COMMENTARY | The San Diego Chargers are in the midst of a critical time with respect to their future in San Diego.
On Monday, Chargers' special counsel, Mark Fabiani, joined XTRA Sports 1360's "The World of Sports with Chris and Ben" and spoke about the issues surrounding the team's bid to get a new stadium built in San Diego. While most of his rhetoric was all too familiar to Chargers fans, it simply reaffirmed that winning immediately is critical.
That's because 2012 may be the team's last chance to convince voters in San Diego that the Chargers are a worthwhile investment when it comes to their tax dollars. As of now, the biggest issues stemming from the ten-year fight to acquire a fitting home for the team in the San Diego area have been funding and finding appropriate land. Currently, a downtown San Diego site is the most viable opiton.
Fabiani mentioned that the community will have a more defined course of action once a new mayor is in place following elections in the fall. Though he would not comment on any candidates that would be better suited for working with the team on the issue, he did say that they would aggressively work with whichever candidate assumes the job.
The good news for Chargers faithful is that the new collective bargaining agreement allows for a $200 million loan from the NFL. "The league values having a team here," said Fabiani. "The league will do whatever it can to help us get a stadium."
While the efforts of the front office and the league are well-documented, the team itself needs to step up in order to give fans a reason to want the team to stay. Though the Chargers haven't had a losing season since 2003, it stands to reason that a disappointing regular season in 2012 at such an important juncture in the franchise's San Diego history could spell disaster with respect to Fabiani's efforts and the stadium project in general.
Whether or not the hard work on behalf of the Chargers to stay in San Diego pays off remains to be seen. The fact remains that there is still a lot of important work to do, both on and off the field, to reach an agreement on a world-class facility.
The best thing the team can do to help its cause is win -- immediately and often -- in 2012.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the San Diego Chargers and the NFL. He has written for Southern California's Press-Enterprise and Examiner.com. For more insight, you can follow him on Twitter.