57 Years of San Diego Chargers History

The San Diego Chargers can trace their lineage to August 1959, when Barron Hilton met with representatives from five other cities to discuss a proposed football league, which later became known as the American Football League (AFL).

The AFL began in 1960 with eight teams, including Hilton's Los Angeles Chargers, the Denver Broncos, Dallas Texans, Oakland Raiders, New York Titans, Houston Oilers, Buffalo Bills and the Boston Patriots.

After moving to San Diego in 1961, the Chargers went on to play nine more years in the AFL. In all, the Bolts reached the AFL playoffs five times and the AFL Championship four times. They won the AFL Championship in 1963 when they beat the Boston Patriots 51-10 before 30,127 fans at Balboa Stadium.

The AFL and the National Football League (NFL) merged before the 1970 season, and in 40 seasons since then, the Chargers have been the AFC West Champion nine times. The Chargers won the AFC Championship in 1994 beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-13. Unfortunately, they lost to the San Francisco 49ers 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX for the NFL Championship.

Seven players and one head coach have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio as San Diego Chargers: Lance Alworth (1962-1970) Flanker, Fred Dean (1975-1981) Defensive End, Dan Fouts (1973-1987) Quarterback, Sid Gillman (1960-1969, 1971) Head Coach/General Manager, Charlie Joiner (1976-1986) Wide Receiver, Ron Mix (1960-1969) Offensive Tackle, Junior Seau (1990-2002) Linebacker, Kellen Winslow (1979-1987) Tight End.

Four other players who had played for the San Diego Chargers are also in the HOF: David (Deacon) Jones (1972-1973) Defensive End, Larry Little (1967-1968) Offensive Guard, John Mackey (1972) Tight End, Johnny Unitas (1973) Quarterback.

Their are four jersey numbers that the San Diego Chargers have retired Dan Fouts #14 in 1988, Lance Alworth #19 in 2005, Junior Seau #55 (1990-2002) in 2012, and LaDainian Tomlinson #21 in 2015. Ron Mix's number (74) was previously retired in 1969, but they un-retired it in 1971 when he came back to the NFL and played for the Raiders. There is talk that the Chargers might (and they should have a long time ago) retired Kellen Winslow's #80.

The following are esteemed members of the Chargers team Hall of Fame:

Inducted Name Years Played
1976 Bob Laraba LB 53 1960 - 1961
1976 Emil Karas LB 56 1960 - 1966
1976 Frank Buncom LB 55 1962 - 1968
1976 Jacque MacKinnon TE 38 1961 - 1969
1977 Lance Alworth WR 19 1962 - 1970
1978 Ron Mix OT 74 1960 - 1969
1979 Paul Lowe RB 74 1960 - 1968
1980 Barron Hilton Majority Owner 1960 - 1966
1980 Keith Lincoln RB 22 1961 - 1968
1981 Ernie Ladd DT 77 1961 - 1965
1981 Walt Sweeney G 78 1966 - 1999
1983 John Hadl QB 21 1962 - 1972
1984 Chuck Allen LB 50 1961 - 1969
1985 Gary Garrison WR 27 1966 - 1976
1985 Sid Gillman Head Coach 1961 - 1969
1986 Earl Faison DE 86 1961 - 1966
1993 Charlie Joiner QB 14 1973 - 1987
1993 Dan Fouts QB 14 1973 - 1987
1994 Don Coryell Head Coach 1978 - 1986
1995 Kellen Winslow TE 80 1979 - 1987
1995 Russ Washington OT 70 1968 - 1982
1995 Speedy Duncan CB 45 1964 - 1970
1996 George Pernicano Minority Owner 1961 -
1997 Rolf Benirschke K 6 1978 - 1987
1998 Gill Byrd CB 22 1983 - 1992
1999 Gary "Big Hands" Johnson DT 79 1975 - 1984
2000 Doug Wilkerson G 63 1971 - 1984
2001 Wes Chandler WR 89 1981 - 1997
2002 Bobby Ross Head Coach 1992 - 1996
2002 Stan Humphries QB 12 1992 - 1997
2003 Louie Kelcher DT 74 1975 - 1983
2004 Don Macek C 62 1976 - 1989
2008 Ed White G 67 1978 - 1985
2008 Fred Dean DE 71 1975 - 1981
2011 Junior Seau LB 55 1990 - 2002
2012 Darren Bennett P 2 1995 - 2003
2014 Leslie O'Neal DE 91 1986 - 1995
2015 LaDainian Tomlinson RB 21 1986 - 1995