A Guide to Recognizing the Chargers

These are the names to know for Sunday's games

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Jan 15, 2010  |  Updated 6:29 AM EDT
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A Guide to Recognizing the Chargers

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Judging from the television ratings, there are a lot of people checking out Jets games who might not ordinarily be spending their weekend hours with Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez. That number is likely to go up for the showdown in San Diego, especially with Monday's holiday providing all the excuse you need to spend Sunday afternoon with a few drinks, a few friends and Gang Green.

Since many of you may be flying blind when it comes to the Chargers, we're happy to provide some quick primers on names you need to know for Sunday's game. Read this and you'll impress your friends with your knowledge and ability to taunt members of the Bolts mercilessly.

Philip Rivers: The NFL is a quarterback's league and players like Rivers are a big reason why. He's big, strong and, much to the chagrin of Giants fans, capable of leading his team 80 yards in the final two minutes to win games. Stopping the Chargers offense comes down to stopping Rivers, something few teams have been able to do over the last two years but the Jets may have an ace in the hole.

Rivers enjoys the trash talk almost as much as Ryan and Bart Scott. He's earned fines and inspired some epic work from the Kissing Suzy Kolber gang (language warning) because of his fratboyish antics. Perhaps the Jets can knock him off his game by getting him to focus more on the chatting and less on the hitting Antonio Gates over the middle of the field. Our suggestion for material: Losing to a high schooler in an accuracy contest.

Shawne Merriman: A thoroughly charming individual, Merriman is nicknamed "Lights Out" for the elaborate post-sack dance that he got to break out a grand total of four times this season. We knew Mark Gastineau, Shawne, and you're no Mark Gastineau.

Merriman has steadily declined since being busted as a steroid user during the 2006 season, either because he's been playing with injuries or because a level playing field has ensured that the lights remain on around the NFL. He also gained some crossover notoriety into TMZ circles this fall when he was accused of physically assaulting reality TV "star" Tila Tequila (If the name is a mystery, more power to you). Charges were dropped and Tequila moved on to some kind of romantic entanglement with Casey Johnson, the daughter of Jets owner Woody Johnson who died on January 4th.

Luis Castillo: Castillo sent a letter to every NFL team before the 2005 Draft admitting that he used steroids in college. The Chargers picked him in the first round, thus ensuring he'd be punished for cheating by becoming a multi-millionaire.

Vincent JacksonSay this -- "Gosh, did Jackson even suit up for the Chargers today?" -- sometime around the third quarter to the guffaws of your Darrelle Revis-loving cronies.

LaDainian Tomlinson: There are reasons to like Tomlinson. He seems like a decent human being, is one of the best backs in the history of the NFL and he's late enough in his career that he doesn't offer the Jets too many on-field problems. Reasons to dislike him? He should really know better than to encourage people calling him LT -- there's only one -- and, well, he's on the Chargers. At the end of the day, it's really hard to dislike the guy responsible for this video:

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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