There is nothing quite like it.
You see, it doesn’t begin like baseball (“Play ball!”); or the Indy 500 (“Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!”) or the Kentucky Derby (“And they’re off!”). Football starts with the dull thud of the kicker’s foot hitting the ball.
And it’s a sound you’ll never hear because the approximately 70,000 screaming fans (including you) at Qualcomm Stadium will make the Sept. 18 opening of the 2016 San Diego Chargers home season inaudible.
Before that kickoff, and the away opener at Kansas City on Sept. 11, there are some things you need to know ...
If the Chargers have a game plan, guess who else needs one? You do! Pick a DD for the week. He/she drives, the rest of your crew hops on the convenient, low-cost trolley and meets up with the DD for some pregame entertainment and tailgating in the Q parking lot where the trolley conveniently drops you off.
Paper or plastic
If you are thinking you can walk into the Q with enough stuff to outfit a Pop Warner team ... well, hold on, Johnny U. The parameters are set: Only bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and no bigger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches are allowed. And of course, you can always purchase an official NFL/Chargers plastic tote bag at all Chargers’ merchandise outlets.
Well, probably not as bad as you might have thought. Average ticket is $75 (for info, Chargers ticket office is (858) 401-0073), parking in outer ring is $25, trolley day pass is $5. Eats, souvenirs, miscellaneous ... well, you are on your own. Not too bad if you are going solo and don’t care where the seat is located. For a family of four, it’s a different financial story.
Philip Rivers (henceforth labeled as “The QB”) enters the season with 41,447 passing yards or about 23-plus miles worth. He also has 11-plus dedicated pages in the Chargers media guide. Guess what? He’s worth every one.
Home opening day
The Jacksonville Jaguars (much improved) come to town Sept. 18 for a 1:25 p.m. kickoff at the Q. The Chargers are dubbing it “White Hot Sunday.” The team will be in all-white unis and the Bolts are urging you to do the same. Just be extra-careful with the barbecue sauce during tailgating.
Very doubtful you’ll see this moment in NFL history on 9-18-16, but you just might sometime during the season: Eight more TD catches and Mr. Gates will be the all-time leading tight end in that category.
So, who is your best Charger player to pick for your fantasy football team? No shocker here: The QB.
Holy User Friendly! It may look like the same old, same old, but the Q will have enhanced Wi-Fi this season, so it’ll be easier to track the players on your fantasy team and call the guy behind you on your cellphone rather than turning around and talking to him.
Of course, beer and hot dogs, if there is any room left over after tailgating.
Convenient scheduling as the Chargers begin and end the season with the Chiefs: at Kansas City on Sept. 11 and at the Q on New Year’s Day.
Finally, the sport does have its own special phrase: “Are you ready for some football!!??”