- Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
The Los Angeles Chargers hosted the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, but you wouldn’t know it by the sound of the crowd.
The Chargers, who are playing their first season back in Los Angeles after 56 years in San Diego, have been struggling to attract support in their new home. Despite playing in a converted soccer stadium that holds just 28,000 while they wait for their permanent home to be built, Philip Rivers and company have not been drawing a large crowd.
This past Sunday was a great example of how downright unfriendly home field can be to the Chargers. As the Eagles came out of the tunnel before the game, they were met widely by cheers, with apparent Philadelphia transplants from across Los Angeles coming out to see their team.
Eagles take the field to this reception. This is wild. pic.twitter.com/wr64okhbaw
— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) October 1, 2017
Compare that with the reception the Chargers, who, again, are the home team, received from the crowd.
#Chargers getting booed in their rented home
— John Clark CSN/NBC (@JClarkCSN) October 1, 2017
The contrast was so stark that it even became a focus of the broadcast, with the sideline reporter Shannon Spake explaining that she’d heard “Go Eagles” chants throughout the day.
But at no point was the discrepancy more pronounced than in the fourth quarter, when Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks implored the crowd to make noise for the Philadelphia defense ahead of a big third down. The Fox announcers Dick Stockton and Mark Schlereth said they had never seen anything like it.
— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) October 1, 2017
The Eagles would go on to win the game 26-24, pushing the Chargers to a dismal 0-4 start, with three of those losses coming by a combined seven points. Eagles players were quick to thank the crowd after the game, with safety Malcolm Jenkins joking on Twitter that the Eagles were the “only team in the NFL with 9 home games.”
— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) October 2, 2017
— Jake Elliott (@jake_elliott22) October 2, 2017
— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) October 2, 2017
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) October 1, 2017
Unless the Chargers can start to develop a local fan base, this is a problem the franchise could face for some time. Both the Chargers and the Rams are new to the city, and neither has done a great job of getting butts into seats at games. San Francisco has also gone through a recent stretch of ticket woes, as fans saw when the 49ers hosted the Rams on “Thursday Night Football” in front of a largely empty stadium.
After Sunday’s game against the Eagles, the Chargers take the road for a two-game stretch. Road games are usually a haul for NFL teams, but with the reception the Chargers have been getting in Los Angeles, trips to New York and Oakland may feel like vacations.