A Look Back on the Career of Philip Rivers



“Philip Rivers” by Brook-Ward is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Gage Mills

   After spending 17 years in the NFL, manning the quarterback position for two teams, Philip Rivers is retiring from football. 

   Rivers spent 16 seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers before signing with the Indianapolis Colts last offseason. While he never reached the Super Bowl or received the honor of being named league MVP, he still boasts a remarkable resume and will go down as one of the most prolific quarterbacks of all time. He is currently sitting at fifth all-time in both career passing yards and touchdown passes (63,440 yards and 421 touchdowns respectively), only behind the likes of Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre, who are all considered some of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. He has made the Pro Bowl eight times, played in 12 playoff games, and has not missed a regular season game for the past 15 years. 

   Along with his incredible efficiency and his number of prolific seasons, Rivers also became a namesake of the NFL in part due to his unorthodox throwing style. When watching Rivers play, his throwing motion is unlike any other professional quarterback; it looks almost as if he is shoving the ball rather than cocking his arm back and throwing it — this is due to his childhood, in which he had to throw a regulation sized football despite his hands being too small to grip it.    

   However, when asked on NFL Total Access whether or not he would tweak his throwing motion, he said that he would “stick with what got me here,” and that “I’ve tweaked things here and there […] but it doesn’t really matter what it looks like, as long as it’s getting to the right guy.”

   Rivers is also notorious for his affinity for trash talking without cussing. “Rivers might be the funniest trash talker ever,” said Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu via Twitter. 

   Behind the flurry of his iconic PG-rated phrases and insults, however, is his competitive spirit that kept him playing for such a long career. “That’s the energy that Phil brings and that’s why our huddles were so electric,” said former Chargers lineman Marcus McNeill in an interview with Fox Sports.

   Rivers spent this past season in Indianapolis in what was a surprise free-agent signing for the Colts. Coming off the heels of former Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s shocking decision to retire after just six seasons in the NFL, Indianapolis began searching for someone new to man the offense — it just so happened that the veteran Rivers did not reach an agreement with the Chargers and needed somewhere to play, resulting in a one year , $25 million deal between Rivers and the Colts. 

   Rivers was able to adapt quickly to the new organization and led the Colts to an 11-5 record, earning a spot in the playoffs where they were knocked out in the Wild Card round by Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. Despite this disappointing end, Rivers enjoyed much success during the regular season, which has many fans debating whether or not now is the right time to retire, or if he has a couple more seasons in him. 

   When asked this in an interview with the Union-Tribune, Rivers responded with “I can sit here and say, ‘I can still throw it, I love to play,’ but that’s always going to be there. I’m excited to go coach high school football,” essentially declaring that while his body is still capable, he is ready to move on to the next chapter of his life.