Colts quarterback Philip Rivers has yet to take his first snap with Indianapolis, but it appears as though he has his next gig already lined up.
Rivers will be named the head coach St. Michael Catholic High School in Fairhope, Ala. upon his retirement from the NFL, the school announced in a press conference on Friday. Rivers' dad, Steve, previously spent 25 years as a high school football coach, including a 15-year stint at Alabama's Decatur high school.
“It’s a special day for me and my family really,” Rivers said, per AL.com's Ben Thomas. “I will probably get a little emotional. I had two childhood dreams. One was to play in the NFL, and I’m now going into my 17th season. The other was to be a high school football coach as my dad was. How blessed am I to be able to live both of those out."
Rivers, 38, signed a one-year contract with the Colts in March. He previously logged 224 starts in 16 seasons with the Chargers, throwing for 59,271 yards and 397 touchdowns. Rivers threw 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 2019, averaging 7.8 yards per attempt.
"I think it is a one year at a time deal,” Rivers said on Friday. "I’ve expressed publicly and the Colts have said too they hope it’s more than one year. But we take it one year at a time. I love playing. When that time does end, you will get the same passion and work ethic at this school and community that I’ve poured into my career.”
Analysis from SI director of football recruiting John Garcia Jr.: Rivers has been public about his desire to get into the family business after his father’s legendary run in the state. That projection, and committing to St. Michael a year ahead of time, will generate plenty of interest in one of the most talented areas of the country per-capita in Mobile. The school just jumped up to Class 4A and will already command more attention, so the timing makes sense as well.
In addition to calling back to Steve Rivers’s day, Rivers could of course implement some of the more wide open passing concepts he’s executed during his college and professional days. It doesn’t take long to imagine the passion he shows on the field translating to the competitive nature of football in south Alabama. The state sits well within the top 10 nationally in NFL production and the numbers of FBS college football signees of late. His name resonates with influencers at all levels involved, from administration to fellow coaches, parents and of course the youth.
As prep football rules loosen nationally, more prospects will certainly gravitate towards St. Michael, a program only a few years into its football existence. There is precedent with the Rivers family, his children will attend and some will play under him, a model that stands the test of time at the high school level. It can often result in a quick turnaround, too. The fact that this has been the state native’s long term plan only reemphasizes those points. It will work.
Analysis from Jason B. Hirschorn of ChargerReport: While Philip Rivers doesn't plan to hang up the cleats right now, it comes as little surprise that he has already lined up work coaching in high school. Back in December, Rivers mentioned that wanted to coach his sixth-grade son in football "at some point here before too long." Regardless of how well he can coach, Rivers had made it clear how much investing time and energy into teaching kids matters to him. Coaching high school players just represents the next logical step.