San Diego at Playoff Time

I'm in San Diego this week for a long-planned and much anticipated conference break from a Pittsburgh weather. By happy accident, this is the home town of the team that faces the Steelers next Sunday in a divisional playoff game.

Does anyone care? In San Diego, I mean.

I've spent a lot of time in San Diego in the past, so it's no surprise to me that playoff fever is, um, mostly missing here. I've seen a few cars with those silly NFL franchise logo flags (Chargers blue and gold in this case) hanging from the side windows. One downtown hotel has the Chargers' bolt logo splashed in lights on its side. But on the whole, San Diego goes about its usual sun-in-the-winter business. There are an awful lot of new shiny buildings here, and a lot of sun-splashed people who just don't seem to be passionate about very much. I haven't seen a single Chargers ball cap in two days, let alone a Chargers jersey. Scale that up, and you find that San Diegans aren't usually into the idea of San Diego. History and community? As in most of California, with few exceptions San Diego's history started yesterday; the future is what matters. San Diegans are mostly into the ideas of the water, the beach, and the sun. Which are beautiful, to be sure, and which are often reasons in themselves to keep coming back here. Which I do. Did I mention the water?

As different as the cities of Pittsburgh and San Diego are, their football teams are different, too. The Bolts have momentum, a fair amount of karma, and a hot quarterback on their side. The Steelers have an awesome defense and a bunch of question marks on offense. The mismatches mean that it's likely that the Chargers will give Pittsburgh a good game on Sunday, and the Bolts -- 2-0 in playoff games against the Steelers -- have a decent shot at pulling out a victory. But I'll stick with this prediction: Steelers 12 (no touchdowns; 4 field goals) - Chargers 10 (one defensive touchdown on an interception return, and one field goal).


4 Responses to "San Diego at Playoff Time"

RichW said... 1/08/2009 9:07 PM

To your point, if you lived in San Diego, would you really make football - or any sport - the focus of your being?

Was there in late summer. Couple of dining tips: If you need a pizza fix, get to Urban, which is across the street from far right field of Petco Park. Easy walk from the convention center. You will thank me for that recommendation ;-)

Also, the fish tacos at the place between the convention center and the Omni are pretty danged good.

Coffee is pretty poor though. You'd have to walk a dozen blocks north to Elixir for a good cup.

Mike Madison said... 1/09/2009 5:18 PM

Thanks, Rich, for that recommendation. We had lunch at the pizza place (Urban) today. Really good. There's nothing like it in Pittsburgh.

Schultz said... 1/10/2009 6:19 PM

After hearing about Mayor Ravenstahl's bet with the Mayor of San Diego I have to root for the Bolts this weekend so we can see Lukey surfing the Mon.

Luke said... 1/13/2009 7:37 PM

There's always so much talk that Pittsbughers need to be more positive about the city and the region. Having San Diego as a topic on this blog gives us a great opportunity to just that.

For example, look at some of these recent quotes from Chris Briem's website -

Pittsburgh good bet for home buy.
(from a Bloomberg article)

News is that Pittsburgh's unemployment rate is up to 5.8%

Now, look at some news from San Diego

San Diego's unemployment for November was 6.8% but one local economist expect that number to rise sharply. "We're going to go up from here. I could see it rising to 8% and possibly higher than 8% by the summertime," said Kelly Cunningham of the San Diego Institute for Policy Research.

The median price per square foot for single family homes fell 2.6 percent for the month, racking up a decline of 27.8 percent for the year and 42.7 percent from the September 2005 peak of this measure.


We may be approaching the point where civic leaders from places like San Diego come here asking people like Chris Briem what Pittsburgh's secret is that enabled us to ride out this recession with relatively little economic suffering.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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