The Chargers are expected to move on from Philip Rivers this offseason. With this move, the Chargers would not only be losing an organizational icon, but they would also lose a unique individual that can never be replicated.
Jay Glazer recently reported that the Chargers are planning on moving on from Philip Rivers this offseason. While there is certainly some logic in moving on from Rivers, the Chargers organization would be losing one of the most unique and important players in its history with this decision.
Philip Rivers holds countless career records for the Chargers, including most passing completions, yards, and touchdowns, all while holding the best passer rating and lowest interception frequency per pass (for a quarterback with over 100 attempts).
For these reasons, Rivers will eventually join Dan Fouts, Lance Alworth, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Junior Seau as the only Chargers players to have their numbers permanently retired.
While those numbers are great reasons to immortalize Rivers in Chargers history, they are not the main reasons fans of this generation should remember Rivers.
The qualities listed below make Rivers a unique player that the Chargers will never be able to find again. Let’s take the time to appreciate the unique collection of attributes that makes Rivers so special.
Toughness and Durability
Much is said in the media about Rivers’ durability. His 224 straight starts are something that practically no NFL players are physically able to achieve.
While durability is a fantastic quality to have in any player, it is a trait that a player cannot choose. All players wish to avoid injury; some players simply have bodies that withstand the trauma of football better than others and are gifted with the luck of avoiding injuries.
But durability alone does not describe how Rivers achieved 224 straight starts. His record required both durability and incredible toughness.
On January 20, 2008, Rivers famously sealed his spot in NFL lore as one of its toughest players ever when he battled through an entire AFC Championship game with a torn ACL.
This single act of heroism overshadows the many bumps, bruises, and injuries that Rivers overcame in other games to achieve his long start streak. His toughness is one of a kind and will be hard for the Chargers to find in another quarterback.
If you have ever watched a Chargers game, you have probably noticed Rivers yelling ecstatically at any positive moment during a game.
Maybe I haven’t seen enough but this is one of the weirdest NFL interactions I’ve ever seen pic.twitter.com/NUyjElkWtA
— Ben Murphy (@BenMurphyTV) December 10, 2019
Simply put, Rivers does not like to lose, and his game is predicated on his unsurpassed desire to win. To those viewing Chargers football, that desire to win is most openly apparent in his trash-talking ways.
In a 2018 poll, Rivers was voted as the second-best trash talker in the NFL by the players themselves, with 24 percent of the vote. Not only does Rivers’ uniquely-clean trash-talking serve to motivate himself, but it irritates opponents like nothing else.
However, beyond the trash-talking, Rivers’ competitive nature has served to drive his own teammates over the course of the long NFL season. In an ESPN article, former teammate Nick Hardwick perfectly tells fans how Rivers’ competitiveness provides an edge for his team.
He’s fired up all the time because he’s alive on game day. His fire really comes out. He gets everybody going — a little angry and on edge. You’re happy on game day and you smile a lot, but you should have a little bite to you, too. And he brings that.
San Diego Pride
At this point, you may have noticed that this article has not yet contained a reference to the new city to which the Chargers have relocated.
Los Angeles is a beautiful city that will one day be integral to the history of the Chargers, but the story of Rivers’ NFL career is primarily a story that belongs to the San Diego Chargers.
In 2004, the San Diego Chargers executed a fascinating trade in the NFL draft to claim Rivers. From that year all the way until 2016, Rivers poured out his heart and soul for the San Diego Chargers.
As much as he tried to support the Chargers organization in Los Angeles, he made it clear that he and his family belonged in San Diego.
Philip Rivers delivers an emotional speech, thanking San Diego fans, after accepting the Professional of the Year Award at the “Salute to Champions” dinner in La Jolla (via @KyleKraska) pic.twitter.com/xlI6uptfye
— Los Angeles (@ChargersHype) February 1, 2019
Rivers loves San Diego, and San Diego loves Rivers. It is rare that a city and player can create such a bond, and that bond is integral to Rivers’ story as a Charger.
But above all of this, Rivers will be remembered for his unrivaled passion for the game.
There are so many ways in which Rivers has demonstrated his love of the game. One of the easiest to see is his throwing motion.
His infamous throwing motion has been described in a variety of ways, ranging from a shot-put pass to a man rehabbing a shoulder injury.
However, the origin of that motion demonstrates his passion for the game. When he was a kid in Decatur, Alabama, Rivers developed his throwing motion by throwing regulation-sized footballs (far too large for any child) as a ballboy for the high school team that his dad coached.
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While plenty of kids in America have that football background, how many retain that throwing motion into adulthood? The fact that Rivers kept this motion shows how often he threw that oversized football around as a child.
His love of the game is readily apparent to any fan of the NFL as a whole. In fact, there are websites and articles all over the internet dedicated to posting the many expressive faces of Rivers, as he goes through the many highs and lows that being the quarterback of an NFL team brings.
Chargers fans will remember Rivers for decades for all of these qualities; this man gave everything he had to the Chargers organization, even when they did not deserve it.
There will never be another Rivers in the Chargers organization. We, the fans, wish you all the best in what comes next in your career and personal life.