At this time last year, Philip Rivers was calling audibles and slinging the ball around for one final season in the NFL with the Colts after nine Pro Bowl appearances and record setting career as the quarterback for the Chargers from 2004-19.
During that final season in Indianapolis, Rivers accepted the opportunity to be the head coach at St. Michael's Catholic (AL) as soon as he decided to hang up his cleats. When he retired following the 2020 season, Rivers stepped into his role as a head high school football coach. Rivers, like most of us, had some of his favorite memories of football from his time as a high school athlete.
Last night, Rivers made his much-anticipated head coaching debut and won in a 49-0 rout of McIntosh HS (AL) and afterwards had some great thoughts to share about how there's nothing out there like high school football.
“After playing 50 something college games and 250 something NFL games...those Thursday and Friday nights in high school, being around it at Decatur High growing up and playing, they are some of my favorite memories. They are in the top 10. I can think of a handful right now. It’s awesome."
"I’m trying to remind these kids of that because most of them aren’t going to play beyond high school football. We have a handful that can play at the next level and want to, and I want them to want to. But I also want them to appreciate experiences like this. You won a football game. Be excited. It’s awesome, and I’m enjoying the heck out of it.”
Rivers expanded on those feelings in a piece by AL.com, where he shared how moved he was by looking around and having his family there.
“I’m looking over and Dad is standing on the track. Mom is in the stands. My boys are spotting the ball. My brother is here coaching. I have nephews and daughters and nieces running around. It was that kind of night, just thinking ‘Wow, what has happened in 25 years.’ Then it was really all about the boys. I told them I was excited to watch them play, and I really was. They had a different approach than they did last week because they knew it would count.”
See Rivers rave about high school football after that first win leading a team in the clip.