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Raiders game reveals depth of anti-Spanos sentiment for S.D. Chargers fans

The opponent this week is the Oakland Raiders.

The despised, detested and damnable Raiders who for decades raised the bile levels of an entire Chargers fan base.

So, it stands to reason that Sunday’s game in Oakland will be the litmus test of litmus tests for longtime Chargers fans who’d sworn off the club when it was relocated to Los Angeles this year.

Could these folks actually cheer for the noxious Silver & Black to defeat the lightning-bolt team?

Answer: Give them a pirate’s eye patch, a buccaneer’s bandana and a tankard of rum. Welcome aboard, matey!

“All the former Chargers fans that I’m around,” San Diegan Ray Chan was saying Wednesday, “they’re looking forward to the Raiders beating the Chargers. There’s no allegiance to the Chargers.”

Loren Casuto seconded Chan’s temperature reading, while acknowledging that neither he nor his friend could’ve envisaged this outcome during the 12 years they produced a Chargers fan podcast, BoltTalk.

“Thank Dean Spanos,” Casuto said. “He turned a man who could never fathom rooting for the Raiders in any capacity into someone who hopes that the Raiders legitimately destroy the Chargers.”

Chan was a Chargers fan for 37 years. He agonized through defeats at the hands of the Raiders, either in person or via digital recordings. He reveled in a long string of Chargers victories over Oakland during LaDainian Tomlinson’s run with San Diego.

Like a man who’s discovered he suddenly enjoys supping on liver and onions, he reconciled cheering for the Raiders in this special instance Sunday.

“I can differentiate between the San Diego Chargers and what this anomaly is right now,” he said of the L.A. Chargers*. “It’s not the same thing. The San Diego Chargers with Dan Fouts and Wes Chandler and John Jefferson — all those guys, Stan Humphries — that is a different team. That is completely different in my mind.”

Though they watch far less of the NFL nowadays (while also opting for San Diego State football games), the two former Bolts diehards have crafted a version of “Heads, I Win; Tails, You Lose” when it comes to their former favorite team’s games.

Chan — an information technology expert — acknowledged L.A. (1-4) might beat the quarterback-challenged Raiders (2-3) this week, but he’s built in a firewall to ensure a pleasing reaction for himself.

“Look, they’re gonna win some games,” he said of Dean’s employees. “And, if they win themselves into a spot where they’re not drafting one of the top-2 quarterbacks for the 2018 draft, that’s another win for San Diego.”

An attorney, Casuto drew upon the fact that L.A. is an extreme long shot to reach the Super Bowl tournament, and the Raiders are to be relocated to Las Vegas in 2020.

“If that’s the case,” he said of Team Spanos winning Sunday, “I think both Las Vegas and Los Angeles are going to be watching this game and wondering why, of all teams, they’ve got these two.”

As for the rematch in the season finale, Dec. 31 at Carson, the two former Bolts fans would gladly toast a Raiders victory to ring in 2018.

But, Casuto won’t be making the 180-mile round trip to join in with Raiders partisans.

“I couldn’t fathom giving Dean Spanos any more of my money,” he said.

Tom.Krasovic@SDUnionTribune.com; Twitter: SDUTKrasovic




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