The San Diego Chargers find themselves between a rock and a hard place. With the words of franchise quarterback Philip Rivers ringing in their ears, they know they have a choice to make.
To paraphrase, Rivers said he’s going to play out his contract, which concludes at the end of the upcoming season, and what happens next happens. He has no interest in playing in Los Angeles and he’s simply going to focus on this season. His decision to play any further for the Chargers rests on what happens with the stadium issue and relocation to Los Angeles.
What’s a front office to do?
The rumor mill has been abuzz with talk of the Chargers possibly trading Rivers to Tennessee in exchange for the number two pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, affording them the ability to draft Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota to be the new quarterback of the Chargers. Other rumors are circulating about Rivers being dealt other places and for any combination of picks and players but that’s all they are, rumors.
Would the Chargers front office really trade Philip Rivers?
We all know football is a business before all things. No player is untouchable. Anyone can and has been traded. All-time legends of the game like Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Franco Harris, Ronnie Lott, Deion Sanders, Brett Favre and countless others all saw phenomenal careers end in a jersey other than the one they were drafted in. The Chargers are well within their rights to do their due diligence in searching out options in case Rivers decides to leave if the Chargers relocate.
Obtaining Mariota with the second pick and then a game changing running back like Melvin Gordon or Todd Gurley with the 17th pick has to look attractive on many levels. It’s a hyper speed rebuild with the intent of keeping up with the Joneses (Denver) at the same time. The Chargers would be taking two of the most dominant players at their position in college football over the last four years, rolling the dice and hoping to come up roses.
Here’s the problem. They’re still rookies. It’s still too much to ask them to take on such a huge task and expect immediate results. Quarterback and running back are arguably the two most difficult positions to come in and be the day one starter. There will be growing pains. There will be flashes of brilliance some days and startling ineptitude in others until they adjust to the game at the NFL level and some gifted players coming out of college never do. Ask Johnny Manziel how easy it is to go from being a big shot quarterback in college to playing against NFL defenses.
That is the very reason San Diego should not entertain the thought of trading Philip Rivers.
Rivers is the face of the franchise. He is the Captain, the undisputed leader of the team. As he goes, the Chargers go. No team feeds off their quarterback more than San Diego. Rivers has been the consummate team player. Seemingly every offseason the Chargers revise his contract to free cap space to sign players and he does so without complaint. He’s the first man in the facility and the last to leave. Rivers is the player every man in the locker room, rookie or veteran, can look up to and draw inspiration from. Philip Rivers is the heartbeat and the soul of the Chargers and the San Diego fan base.
In the San Diego county, Rivers has made himself at home and become a pillar of the community. He is a role model. Never do you hear of him getting into trouble at the club, getting arrested, bashing media or rival players in social media or falling prey to any other trapping of success afforded to a multi-millionaire athlete. Rivers began a humble son-of-a-coach and has stayed that way. He comes with a blue collar mentality. A true grinder in every sense of the word, he shows up with the traditional lunch pail and hard hat in hand, leaves it all on the field and quietly goes home to his family at the end of the day.
If only more players would follow his example….
I feel a strong connection to Rivers on a number of levels. Being born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina I literally grew up on the N.C. State campus. I saw all of Rivers games at NCSU. There hadn’t been a successful quarterback out of N.C. State since Roman Gabriel back in the 60’s. Logically, Rivers became my favorite player and I was elated when the Chargers fleeced the New York Giants in the Eli Manning fiasco to bring Rivers to my favorite pro football team in 2004.
Few players are more fun to watch than Rivers. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He feels the way we feel sitting in the stands watching the action unfold before us. We live through him. Ironically, I have to admit, Marcus Mariota is my favorite college player since Rivers. Mariota shows the same poise, accuracy, score at any moment capability Rivers did in college. All eyes stay on him and he does not shy away from the big stage. Mariota is going to be an amazing pro and the Chargers have every right to wine and dine him and work him out. That being said, I don’t want Mariota if the cost is Philip Rivers.
It is alarming the Chargers haven’t made significant strides to assure the fan base that Rivers isn’t going anywhere. Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire. GM Tom Telesco has said he wants to do everything to make sure Rivers retires a Charger. We’re all wise to front office speak by now and what happens at the draft will speak volumes.
I will be attending the draft in person with my Rivers jersey on as it is every year on day one. A nightmare scenario will be hearing that the front office pulled the trigger and sent Rivers to Nashville. Soul crushing would be the phrase that comes to mind. I grew up a Chargers fan. I bleed Navy and Gold. I thought nothing would ever change my allegiance to the one team I hold on a pedestal above all others regardless of sport.
However, I find my faith has been shaken. I’ve honestly had to sit down and reevaluate my allegiance to the Chargers if a trade were to happen.
One man is not bigger than the team but Philip Rivers is the embodiment of the San Diego Chargers. A move like this would make me question the decision making of the front office. Franchise quarterbacks don’t grow on trees. Ask the Browns, Jets, Cardinals, Rams, Titans, Raiders how hard it is to find a quarterback you can rely on day in day out, year in year out. Once you get out of the top ten quarterbacks in the league every team remaining would give anything to have a signal caller as great as Rivers.
To trade Rivers means they have given up all hope on keeping him even if they have signed and sealed documents confirming a move to L. A. sitting on their desk. It means they’re not willing to exhaust all avenues to convince him to stay. I know a lot of this rests on Rivers shoulders also, he is not without blame in this. Philip has painted the Chargers front office into quite a corner. However, aside from Rivers himself coming out and telling the world through TV, newspaper or radio that he is asking to be traded will I be able to forgive the Chargers brass for letting him go.
What are the Lakers without Kobe? Nothing. What would the 90’s Chicago Bulls have been without Michael Jordan? Nothing. What are the Patriots without Tom Brady? Nothing. What are the Chargers without Philip Rivers?…
Would YOU remain a Chargers fan if Rivers gets traded Thursday?
After long thought on the matter I arrived at this conclusion: I have been a Chargers fan since day one and that was three and a half decades ago. The Chargers are part of who I am. I have seen them all come and go both ceremoniously and unceremoniously. I have seen good, bad and inbetween. Without the Chargers I am a man without a country sports-wise. There’s no NBA team, no baseball team, no college team aside from my Alma Mater, N.C. State, that I root for nearly as feverishly. Leaving my Chargers would be like losing a family member.
I’ve been in the trenches with this team too long. I’m past the point of no return with this team. I want my casket to be in Chargers colors and the date(s) we win the Super Bowl to be inscribed upon it. Love won’t allow me to leave but I understand more practical, less emotionally invested fans leaving the Chargers ranks over a move like this. Let’s all hope it doesn’t come to that.
The Greg One
Name: Greg Anthony Williams
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Alias(es): The Greg One, The ‘novelist’ of Boltblitz, Hootie
40-yard dash: 4.49 seconds
Hand size: 10 1/2
225-pound bench press: Nope
Vertical: I’d rather be horizontal
Sports played: Football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track and field, volleyball, tennis
Role models: Ozzy Osbourne, Philip Rivers, Sam Kinison
Biggest passions: My family, writing, acting, performing. I have had stints as a stand-up comedian, DJ, VJ, and worked in TV, movies and theater since I was 8.
You make that sound like a bad thing… -Yours truly
To BE the man, you’ve got to BEAT the man! -Ric Flair
Not everyone who wanders is lost. -Tolkien
If stuck on a desert island with only…
3 CD’s: Pearl Jam- Ten; My Chemical Romance- Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge; Slipknot- The Subliminal Verses Vol. 3
3 DVD’s: Lord Of The Rings trilogy (counts as 1); Decline Of Western Civilization Pt.2, the Metal Years, Friday
3 Books: It by Stephen King; The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien; The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
3 little known facts about me: I was a singer in a country/rock band. I was a writer for a NFL fansite called Seahawks Huddle in 2003. I won the Jane Austin Spirit Of The West film award for a student film I starred in called Sure Thing in 1996. That award is still in my former agent’s house somewhere. Haven’t seen her since. (I’ll find you yet…)
On where ‘The Greg One’ came from: High School. We all had nicknames on the student newspaper. ‘The Great One’ was currently in use by Wayne Gretzky so I thought ‘The Greg One’ was a clever spin on it. It’s close enough in sound and it feeds my ego so I kept it. I think i’m the only one who gets it though. I’m my own inside joke.
On Twitter: @LordOfTheGregs. One Greg to rule them all. One Greg to find them. One Greg to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them! You’ll find no bigger LOTR fanboy than me!
On Playstation Network: Saruman316. Representing for the PS3 owners out there! Let’s play! Currently deep into Diablo 3.
Favorite non-NFL sports/teams: NBA-Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, UFC, NCAA football/basketball- N.C. State, Duke, Florida State, Oregon, WWE
Favorite current Charger: Philip Rivers
Favorite All-Time Charger: Junior Seau
On when he became a Chargers fan: The game was rite of passage a in my house. I learned the way a lot of us did, sitting on my dad’s knee. Six years old. Dad’s drinking buddies would come over because we had the biggest TV on the block. It was a Zenith floor model TV that probably weighed 200 pounds. Amidst all the drinking and swearing the guys always tried to keep me involved. ‘Who do you want to win little man?’ They would always ask. Until I got to know who was who I always picked the winner by who had the best looking helmets. The Chargers always had the best looking helmets so they were always my favorite team with the Seahawks coming in second. Keep in mind I grew up on the East Coast. The Redskins were the default every week team and most of my family were Redskins or Cowboys fans. The Chargers were seemingly always on in the 4 pm late game. I was the one weirdo who chose a west coast team!
Greatest Chargers moment: 1994 AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That game stands out because my favorite player, Junior, was questionable to play because he had a pinched in his neck that rendered his left arm useless. Junior played. With that one good arm he had 16 tackles and dominated the game. I’ve seen no better individual performance in a game where that stakes were that high. Seau was literally a one-armed man in an ass-kicking contest, and he won!
Lowest Chargers moment: The game after Seau’s amazing performance, the Chargers lone Super Bowl appearance against San Francisco. The Chargers were boatraced by the 49ers 49-26. As soon as Jerry Rice caught that 80-yard strike over the middle with no one in the picture on the second play from scrimmage, you knew it was going to be a bad day. I held out hope that the Chargers could come back even deep in the fourth quarter (Ok, all we need is to score a touchdown, stop them, score another touchdown, onside kick, score another touchdown…) It was definitely my worst day as a Chargers fan. I knew how great the 49ers were that year but that loss still stings and it will until the Chargers do win a Super Bowl.
On Boltblitz: Dave and I both wrote for another sports site before he decided to form Boltblitz and I hold it as the highest honor that I was the first person he asked me to join him. Boltblitz has been a great part of my life. I have enjoyed meeting scores of Chargers fans at games, tailgates and local events. We share the vision of making Boltblitz the greatest Chargers website in existence and nothing will change that! Thank you all for reading through these last two years, it’s only going to get better!