I know most San Diegans do not want to read anything about the Chargers.
In fact, most don’t even want to see the lightning bolt logo on your Twitter feed. It is totally understandable.
Dean Spanos royally screwed over the city of San Diego.
While I transition to becoming a much more casual fan of the team, I understand those who want nothing to do with them. It was heartbreaking and it still hurts. It will probably hurt for a long time. Initially, I pondered the idea of becoming a Redskins fan now that I reside in Washington DC. I even bought a hat the day after they announced the move (YOU LIKE THAT DEAN?!). However, as Monday night rolled around, there was one factor that influenced me to root for the Bolts. That factor was Philip Rivers.
I came up with an idea to write him an open letter from us San Diegans thanking him for the many years he spent working to bring the city of San Diego a championship.
Like it or not, Philip Rivers is, was, and will always be enshrined in San Diego sports history.
He had nothing to do with this move and he gave it his all every Sunday for us. Therefore, this letter is intended to show our appreciation for all he did for San Diego and to reminisce on some of the best moments he had as a San Diego Charger. Finally, I hope that he comes across this letter so he knows that most San Diegans are rooting for him and that San Diego still has his back.
Dear Mr. Rivers (or as I like to call you, Philly Riv),
What a year it’s been huh? Dagum. I find it hard to put my thoughts and emotions down on paper but I guess I’ll start out by saying thank you. Thank you for being one of the best athletes San Diego has ever seen. I put you with the likes of Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman, Junior Seau, and Dan Fouts. You were our guy for the last decade. It’s sad to say that this is rare in today’s sports, but players are too often persuaded to find other teams who will better supplement their pockets. You never succumbed to that. You found a home in San Diego, raised your beautiful family, and wanted to bring this incredible city a championship. It may not seem tough to play in America’s finest city (L.A. does not even come close to San Diego) for much of your career, but just know that we fans appreciate your dedication.
There is one moment in your career that I will never forget that defines the type of person and player you are. It was the 2007-2008 season. Foxboro. The New England Patriots. AFC Title Game. There were rumors swirling of a secret surgery you underwent but nobody knew the extent of your injury until after the fact. It still baffles me that you played with a torn ACL. It just defies all medical logic. The amount of grit and toughness to make that call is uncanny. We as fans do not see that as much anymore (unless you’re JJ Watt and you play with a bone popping out of your hand – but to be fair, that dude is not a human). While we didn’t come out on top that day, I think it was one of the most defining moments of your career and I will forever have the utmost of respect for you to have the grit and courage to take on that challenge.
Another facet of your game that will forever live on in San Diego history is your passion and love for the game of football. I remember an interview you did after the Thursday Night Football game in Denver (where Keenan Allen leaped over a Denver defender for a TD) and they asked you an interesting question. They asked if you ever felt you were misunderstood. Your response, “I would’ve hoped that after 10 years, that people would’ve figured it out, I just like to play football!”. That is the kind of player everyone likes to root for and is a huge part of why many San Diegans still root for the Chargers.
That is something I would like to emphasize. Many fans were and are heartbroken that Dean decided to move the team to Los Angeles. It is hard to say goodbye to a team you have loved your whole life. However, it is even more difficult to stop rooting for a team that has players like you. People can say they are rooting against the Chargers, but I am certain most respect the type of player you are and hope you do succeed for however long you continue to play the game.
It is easy to root for a player who has put up the kind of numbers you have over the years, however that is not the only reason San Diego loves you. The way you carry yourself off the field exemplifies how every NFL player should conduct themselves. No drama. No issues. Exactly how it should be. Last, but certainly not least, you are accountable for every single mistake made throughout your career. Never once did you place the blame on the shoulders of anyone else but your own. Even when your offensive line is different every week, the answer to a question regarding a sack or interception is always, “I have to make that throw”. We as fans just do not see that kind of authenticity as much anymore. It is appreciated more than you will ever know.
I can honestly say that you are one of my favorite athletes of all time for all the reasons mentioned above and many more. The NFL and the Chargers organization are incredibly blessed to have a player like you. While we now root for you from afar, San Diego is going to miss you slinging the pigskin around the Q, tearing up defenses, yelling at referees, clapping at your center to snap the ball when the play clock hits one, and most of all, we are going to miss having one of the most respectable athletes in all of sports represent our city.
We wish you nothing but the best Philip. You truly are a class act.
Thank you from all of San Diego.