Philip Rivers will mimic most of his North County neighbors for the Super Bowl. He’ll grab the TV remote, plop into his favorite chair and tune in.
“Yeah,” Rivers said, “at the house.”
It’s that same residence around one of those leafy Rancho Santa Fe curves that had the lights on most early mornings. Rivers wanted to stay connected to North County, and despite the Chargers moving from San Diego to the Los Angeles region, he commuted to work.
The choice of uprooting his still-growing family to the north side of San Diego’s border was as appealing to Rivers as a covered receiver.
The Chargers ditched San Diego but “QB Dad” wasn’t leaving the area. No way he was uprooting eight and soon-to-be nine children, especially after all the hard work he had contributed to the team.
The Chargers? Well, them, too.
But it’s his son’s youth football squad which will soon get Rivers undivided attention.
“You know what’s neat about it is their season is going on when ours isn’t,” Rivers said. “It works out perfect.”
That blueprint to beat the New England Patriots? It was off-kilter from the get-go. The Chargers fell in Sunday’s AFC divisional round, 41-28, and it was a movie Bolts fans have seen time and again.
But even if it was a rerun, it drew nearly a 30 rating in these parts. It was must-see TV although many already knew how it would likely end.
Rivers had lost to the Patriots’ Tom Brady the previous seven times and, by golly, Rivers hopes eight is enough.
That is if Rivers gets another shot at Brady. That was what made Sunday’s pairing so meaningful and heartbreaking. Brady beat Rivers in the 2007 AFC Championship Game and it took this long for them to square off once again in the postseason.
Brady has done his part but it was only Rivers’ second playoff appearance in nine years.
“I think it’s easy to say in the heat of the moment, ‘Hey, we’ll be back and we’ll get it done next year,”’ Rivers said. “Let’s not forget how hard it was to get here.”
With age comes wisdom and after recently turning 37 Rivers has both. He’s also coming off a solid season in which he threw for 32 touchdowns with 12 interceptions and tied his career-high quarterback rating.
The arrow points up for the Chargers in going from 9-7 to 12-4. But Rivers can finger the calendar, contemplating if there is a next time.
“It’s a long journey,” Rivers said after his 15th season ended with a thud.
He knows all about treks, after making a season’s worth from North County. But coach Anthony Lynn said Rivers is keen driving his offense.
“(He) can play for a couple more years — maybe more,” Lynn said.
Maybe some recall Rivers’ first two years when his duties were writing legibly on a chart and giving starter Drew Brees encouragement. Brees, of course, went to New Orleans to achieve his athletic glory although his main residence remains in Del Mar.
Brees’ Saints face the LA Rams on Sunday and if New Orleans prevails, guess whose mug Rivers will be watching from his easy chair on Super Bowl Sunday?
Yep, they call him the Brees, and for after the game?
“You get up,” Rivers said, “and start again.”
Contact Jay Paris at email@example.com. Follow him @jparis_sports
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow Jay on Twitter @jparis_sports