The Chargers club was founded as a Los Angeles-based team on August 14, 1959, and began play on September 10, 1960, as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL). They spent their first season in Los Angeles before relocating to San Diego in 1961 to become the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers joined the NFL as result of the AFL–NFL merger in 1970. The Chargers returned to Los Angeles prior to the 2017 season after 56 seasons in San Diego, just one year after the Rams had moved back to the city from St. Louis. The team previously played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during their first stint in Los Angeles, Balboa Stadium and San Diego Stadium (also known as Jack Murphy Stadium and Qualcomm Stadium) while in San Diego, and Dignity Health Sports Park (formerly named StubHub Center) from 2017 to 2019 while SoFi Stadium was under construction.
The Chargers won the AFL championship in 1963 and reached the AFL playoffs five times and the AFL Championship game four times before joining the NFL (1970) as part of the AFL–NFL merger. In the years since the merger, the Chargers have made 13 trips to the playoffs and four appearances in the AFC Championship game. In 1994, the Chargers won their lone AFC championship and faced the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX, losing 49–26. The Chargers have eight players and one coach enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio: wide receiver Lance Alworth (1962–1970), defensive end Fred Dean (1975–1981), quarterback Dan Fouts (1973–1987), head coach–general manager Sid Gillman (1960–1969, 1971), wide receiver Charlie Joiner (1976–1986), offensive lineman Ron Mix (1960–1969), tight end Kellen Winslow (1979–1987), linebacker Junior Seau (1990–2002), and running back LaDainian Tomlinson (2001–2009).