The NFL's commitment and support of the Chargers' efforts to remain in San Diego were center stage on Saturday, embodied by the presence of Commissioner Roger Goodell.
In fact, when Goodell took his turn at the podium, he uttered eight words that sent the nearly 4,000 San Diegans into a frenzy.
"The Chargers do belong here in San Diego."
After the roar of the crowd subsided, Goodell explained there is still a lot of work to be done. However, the end result will be well worth it.
"We've got a little job to do," he said. "We've got to start by getting our signatures. We've got to get a vote in November, and then we've got to build the stadium right here. And then, we'll have a new home for the Chargers and a perfect place for a Super Bowl."
In addition to being a state of the art stadium for the Bolts, Goodell believes the entire complex would be the perfect place for premiere NFL events such as Super Bowls, Pro Bowls, Drafts and much more. The commissioner also said the NFL supports Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos' decision to try to remain in America's Finest City, and endorsed the Citizens' Initiative which would build a modern multi-use stadium and convention facility in downtown San Diego.
While there are many milestones that must be achieved along the way, Goodell vowed to support the Chargers in whatever way possible.
"If I can play a constructive role, I want to be here," Goodell said. "This is a great day. You see the passion of the fans. You see how important it is to them, and it's our job to go and find a solution for the team…Dean Spanos and his family deserve all the credit for coming and saying we want to be in this community. We want to find a solution, and we are going to support him in the National Football League."
Goodell also hammered home how the Citizens' Initiative is far more than just a stadium.
"I mean it; I think the Chargers belong in San Diego. This is a great community and a great fan base. Everyone's acknowledged that we need a new stadium. The great thing I love about this proposal is it's more than a stadium. You're not only addressing the stadium, but also addressing the needs of a convention facility. What we need to do as the NFL is support this community and the effort. We don't make the decision. This is for the community to make, but we certainly want to be part of that solution."
The support of those on hand reinforced Goodell's belief about the passionate fan base in San Diego. In fact, Spanos opened up his remarks by thanking the thousands of fans in attendance. At the same time, he acknowledged this is only the beginning of their journey to getting the Citizens' Initiative passed.
"This is absolutely overwhelming," he began. "The support and showing here today, I can't thank you enough. My family can't and the Chargers organization cannot thank you enough for being here today…. We have a tough road ahead of us. We have several big objectives we have to attain before the end of the year. Obviously one is to get these signatures in a very short period of time, get it on the ballot for November 8 and win this thing. Once we win it, I assure you there is going to be a stadium right where we're sitting right here! And it's going to be something all of you, everybody in San Diego, is going to be very proud of for decades to come."
Paid for by Citizens for Sports, Entertainment and Tourism, with major funding by Chargers Football Company, LLC.