Chargers' TV ratings in L.A. market are just as embarrassing as their home crowd

The NFL desperately wants to make Los Angeles professional football work, but the early results are not ideal. The Rams are at least 3-1, but the star running back is still begging fans to come watch the team play on Sunday against the Seahawks. Elsewhere, the 0-4 Chargers are an absolute disaster in Los Angeles right now.

Philip Rivers, who is already battling a brutal commute to work every day, was less than thrilled about the crowd that was present for the Dolphins-Chargers game in Week 2. 

Week 4 was even worse, with Eagles fans descending on the tiny StubHub Center in Los Angeles and creating a hostile home environment for Rivers and the Chargers. Prior to the game, there were concerns about tarping over sections of seats; the Chargers say it's not that big a deal. But it is. And it's embarrassing to the NFL.  

The Eagles game just continues to highlight the issues, with Chargers tackle Joe Barksdale calling it "disheartening" to see that many people in your home stands rooting for another team.

"I try not to get too much into it because at the end of the day, we're playing guys. I'm not really looking into the stands," Barksdale said. "But at the same time, it is kind of disheartening when your home stadium is cheering for the away team. You guys can understand that."

Asked by reporters if having the other team's fans cheering loudly in his stadium was "demoralizing," Melvin Gordon admitted it is a problem. "Yeah," Gordon told L.A. Times. "It's sad when you're home and it feels like you're away, but when you're 0-4, what can you expect?"

At one point, Eagles defenders were asking the crowd to get loud, with Jordan Hicks waving his arms in the air while the Chargers were on offense. The crowd responded by getting loud.

"Have we ever seen a visiting player getting the crowd loud against the home team offense?" Fox play-by-play man Dick Stockton asked. "Never have I seen that."

Eagles running back Wendell Smallwood was on the field and heard a bunch of fans booing before Sunday's game. He figured it was Carson Wentz coming out. Nope. It was the Chargers.

The large Eagles crowd even resulted in the Eagles social media team punishing the Chargers and the city of Carson where the game was played.

And perhaps nothing points out the problem with the Chargers in Los Angeles quite like the television ratings, where the Chargers game was FIFTH in the L.A. market.

The Raiders-Broncos game was the national CBS game, the Colts-Seahawks was a Sunday night affair, the Dolphins-Saints was in London in the morning and the Steelers-Ravens are always popular. Rams-Cowboys is a big game on Fox and features a Los Angeles team. You can make excuses, but it doesn't make it any better for the Chargers, a team playing in a city where no one really wants them.

Despite that, the NFL says it will not be considering returning the team to San Diego, which was apparently a thing at some point in time. That was according to Joe Lockhart of the NFL on a conference call Monday, saying that the Chargers are staying put and riding this thing out in Los Angeles.

The StubHub Center is obviously a temporary solution until Rams owner Stan Kroenke can build out his new stadium and rent space to the Chargers. But the Rams are a year ahead of the Chargers on building a fanbase, not to mention ahead of the curve in terms of having a built-in fanbase. They also have three wins, a young quarterback in Jared Goff who looks like the real deal and a star running back in Todd Gurley. They are on the rise, up to No. 11 in Pete Prisco's Power Rankings this week.  

The Chargers have lots of talent and a franchise quarterback in Philip Rivers, but they can't get out of their own way and win games right now. And if you don't win games, good luck on making inroads with an area that largely approaches professional football with indifference. 

The cycle is viscous too: good luck winning NFL matchups when you're playing 16 road games a year. The Chargers look like they have about 12 more left this season. Four weeks into the Chargers move to Los Angeles, this experiment is off on the wrong foot.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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