San Diego is still home to Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.
Rivers still lives in the city that the Chargers called home for over five decades and that made his acceptance of an award on Thursday night all the more special. In fact, it did something we have rarely if ever, seen Rivers do. It brought him to tears.
Rivers was on hand to accept the award for Professional of the Year at the 73rd annual Salute to Champions. Other athletes who were on hand and were honored included Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, snowboarder and Olympic gold medalist Shaun White and Desiree Linden, the woman who won the Boston Marathon.
In his acceptance of the award, Rivers took the chance to address the city of San Diego and any Chargers fans that may still reside in the city.
Philip Rivers accepting the Professional of the Year Award last night at the 73rd Salute To Champions.
He continues to be the reason why so many SAN DIEGO Chargers fans can’t quit on this team.
This was perfect… pic.twitter.com/6Bi0xlFIEV
— Rich Ohrnberger (@ohrnberger) February 1, 2019
That is why Rivers, who was long looked at as a whiny guy and easy to dislike for his on-field trash talk, is loved and respected by so many at this stage in his career. It was also interesting how he addressed the fans in San Diego and mentioned how it was “more than understandable” as to why they feel the way they do about the team since its move to the bright lights of Los Angeles.
But in Rivers, there will always be a reason to a fan of the team, even if it’s difficult to do with the Spanos family still in place. Rivers wants to win a Super Bowl and if you asked him and he could be honest, he would be doing it for the city he still loves way more than he would be doing it for the one he now plays in.
The Chargers had the second-best record in the AFC and made a solid push into the playoffs before being outclassed by the New England Patriots. It leaves a fair question as to whether or not Rivers might be the best player in NFL history never to play in or win a Super Bowl.
Fans in San Diego are still bitter about the Chargers leaving and many of them likely always will be. That is completely understandable, as Rivers mentioned. Though the team is gone, there is still plenty to be proud of with this class act of an athlete.
Rivers still wears that lightning bolt and his helmet and that No. 17 on his back. San Diego, I hope he is still YOUR quarterback.