has great sight lines and intimacy, but it’s been a tough draw in L.A. as the market has two franchises in each of the five major sports leagues.
Some of the members of the organization still reside in San Diego, including quarterback Philip Rivers who rides in what’s been described as a mobile video-watching unit back and forth to work. Rivers spends his commute watching game tape.
Despite playing in a temporary home, the Chargers went to the playoffs last year and beat a hot Baltimore team on the road. Sunday is the next big test for the Texans against a good team on the road.