The 1998San Diego Chargers season began with the team trying to improve on their 4–12 record in 1997. It was Kevin Gilbride’s final season as the teams head coach. The team's defense lead the league in yards allowed; however a weak offense under infamous draft bust quarterback Ryan Leaf meant that the team was last in the AFC West.
The opening game for 1998 constituted the first time since 1985 that the Chargers played the Buffalo Bills. The reason for this is that before the admission of the Texans in 2002, NFL scheduling formulas for games outside a team’s division were much more influenced by table position during the previous season.