Even though the Los Angeles Chargers are moving just a few hours north to Costa Mesa, California, the location of the team's new headquarters, they face an uphill climb in getting players, coaches and employees moved in and comfortable in a new environment.
One thing working in the team's favor is coach Anthony Lynn spent all offseason training with his players at Chargers Park in San Diego, so the team had some continuity. The true test will be moving to the training camp location at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa before moving into the new headquarters at the end of August. The Chargers also will have to build a home-field advantage in the comfy confines of the 30,000-seat StubHub Center.
Will relocation to Los Angeles serve as a distraction and negatively impact the Chargers on the field this season?
Jeff Legwold, ESPN Denver Broncos reporter: Without a doubt. Having seen the Houston Oilers' two lame-duck seasons in Houston up close and subsequent growing pains in the first two seasons as the Tennessee Titans, there's no question it will affect the Chargers. It's not really the football part. It's the uncertainty of things for people in the players' lives -- friends, family members and business associates who want answers about how things will be. The players also get questions from those in the city they left and those in the city they now play in. In short, they often can't win in the court of public opinion if they look too nonchalant about leaving the former city or too excited about getting to the new place. There's no right answer. And while there is no statistical fingerprint of that aspect, it weighs on players and impacts how they play. Call it the human condition, but temporary game-day homes, temporary practice homes and a pile of questions lead to subpar play. And no amount of us-against-the-world rhetoric can change it.
Adam Teicher, ESPN Kansas City Chiefs reporter: It shouldn't be a problem. From a practical standpoint, the move from San Diego should mostly be done once the regular season begins. The bigger concern for the Chargers should be what type of home-field advantage they'll have at the cozy StubHub Center, or whether they'll have one at all. They'll have a core of fans, whether they're people who are following from San Diego or locals who have warmed to the team. Fans in those categories seem in short supply, though, so many tickets could fall into the hands of fans from opposing teams, particularly if the Chargers don't get off to a strong start. Los Angeles-area fans are notoriously fickle and it wouldn't be a surprise if, for instance, Chargers fans are outnumbered by Eagles fans at the Oct. 1 game between the teams.
Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter: How about ... no? In fact, it may actually help the Bolts rebound from being the Dolts. The move will actually help the Chargers focus more now on the task at hand, which is winning games. Talk of relocation swirled about the Chargers the past few years so now that it's official, that they will be moving back to their ancestral home (they did play their inaugural AFL season in L.A. in 1960, after all), all of those distractions are gone. This is not to suggest the Chargers will own the L.A. market; rather, they will likely be the third-most popular NFL team in LaLa Land, following the Raiders and Rams. And playing in a soccer-specific stadium is more novelty than normalcy, but at least the Chargers will be playing in front of sold-out crowds, as opposed to playing in front of so many empty seats at antiquated Qualcomm Stadium. There is relatively little pressure and while the Chargers do have talent -- they blew six fourth-quarter leads last season -- they need to avoid catastrophic injury to surprise the AFC West.