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Spanos knows selling tickets with status quo “is going to be a challenge”

Robert Kraft, Clark Hunt, Dean Spanos, John Mara

NFL owners, from left, Robert Kraft, New England Patriots; Clark Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs; Dean Spanos, San Diego Chargers; and John Mara, New York Giants, arrive for football labor negotiations with the NFL players involving a federal mediator in Wednesday, March 2, 2011, Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


On Tuesday, Chargers president Dean Spanos shocked the NFL not by firing his coach and G.M. but by not firing them. On Tuesday evening, Spanos explained the decision in a phone interview with PFT. (Some would even call it an “exclusive interview,” since Spanos was speaking “exclusively” to PFT at that specific moment in time.)

Spanos reiterated his belief that Smith and Turner are the best men to lead the team at this specific time. “If I thought they were the wrong guys,” Spanos said, “I wouldn’t think twice about making a change.”

But Spanos realizes that there could be ramifications, if the fan base doesn’t agree.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a challenge this year,” Spanos said as to the task of selling tickets. The team had multiple blackouts in 2011, and the Chargers routinely had to scramble to sell non-premium tickets to several other games.

But Spanos seems to think that a changing of the team’s coach and/or G.M. wouldn’t have made the turnstiles spin any more quickly. “There’s a certain percentage of fans that until we go out and win, I don’t think it’s going to make any difference,” Spanos said.

So the task is to win. And Spanos realizes that making changes for the sake of making changes when the front office and the coaching staff are producing teams that can compete for playoff berths on an annual basis could spark a constant cycle of change.

Winning without firing the current coach and G.M. nevertheless will require some adjustments. Spanos said the team may be more “proactive” in free agency.

He also expressed dismay and confusion regarding the recent rash of injuries, calling it a “huge concern” and explaining that the training staff “can’t come up with a common denominator” to explain why so many players are getting hurt.

“Maybe we’re drafting players who are more prone to injury,” Spanos said. “Maybe we are taking too many chances.”

When it comes to keeping Smith and Turner, Spanos decided that making a change would be taking too much of a chance.