Are the Los Angeles Chargers Overrated? The Athletic Thinks So

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers have one of the best franchise quarterbacks in the NFL, but they’ve never gotten past the Wild Card Playoffs with Justin Herbert leading the charge. It’s not like there hasn’t been talent on the roster, from Herbert, to Austin Ekeler to Keenan Allen, Rashawn Slater, Joey Bosa, and Khalil Mack — that’s a better cast of stars than most franchises can boast about.

Yet, despite having plenty of big names in recent history, one might suggest that the Chargers have been a bit overrated since Herbert rose to glory as a rookie. Former head coach Brandon Staley eventually got ousted as a scapegoat, but now Jim Harbaugh’s here to save the day, and the vibes in Los Angeles have been immaculate, restoring hope once again.

But here we are, getting overjoyed about a football team that hasn’t proven anything yet. Are the 2024 Chargers assuredly better than the version that went 5-12 last season? After all, Ekeler, Allen, and Mike Williams are all gone. While Chargers GM Joe Hortiz has added several pieces to help retool the roster, are we over-hyping the Chargers again?

Related: Chargers GM Joe Hortiz Transforming Team Identity | Differences From Previous Regime

Are the 2024 Los Angeles Chargers Overrated and Overhyped?

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers Minicamp
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL analyst Mike Jones of The Athletic is one who doesn’t hold high expectations for the Chargers in 2024. In fact, he recently named the LA Chargers as one of the NFL’s most overrated teams this season.

“Jim Harbaugh should be good for Justin Herbert and the Chargers in the long run; he was regarded as the top coach on the market this past winter. But an overnight turnaround might be far-fetched, particularly since Harbaugh hasn’t coached in the NFL in 10 years. Also, while the Chargers made an effort to bolster their defense, Herbert will be missing a number of go-to offensive players after the departures of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler.”

The Athletic, calling Los Angeles Chargers one of NFL’s most overrated teams

There’s a lot to unpack here. But using Harbaugh’s 10-year NFL absence as one of the leading reasons for his claim is a bit unusual. While we do respect the idea that college football and the NFL are much different from one another, this is Jim Harbaugh we’re talking about.

Not only did he prove to be one of the best coaches in college football by leading the Michigan Wolverines to a National Championship, he’s already been proven successful as an NFL head coach too.

Do you really think Coach Harbaugh can be that much worse than Coach Staley? This is a guy who’s already coached his team to a Super Bowl appearance, even if it was back in 2013. And remember, he came just four points away from winning that Lombardi trophy.

Not to mention, as a head coach, Harbaugh holds the NFL’s fifth-best win percentage of all time. The four names above him are all enshrined in the Canton Pro Football Hall of Fame. While it’s true that Harbaugh has plenty of work to do to ensure the Chargers avoid another five-win season, not to mention being in a highly competitive AFC West, we’re betting he’ll get better results than Staley and Giff Smith mustered.

Related: Can Jim Harbaugh Work His Magic in LA? Analyst Warns of High Expectations for Chargers in 2024