James Lambert
Over 60 years: 7 heartwarming San Diego team appearances at National Championship games with only 1 win
By James Lambert
April 10, 2023

Sadly, over the period of the last 60 years, the city of San Diego has experienced relatively few San Diego team appearances in national championship games. Dating back to 1963, the San Diego pro football team (the San Diego Chargers) under the direction of Coach Sid Gillman played in the American Football League championship game at Balboa Stadium in San Diego. That team (in January of ’64) won the AFL national championship game 51-10 over the Boston Patriots. During the next two years that same team lost the AFL’s national Championship game to the Buffalo Bills twice.

In the late ‘60s the San Diego Padres baseball team officially became a part of the National League. It wasn’t until 1984 when they would win the National League title and would ultimately face the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. Sadly, the team lost the MLB National Championship to the Tigers (4-1) in the series.

It wasn’t until early 1995 that a San Diego team would once again appear in the national championship game (the Super Bowl). The 1994-95 Chargers played the San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately, the Chargers' opponents got out to a quick start and won the Super Bowl by the score of 49-26.

Three+ years later, the San Diego Padres again were fortunate enough to appear in the 1998 World Series. Sadly, they lost 4 games to 0 to a New York Yankee team that was led by World Series MVP Scott Brosius (who played college baseball at Linfield College in Oregon). Almost 25 years later (in March of ’23), another San Diego team appeared in a national championship game, this time in basketball. With an overwhelming number of upsets, the San Diego State college basketball team made it to final round, but would lose to UCONN. Despite all this, here’s to the city of San Diego and the teams that tried, very hard, to become national champions. Here’s also to their team’s fans even though we, as a city, have lost 2 NBA teams (Rockets & Clippers) and our once beloved Chargers!

© James Lambert


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James Lambert

James Lambert has a broad business background. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Linfield College (McMinnville, Oregon), Lambert pursued a career in banking by working in various management capacities for Crocker Bank, San Diego Trust & Savings Bank and First Interstate Bank (between 1973 and 1995). By 1990 Lambert received his Master in Business Administration from National University (San Diego). For 3 years, Lambert also taught Finance at Mira Costa Community College... (more)


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