I never thought it would happen.
I never thought it could happen.
When Philip Rivers arrived in Indianapolis, he was a quarterback. But he wasn’t my quarterback.
He was a Charger in a Colts uniform.
He was the guy who always seemed to beat the Colts in big games – even when they had the better team.
He was the guy with the fiery attitude on the field, who I always heard was a really nice guy off the field.
It took weeks for Rivers to start to feel like a Colt and it took even longer for him to feel like my quarterback.
But once he did, there was no looking back.
Suddenly, his fiery demeanor didn’t rub me the wrong way – if anything, it fired me up. And it seemed to do the same for his teammates.
Suddenly, his clean-mouthed trash talk wasn’t annoying – it was part of his charm.
Suddenly, Philip Rivers wasn’t the quarterback I hated. He was the quarterback I loved.
Then, I realized something else – I hadn’t thought about Andrew Luck at all.
Not what he was doing.
Not what he was thinking.
Not even what the Colts would look like with this running game, this defense, this offensive line, and him lined up behind it.
I know it sounds a little pathetic, but let’s be honest. When Andrew Luck walked away, he took the hopes and dreams for the future of our team with him – at least for a while.
When Philip Rivers put on a Colts jersey and stepped on the field, he did something much bigger than throw touchdown passes.
In his competitive, folksy, trash-talking way, Philip Rivers made us believe again.
And for that, I’ll always be grateful.
Thank you, Philip Rivers, for demonstrating what it means to be a professional. For being the most competitive guy on the field every week. For never giving up. For instilling your fire in everyone around you. And for playing your heart out week after week.
As you begin the next chapter of your football career as a high school coach, I can’t imagine a better person to inspire the next generation of players – just as you did our team, our fans, and our city.
Though your chapter in Indianapolis was short, your legacy reaches far and wide.
Philip Rivers is my quarterback.
And now, he’ll always be my quarterback.
Good luck. God bless. And Godspeed.