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2001 San Diego Chargers season


2001 San Diego Chargers season

2001 San Diego Chargers season
Head coach Mike Riley
General manager John Butler
Owner Alex Spanos
Home field Qualcomm Stadium
Record 5–11
Division place 5th AFC West
Playoff finish did not qualify
Previous season Next season
< 2000 2002 >

The 2001 San Diego Chargers season began with the team trying to improve on their 1–15 record in 2000. It was Mike Riley's final season as the teams head coach. At the end of the season running back LaDainian Tomlinson won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.


  • Offseason 1
    • Becoming the "Bills West" 1.1
    • NFL Draft 1.2
  • Personnel 2
    • Staff 2.1
  • Regular season 3
    • Schedule 3.1
    • Game summaries 3.2
      • Week 7 3.2.1
  • Standings 4
  • References 5


Becoming the "Bills West"

In January 2001, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson fired his general manager, John Butler, and his entire staff. The Chargers immediately signed Butler, and within weeks, Butler had lured several recognizable names from the 2000 Bills team: defensive end Marcellus Wiley, linebackers Sam Rogers and John Holecek, kicker Steve Christie and most notably, quarterback Doug Flutie, who had been cut by the Bills in a bitter quarterback controversy involving Rob Johnson. With so many former Bills connections, the team was often referred to as the Bills West.[1][2] (See also the 1995 Carolina Panthers season, in which Bill Polian brought several Bills contributors from the team's Super Bowl era to Carolina in its inaugural year of play.)

As such, the October 28 matchup between the Bills and Chargers in San Diego was heavily promoted as a dual grudge match, not just between Johnson and Flutie, but also between Wilson and Butler, with Wilson having been quoted as wanting to win the Chargers game more than the Super Bowl.[1] Despite the fact that the Bills were having a very bad season, and the Chargers' fortunes (at the time) had turned significantly, the game was very competitive, coming down to the final minutes play. Trailing 24–20, Flutie scrambled 13 yards to put the Chargers up 27–24; when kicker Jake Arians attempted a 44-yard field goal to tie the game, it was blocked.[3] The Chargers, then 5–2, would not win another game the entire season, going 0–9 in the remaining nine games.

NFL Draft

Michael Vick was selected in the 2001 NFL Draft as the first overall pick and first African American quarterback taken number 1 in the NFL Draft. The San Diego Chargers had the number one selection spot in the draft that year but traded the rights to the first overall choice to the Atlanta Falcons a day before the draft, for which they received the Falcons' first round pick (5th overall) and third round pick in 2001 (used to draft CB Tay Cody), a second round pick in 2002 (used to draft WR Reche Caldwell) and WR/KR Tim Dwight.[4] With the Chargers' downgraded spot (the 5th overall), they selected Texas Christian University running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who went on to become league MVP in 2006 .[5] Although Vick has never become league MVP, he finished second in voting in 2004.[6] In this way, Tomlinson and Vick are linked as having been "traded" for each other, although the transaction was actually the result of traded draft picks and contract negotiations. The Chargers' other notable draft pick was Drew Brees, who would eventually win Super Bowl XLIV as a member of the Saints.
Round Pick Player Position College Notes
1 2 LaDainian Tomlinson *  RB TCU Pick from ATL
2 Drew Brees  QB Purdue
3 Tay Cody  Florida St Pick from ATL
4 Carlos Polk  LB Nebraska Pick from PIT
5 Elliot Silvers  OT Washington
      Made roster    †   Pro Football Hall of Fame    *   Made at least one Pro Bowl during career



Regular season


Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 9, 2001 Washington Redskins W 30–3
2 September 23, 2001 at Dallas Cowboys W 32–21
3 September 30, 2001 Cincinnati Bengals W 28–14
4 October 7, 2001 at Cleveland Browns L 20–16
5 October 14, 2001 at New England Patriots L 29–26
6 October 21, 2001 Denver Broncos W 27–10
7 October 28, 2001 Buffalo Bills W 27–24
8 November 4, 2001 Kansas City Chiefs L 25–20
9 November 11, 2001 at Denver Broncos L 26–16
10 November 18, 2001 at Oakland Raiders L 34–24
11 November 25, 2001 Arizona Cardinals L 20–17
12 December 2, 2001 at Seattle Seahawks L 13–10
13 December 9, 2001 at Philadelphia Eagles L 24–14
14 December 15, 2001 Oakland Raiders L 13–6
15 December 23, 2001 at Kansas City Chiefs L 20–17
16 December 30, 2001 Seattle Seahawks L 25–22

Game summaries

Week 7

1 2 3 4 Total
Bills 0 10 0 14 24
• Chargers 10 3 0 14 27



AFC West
(3) Oakland Raiders 10 6 0 .625 399 327 L3
Seattle Seahawks 9 7 0 .563 301 324 W2
Denver Broncos 8 8 0 .500 340 339 L1
Kansas City Chiefs 6 10 0 .375 320 344 L1
San Diego Chargers 5 11 0 .313 332 321 L9


  1. ^ a b Roth, Leo. Bills East vs. Bills West. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. October 23, 2001.
  2. ^ Banks, Don. AFC is where all the action is lately. October 19, 2001.
  3. ^ Flutie works his magic – again – to beat Bills 27–24. Associated Press. October 28, 2001.
  4. ^ ESPN – Chargers big winner in different draft-day deal – NFL
  5. ^ NFL Most Valuable Players – NFL MVP Player of the Year
  6. ^
  7. ^ Retrieved 2014-Oct-19.
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