Chargers President Dean Spanos sat down with Chargers.com to take a look back on a special 2007 season and look forward to 2008. Can you talk about last season, taking us first through the changes in the offseason, then the early struggles and finally to the teams strong run to the AFC Championship? The coaching change was a very important decision made by this organization. It was one that we thought was in the best interest of the club, but it was one that was very controversial. Then probably the worst thing that could have happened to us did: we started off very slowly. That slow start gave everyone an opportunity to second guess our decision, which made that time even more difficult. I believe you cant judge a season until the end when all the games are played and you can evaluate the season as a whole rather than one part of it. Thats when you can analyze the decisions you made by looking at the whole picture. All in all, you would have to say we had a pretty successful season. We made a tough decision, an emotional one to some degree, but we did what was in the overall best interest of the club. And we came within basically two touchdowns of going to the Super Bowl, which is a great testament to the job our coaching staff did. I know you were disappointed with the way it ended, but would you characterize last season as a success or is winning the world championship the only way to have a successful season? Success can be defined a lot of different ways. I look at a transitional period at the beginning of the season with the coaching change, but I also look at how we started out, which is about as bad as you can start at 1-3. You have to give a lot of credit to Norv for holding everything together and for this team overcoming that start. A lot of people had given up on us and thought we didnt have a chance to be successful. In some ways, thats taking a negative and making a positive because of the way that it showed the resilience of our team and our coaching staff. It showed we can overcome great obstacles and end up one step from the Super Bowl. Our fan support was unbelievable. Weve sold out 30 straight games. We have a season ticket waiting list and were getting 40-plus TV ratings in the playoffs. That demonstrates the depth of that support. Ultimately our goal every year is to win the Super Bowl, but as I look back on this year, one of the greatest successes we had was playing in the AFC Championship Game. We overcame a lot of controversy and negativity. That to me would define success this year, short of getting to the Super Bowl and winning it. Norv said that he never looked at the season as vindication for the early criticism, but did you feel some degree of vindication after the eight-game winning streak in December and January? I dont look at it that way. Im just really happy for Norv as the head coach of this organization. He proved that we made the right decision and that hes our leader. He took us through a difficult situation and put us on the doorstep of the Super Bowl. Your team was playing with a long list of injuries at the end of the season. Do you think the outcome of the AFC Championship Game would have been different if the Chargers were healthy? In this league, you have to be good, lucky and injury free. You always believe that you would have played better if you had all of your key players healthy. With Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates and LaDainian Tomlinson all battling injuries, we had a hard time scoring touchdowns. If you look back at that game, we moved the ball all over the place. We put ourselves in a position to score four times, but Gates and LT accounted for 80 percent of our touchdowns in the red zone this season. That made it difficult to finish those key drives. Its disappointing, but the experience of being in the game will help us in the future. What were your thoughts when you heard people questioning LT for not continuing to play after he was hurt in the game? I think that was more emotion than anything. A lot of times what you see on TV isnt exactly the way things really are. If you look back on LTs career, hes played seven seasons and never missed a game due to injury. I specifically go back to the 2005 season. We were eliminated from the playoffs going into our last game against the Broncos. LT had been battling sore ribs and really didnt have much to play for that day, but he was on the field because hes a competitor and wanted to be out there. Hes really the backbone of our team. Nobody wants to win more and is more of a competitor than he. I think what was said in the media was an immediate emotional response by a lot of people based on what they saw on TV, which doesnt tell the whole story. There were comments made by a lot of people who dont know LT like I do and like his teammates do. The most important thing to me is how his coaches and teammates reacted. After the season, his fellow players unanimously voted him MVP. Not one of them had anything negative to say about LT and everyone agreed that he would have played if hed been able to. Hes not a selfish person by any means. He was thinking of the team. Ten years from now when you look back at the 2007 season, is there one moment that will stick out? There were a lot of really important moments, but to me the most special was when the ball hit the turf on the Colts final fourth-quarter play after we stopped them for the last time in our Divisional Playoff win at Indianapolis. Nobody gave us a chance to go in there and win the game. It proved to a lot of people at that time that we were for real and that we could play with the best, including defeating the defending Super Bowl champions on their home turf. Norv said that he believes this team has the makeup of a championship squad. Do you share that feeling? Specifically why? I do agree. We have 37 players under contract through at least the 2009 season, 26 of whom run through 2010. That keeps a majority of our key players together for the next three years. Hopefully well get more of them signed so it continues on that basis. Thats the continuity aspect you need to win in this league. The more your players play together and the more familiar they are with each other and the coaching staff you develop continuity. Thats with a team that has won the AFC West in three of the last four seasons and has the third-best record in the NFL over the last three seasons. This team can play with any team. Weve kept it in tact, which I think gives us the best chance to continue to win and be a perennial playoff team. I think proving that youre a championship squad means a lot of things. Youve got to continually have a winning record and get to the playoffs. Weve gotten there three out of the last four years. The more chances you give yourself in the postseason, the better chance you have to win the Super Bowl. Plus another year of experience in the playoffs is going to help our players as they move forward. Weve showed we can win in the playoffs. Being able to have success in big games in critical. Looking ahead to the offseason, do you expect to be busy in free agency? In the last five years, A.J. has proven that he likes to build this team through the draft. I think our focus will be mostly on the draft. Were always looking for some free agents, but we have not typically been big players in the free agent market. That doesnt necessarily mean were not looking. I wouldnt be surprised if we picked up one or two free agents, but our focus is primarily on the draft and on maintaining continuity with our own players. The NFL has scheduled a game between the Chargers and New Orleans Saints in London in Week 8 this year. What are your feelings about that decision? I have the opportunity to sit on the NFLs International Committee, so I was very much in favor of playing regular-season games outside of the United States. The Giants-Dolphins game in London last season was very successful. It sold out very quickly and the people in Great Britain received the game very positively. Theyre looking forward to the NFL returning. Were looking forward to going to London, and wed love to follow in the Giants footsteps. Its an opportunity not only for the Chargers, but for the NFL. Its a very small step toward globalization of our sport. It may take 10 or 20 years, but we want to expose our great sport to the world and put our best product out there, and thats regular-season games. We want people to understand what our sport is all about. Were not trying to compete directly with soccer or cricket or rugby. Those are like basketball and baseball here in this country. What were trying to do is familiarize people on what were all about, which is entertainment and a great game. The Super Bowl is the biggest one-day sporting event in the world. The League is hoping in the next few years to begin playing three or four more games internationally, possibly in Germany, Mexico and Canada. The Buffalo Bills recently reached an agreement to play some games in Toronto. Its not farfetched to think that somewhere down the line, if there ever was expansion in the NFL, it might be international expansion. Im not saying thats on the horizon. Its way down the line, but thats something we need to look at. Were looking forward to what a positive experience this is going to be for us as a team. It also gives us another new experience in a different environment. In my mind you cant get enough of that experience. I think its great from that perspective alone.