Philip Rivers: A Born Winner

Much has already been written the past 2 weeks in multiple media outlets detailing Philip Rivers’ statistically superb season. But not much has ever been written about what he’s like off the field, aside from being a family man. Here, we’ll take a look into his off the field leadership and how it parallels with his on the field performance.

The voice of the 60-year-old coach was weary. Almost resigned. "Thirty-three years I've been doing this," San Diego special teams coach Steve Crosby said. "In this one year I've had more things go wrong than in all those other years combined. Guys doing things I've never seen before."

Crosby laughed a bitter laugh. "Disturbing," he said finally. "Just ... well, disturbing. I mean, we've missed blocks that Ray Charles could have made. And if you think those plays don't cost you games, you're not watching football now."

Fortunately, those plays didn’t cost the Chargers in the games against the Titans or Texans. And there’s one reason: Philip Rivers. I’ve been waiting to beat the Philip Rivers drum all season and the time has come.

Having the extreme pleasure of watching Philip Rivers in person all 4 years of college, I grew to love his game.

It was probably my second week on campus. Heading to the computer lab, I rounded the corner in the short-ceilinged basement of the Management building at N.C. State. Up ahead, there was a guy in a t-shirt, cargo shorts, and a baseball hat. The size of his back made the Eastpak bookbag he was wearing look like a Dora The Explorer lunch bag. It was Philip Rivers.

The buzz was already building about the skills and prospects of Philip. Not a highly sought after recruit, but thought of well enough that Chuck Amato, the new N.C. State coach, left Florida State immediately after winning the National Championship and went to visit him in Alabama.

Philip and I had several classes together, big and small. He would usually slip in just as the class was about to start. We chatted cordially in every class, but I never wanted to be “that guy”, so I didn’t bother him much. He would see me on campus, say hey, call me by name, and continue on his way.

This is a guy that I loved to watch play football. N.C. State had floundered as a football program for 4 decades. He gave it life. I watched him lead multiple fourth quarter comebacks, beat Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl, come painstakingly close to beating Ohio State on the road in overtime, and make many other memorable plays on the football field; contributing to some of my fondest college memories. But I also watched him take notes in class, fill out Scantron sheets for tests, and something else that made an indelible impression on me.

For Marketing Research class the first semester of our senior year, we had to do a group project. It basically consisted of a Presentation with some other data reporting using Excel. My group agrees to meet in the computer lab after lunch on a Sunday. Mind you, this is during the football season. I scurry in to the computer lab, the same one I was heading to when I first saw Rivers my freshman year. The first sight I see is Philip Rivers, at the computer, entering in information as his three other group members all sit around him.

At 1pm on a Sunday after a Saturday football game, a Heisman Trophy candidate, a father, a guy who knows he’s going to be a multi-millionaire in 8 months is sitting at a computer leading a group project for school.

I loved the man’s game all along. I respected the man from then on.

November 18, 2010

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