San Diego Chargers’ All-Time Receiving TD Leaders
The San Diego Chargers began play in the AFL in 1960 in Los Angeles, moved to San Diego in 1961, and merged into the NFL in 1970. The Chargers have always been the proto-typical west coast team—i.e., a pass-first team, especially under the coaching of Don “Air” Coryell. The Chargers have one championship, an AFL title, in 1963, but lost their only Super Bowl appearance—in 1994 against San Francisco. The Chargers, not surprisingly, have fielded some great quarterbacks and receivers over the years, and here is a short list of the team’s all-time leaders to date in receiving touchdowns:
Lance Alworth (81)—Lance Alworth played for the Chargers most of his career, from 1962 to 1970, and he was a first team All Pro six straight years from 1963 to 1968. Alworth leads the Chargers all-time with 81 touchdown catches, and his best season was 1965. That year, Alworth had 69 catches for career highs in receiving yards (1602) and receiving TDs (14). Both the yards and touchdowns led the AFL that year.
Antonio Gates (69)—Tight end Antonio Gates has played for the Chargers since 2003 as I write this in 2011, and he already ranks second in franchise history with 69 touchdown receptions. Gates has made the Pro Bowl in seven of his eight seasons, three as a first team All Pro. He had a career high 13 touchdown catches in 2003, but Gates’ best overall season was arguably 2005. That year, he had a career high 89 catches for 1101 yards and 10 TDs.
Gary Garrison (58)—Gary Garrison played most of his career in San Diego, from 1966 to 1976, and he ranks third in the team’s history with 58 TD catches. Garrison had maybe his best season in 1970—when he caught 44 passes for 1006 yards and a career best 12 touchdowns, with a remarkable 22.9 yards-per-catch average.
Charlie Joiner (47)—Charlie Joiner played for the Chargers most of his career, from 1976 to 1986, and he ranks fourth in their history with 47 touchdown catches. Joiner had a career high 7 TD receptions four times, and his best season was probably 1981. That year, Joiner had 70 catches for a career high 1188 receiving yards, and 7 TDs.
Kellen Winslow (45)—Tight end Kellen Winslow played for the Chargers his entire career, from 1979 to 1987, and he ranks fifth in franchise history with 45 touchdown receptions. Winslow made the Pro Bowl five times, three as a first team All Pro. He had a career high 10 TD catches in 1981, but Winslow’s best overall season was arguably 1980. That year, Winslow had a career high 89 catches (led the NFL) for 1290 yards (also a career best), with 9 touchdowns.