COMMENTARY | Sometimes in life it's hard to tell whether something is actually good or bad. Since those are subjective qualities, personal preferences are the primary determining factors.
And right now it's really hard to tell if the San Diego Chargers are good or bad.
Analyzing sports is similar to analyzing any other form of entertainment in that just looking at how well something did does not necessarily mean that it was actually good.
A movie can make a ton of money and yet be widely regarded as a bad film. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen made over $400 million at the box office alone. However, with the exception of special effects, this is a bad film in almost every aspect of filmmaking.
Justin Bieber sells millions of records all over the world and no one over the age of 16 can stand to listen to his sophomoric drivel.
The Chargers are 2-2, but team record doesn't really tell us everything. Their two losses were each by a mere three points. And they've done it against some pretty good competition.
So, that starts to make me thing that this team that most people had written off at the start of the season might actually be good. When we're talking about "good" in sports, what we really mean is "playoffs-good."
Actually, all four games have been pretty close, so the Chargers could be 0-4. Luck plays a factor in games as close as these and just as the Indianapolis Colts proved last year, eventually your good luck runs out and you get slaughtered. So, maybe the Chargers are bad.
As they head into their game this Sunday with the not-quite-so-dreaded Raiders, it's important that San Diego not only win, but win by a good margin.
While it's unclear whether the Chargers are good, it's quite easy to see that the Raiders are terrible. And if San Diego loses or only squeaks by, it'll give us a much better idea where the team is at.
They currently have one of the top three offenses in the AFC. Philip Rivers seems to be enjoying his separation from Norv Turner. Last week he threw over 400 yards and he's already thrown 11 touchdowns (12 if you count the game-tying, and eventually losing, interception he threw to the Houston Texans).
When you look at the defense, it's easy to start thinking this is not a good team and they've just been lucky. They're currently ranked 30th in the whole league in yards allowed. That's a lot of yards.
But in the second half of last week's game, this same defense shut down the Cowboys offense so well, you'd think it was the U.S. Congress. And all those yards the team gave up in other games were against two of the top five offenses in the league.
So, it's not clear whether the defense is really that bad. However, it is clear that the offense is good and with two quality wins, including a fourth-quarter comeback, it seems the team is better coached -- though better than bad doesn't mean good.
Have you seen this new show called Sleepy Hollow? No, not the movie. It's on TV. I've seen the first few episodes and I can't figure out whether it's good or bad. Maybe it's so bad that it's good. I don't know. It seems to have a lot good elements and I haven't stopped watching it yet. So, maybe it's good.
That sums up this Chargers team. With a couple of breaks, they could be 4-0. Usually you can only say that about good teams. Their matchup this weekend will answer some of these questions.
Much like its fans, this Raiders team isn't going to go down without a fight -- especially against a division rival. But the Chargers can show everyone just how good they are by winning the game and winning it convincingly.
Jed Rigney is a Los Angeles-based award-winning filmmaker who also fancies himself a sportswriter. You can see him on Twitter @JedRigney.
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