Philip Rivers Officially Began His New Football Journey With a Smile and a Victory

As he’s done for over two decades, longtime NFL quarterback Philip Rivers is enjoying the start of a new football season.

The difference? After 17 NFL seasons, Rivers — who retired earlier this year after his lone season with the Indianapolis Colts — is on the sidelines as a high school football coach this fall.

Philip Rivers won his first game as a high school football coach

Even before he retired, Rivers knew what he wanted to do in a post-football life. In March 2020, St. Michael Catholic High School in Fairhope, Ala. announced the eight-time Pro Bowler would become its head football coach upon retiring.

When Rivers retired earlier this year, he immediately transitioned into his new life. St. Michael Catholic opened in 2016 and has not yet sent any players to the NFL.

It’s too early to know if that will change with Rivers leading the way, but things are at least off to an ideal start. The Cardinals routed McIntosh High, 49-0, on Thursday, Aug. 27. St. Michael Catholic led 42-0 at halftime.

The victory was only the sixth in St. Michael Catholic’s short history. The Los Angeles Chargers legend inherited a team that went 5-25 over its last three varsity seasons.

Rivers has embraced the challenge of taking over a small program

Football fans are used to the sight of Rivers wearing a cap and headset on the sidelines. It’s the lack of a stained jersey that will take some getting used to, especially for those who grew up watching him sling touchdowns each week.

What he’ll experience on the sidelines at St. Michael Catholic will be much different compared to the Sundays he spent in packed NFL stadiums. Rivers, the son of a high school football coach, is taking everything in stride and doesn’t want to rush results.

When he spoke with reporters following his team’s victory, Rivers shared he still looks back fondly on some of his own high school football memories and moments. The retired quarterback said he wants his own players, many of whom haven’t tasted victory too often, to eventually feel the same way.

“I’m trying to remind these kids of that so they embrace it because most of these kids [won’t play] beyond high school football. We’ve got a handful that’ll play at the next level, and that want to, and I want them to want to, but I also want them to appreciate experiences like this.”

Philip Rivers

In order to build a championship program and culture, Rivers recruited some familiar faces. His brother, Stephen, is an assistant coach. Elsewhere on the field, the veteran quarterback’s sons are serving as ball-spotters.

Will we see Rivers play in the NFL again?

Right now, Rivers’ focus is solely on turning St. Michael Catholic’s football team into a reputable program. However, don’t be surprised if the idea of him returning to the NFL keeps appearing on social media.

Rivers admitted earlier this summer that he hasn’t entirely ruled out an NFL comeback. It’s worth noting that St. Michael’s regular season is scheduled to end on Friday, October 29. If the Cardinals don’t play in the postseason, the 39-year-old could potentially sign with a team in early November and spend over two months with them.

There’s a level of precedence to such a comeback. Josh McCown coached quarterbacks for his son’s high school team in Charlotte in 2019 while also serving as an emergency quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.

If Rivers does play in the NFL this season, it certainly sounds like a group of young men in Alabama will cheer him on each Sunday. Whether or not they’ve already drafted him for their fantasy football team, however, is to be determined.

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