The career of Philip Rivers has come to an end after 17 seasons. He decided to tell, not ESPN’s Adam Schefter or NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, but San Diego Union Tribune’s Kevin Acee. It is very Philip Rivers of him to do that after spending so many years in San Diego.
He was known for his toughness, passion for the game, and trash-talking. Rivers also didn’t swear, so he would use words like “dadgummit” when he would miss a throw or “shoot” when speaking during a press conference.
Rivers put out a statement on Wednesday to announce his retirement. In the first part, he says that January 20th is a special day for him because it is St. Sebastian’s Feast Day, which is special because Rivers is a devout Catholic. It was also the day that Rivers did turn a lot of heads because of his toughness.
In 2008, the Chargers made the playoffs and beat the Tennessee Titans in the wild card round. It was a hard-fought game. In the divisional round, the Chargers faced the Colts, Peyton Manning, and Rivers went strike for strike. Before the third quarter ended, Rivers threw a screen pass to Darren Sproles, who took 56-yards for the touchdown.
The Chargers quarterback was hurt and was walking to the locker room talking trash to some heckling fans saying, “Thank you, I’ll be back.” He didn’t return, and the Bolts won.
In the AFC Championship, they faced the undefeated New England Patriots. Rivers played with a torn ACL, and even though he didn’t play well along with the Chargers losing the game, he earned the respect of many around the league.
In the statement, he thanked the Chargers for 16 seasons and the Colts for his 17th season. His final snap as a Charger was a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and his last snap in the NFL was in a Colts jersey in a playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills.
He thanked all of his coaches for helping to guide him. His head coaches were Marty Schottenheimer, Norv Turner, Mike McCoy, Anthony Lynn, and Frank Reich. He also thanked the people that work on the coaching staff, PR, and everyone that works for the organizations.
He sent a special message to opposing defenses. Rivers always liked facing a Denver Broncos defense or one with great players like the Colts. He loved the competition of seeing how he could pick a defense apart or see if they did enough to beat them.
What Rivers love the most? The banter.
He has always loved talking trash to the opposing defense. Former Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said that there wasn’t a game that Rivers didn’t jaw at him. He would talk to anyone and everyone. He had a hilarious rivalry with former Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler. On Christmas eve of 2007, they faced each other, and towards the end of the game, Cutler said something to which Rivers responded from the other side of the field with linebacker Matt Wilhelm waving and outside linebacker Shaun Phillips give him the peace sign.
Many players around the league know he talks trash, but it is all in good fun.
This next part has to be written out, “I appreciate the referees for putting up with all my fussing. I think I was right most of the time, dadgummit!” Classic Rivers.
He didn’t just jaw at opposing players. He also jawed at referees. If he were on the sideline, he would point out if the opposing team’s offensive line was holding or if there should be a penalty. While on the field, he would yell at them about a penalty and other stuff. He loved to talk.
He thanked San Diego, the city that he was drafted to in 2004. The town he grew his family.
San Diego loves Philip Rivers.
During the 11 seasons in San Diego, on gameday’s when the announcer got to the final player and yelled, “at quarterback number 17 PHILIP RIVERS!” the stadium erupted. San Diego loved their quarterback.
In his first four seasons as a starter, Rivers led his Bolts to a 46-18 record, winning the division four straight times, and reaching the playoffs each season. His next 11 seasons, he had a 79-92 record with the Bolts, didn't win the division in any of those years, and reached the playoffs only twice.
When the Chargers moved to Los Angeles, some fans stayed loyal to the team. Other fans only stayed because they loved Rivers and wanted to see him succeed. When he became an Indianapolis Colt, a lot of fans wanted their former quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
He thanked his teammates, “Without a doubt, my favorite part of the game, being a teammate. Thank you for being mine.” His former teammates have come out to show love to their former teammates. Receiver Keenan Allen, running back Austin Ekeler, receiver Mike Williams, defensive end Melvin Ingram, tight end Hunter Henry, running back Darren Sproles, linebacker Shawne Merriman, and many others have shown him love.
Teammates loved playing with him, and even former running back Melvin Gordon put on Instagram that he was disappointed he wasn’t able to win a Super Bowl ring for the veteran quarterback or tight end Antonio Gates.
Rivers thanked his other teammates, which is his family, for all the support throughout the years. They were with him in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Indianapolis. After games, all of his kids would be on the field playing catch with their dad.
Finally, he says, “As my playing career comes to an end, the next chapter begins. NUNC COEPI,” which means “now I begin.” It is a motto that Rivers has followed, and he even has a hat with it. That is the hat Rivers always wears.
What is next for him?
Expect CBS, ESPN, NBC, and Fox to come to Rivers with an offer to get him on television. Everyone would love to see him commentate a game, but Rivers will likely turn them down.
Rivers announced his retirement a few hours ago, and there is already a debate sparking about whether he is a Hall of Fame quarterback or not. He is fifth all-time in yards with 63,440, also in touchdowns with 421, and 12th in passer rating with 95.2. Rivers also started for 252 consecutive games, which is second behind Brett Favre’s 297. He has the numbers.
He didn’t win a Super Bowl like his 2004 quarterback class compatriots Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning. He also played in an era where Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or Roethlisberger were in the AFC Championship from 2002-2020. He tried but came up short.
Fans and pundits will debate this for years, but Rivers will officially be eligible in 2026.
As for now, he retires from one job and will officially start another on April 1st when he officially reports as the head coach of St. Michael Catholic High School in Fairhope, Alabama.