On Monday night, the Chargers somehow managed to allow a 24-0 halftime lead turn into a stunning 35-24 loss. We all know the Eagles saw a 10-point lead evaporate over a mere five-minute span, ending in a 26-23 overtime loss. Two disappointing losses by perhaps the two most disappointing teams in the NFL over the past decade.
Since 2002, the Chargers have a 96-64 record. They managed three seasons of 12 or more wins, including a 14-2 mark in 2006. They have won five division championships over that period. They had only one sub-.500 season, 4-12 in 2003, but followed that up with a 12-4 record the following year. Despite the regular-season success, they could only manage a playoff record of 3-5, advancing to one conference championship game, and they failed to make a Super Bowl appearance.
During that same span, the Eagles have gone 99-60-1 (that tie is still annoying). Just like the Chargers, they have put together three 12-plus-win seasons. Just like the Chargers, they had only one sub-.500 season, 6-10 in 2005, but followed that up with a 10-6 campaign and a playoff appearance. Just like the Chargers, they have won five division championships. They also earned two wild-card berths. The Eagles have managed a slightly better, but far from overwhelming, 7-7 postseason record. They won one conference championship. And just like the Chargers, no Lombardi Trophy.
Over the past decade, both franchises have seen some of the game's most elite players wear their uniforms. Some Hall of Famers, many others who were just great, great players in their day. We are talking names like Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson and probably the best player either team had, LaDainian Tomlinson. Guys like Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Bobby Taylor, Troy Vincent, LeSean McCoy and Brian Dawkins, among others.
Despite all those great players, despite great success during the regular season, both these franchises have failed to produce a Super Bowl victory. San Diego's disappointment has mostly manifested itself in a, "Wow, how could that 12-4 team lose in the Wild Card round," or ,a "Wow, how could a 14-2 team or a 13-3 team not even make it to the conference championship" type of way. Philly's has been manifested in failure on the greater stages, in only making one Super Bowl appearance despite five conference championship games, and of course in failing to take that final step in the Super Bowl they did play in.
Regardless of how the playoff disappointment came to fans of these two franchises, their paths over the past decade have been eerily similar. Some amazing players, fantastic regular-season play and failure to translate that into postseason success. The San Diego Chargers and the Philadelphia Eagles, truly partners in disappointment.