Philip Rivers would love nothing more than to be on the field in 2020, bringing in a new era when the Los Angeles Chargers play in their newly-constructed $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood.
But three years are an eternity for a 35-year-old quarterback on the back end of his career. It could only be a matter of time before the Chargers move on to some other hot-shot signal caller with a baby face and significantly less mileage under his belt. That’s the name of the business in the NFL. Players continue to play for as a long as the typically short football window allows before they are eventually replaced by younger talent. It’s the league’s own version of the circle of life.
Rivers might be nearing his end, but he doesn’t plan on walking off into the sunset for at least another three years. When speaking to ESPN’s Eric D. Williams, the six-time Pro Bowl quarterback said he hoped to still be playing for the Chargers in 2020.
Whether that’s a reality remains to be seen.
“I hope to still be playing football in 2020, and certainly I hope I’m still playing here,” said Rivers. “So yeah, I hope to get to see that stadium then. That’s a long way out. I’ve learned to just take them one year at a time and one game at a time at this point. I’m certainly thankful I’ve been able to be out there for all of them since 2006. I don’t take that for granted. And hopefully I’m still playing well enough and we’ve won enough football games that I will be able to trot out there in 2020 in that new stadium.”
Just winning enough has helped Rivers keep his job for the last 13 years. It wouldn’t be any surprise if he’s still slinging the ball at 39 years old, or even 40.
The difficulty of finding and developing talent at the quarterback position is the reason why players are sticking around longer and being overpaid at the position. Despite being one of the more prolific passers in the NFL, Rivers has never led his team to a Super Bowl. With him behind center, the Chargers haven’t gotten any closer than a loss in the 2007 AFC Championship Game to the New England Patriots.
That’s a long time to still have a job as a starting quarterback for the same team without at least one Super Bowl appearance. The Chargers have rationalized their continued belief in Rivers with the elite statistics he perennially puts up in a season. He has thrown for over 4,000 passing yards in the last four seasons, despite the Chargers missing the playoffs in six of their last seven.
The AFC West is also becoming more difficult to thrive in with the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos all making a perennial playoff push.
The day is coming when the front office will have to hit the reboot button on the Chargers. It might come in a draft or a blockbuster trade for some other team’s quarterback. Rivers is playing against Father Time and Lady Luck—two abstract beings holding the key to his NFL future.
- When and where is Los Angeles Chargers training camp?
- 3 key training camp battles to watch for Chargers