The Los Angeles Chargers have been in existence for 61 years and the organization has spent most of its time in San Diego before moving back to the city of Angels.
The Chargers first started out in Los Angeles in 1960 when they joined the American Football League. But the team moved to San Diego in its second season and were there from 1961 to 2016. The team only produced one AFL championship and zero Super Bowl titles.
But that doesn’t mean great players have not put on the Bolts’ helmet over that six-decade span.
Who is on the Chargers’ all-time Mount Rushmore? Read the list below to find out.
LaDanian Tomlinson was inducted into the Hall of Fame. (Photo by John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
The Chargers moved down in the 2001 draft and still managed to land the franchise-altering running back LaDanian Tomlinson instead of picking Michael Vick. Tomlinson spent nine seasons with the Chargers and racked up the accolades during that time.
Tomlinson led the league in rushing yards in 2006 (1,815) and 2007 (1,474). He also led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2004 (17), 2006 (28) and 2007 (15). Tomlinson’s 28 rushing touchdowns in a single season is the most ever recorded. He just narrowly beat out Shaun Alexander’s 27.
He was named the 2006 Offensive Rookie of the Year, won an MVP award, was named to the Pro Bowl five times and selected to the First-Team All-Pro three times.
Tomlinson was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017.
Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers calls out from under center while taking on the New York Jets on September 22, 2008, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Philip Rivers is the greatest quarterback in Chargers history. San Diego traded for him during the 2004 draft after Eli Manning refused to play for them. The New York Giants selected Rivers and received Manning in the trade, which altered the course of history for both franchises.
Over the course of his time with the Chargers, Rivers eclipsed every passing mark in the franchise. He recorded 59,271 passing yards, 397 passing touchdowns and 123 wins as a starting quarterback. He’s clearly been the most productive QB in team history.
The only thing lacking on Rivers’ resume is playoff success. He was never able to get to the Super Bowl during his time with the team. He did make the Pro Bowl eight times and was the 2013 Comeback Player of the Year.
Rivers and the Chargers parted ways before the start of the 2020 season.
Junior Seau was a dominant force during his career. (Getty Images)
The Chargers selected Junior Seau with the No. 5 pick of the 1990 draft. Seau quickly turned into a fearsome linebacker for the team early in his career and was a staple on the team’s defense.
Seau tragically died by suicide at the age of 43. Studies later determined that Seau was suffering from CTE, which is caused by major head trauma after repeated blows to the head.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
Antonio Gates is the best tight end in Chargers’ history. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File)
Antonio Gates may be the best pass-catcher the Chargers ever had – wide receiver, tight end or otherwise. Gates holds franchise records in receptions (955), receiving yards (11,841) and receiving touchdowns (81). Those marks are better than Lane Alworth, Kellen Winslow and Charlie Joiner.
Gates was an undrafted free agent out of Kent State who joined the Chargers in 2003. He would eventually earn eight Pro Bowl and three First-Team All-Pro selections.
Gates is a sure-fire Hall of Famer and should be getting his call to Canton relatively soon