Philip Rivers started 240 consecutive games from 2006-2020 — with the first 14 of those seasons coming for the Chargers before one season with the Colts.
It looks as though his 2020 season will be the end of a very good career. On Wednesday, he announced his retirement — doing it via the San Diego Union-Tribune, the newspaper of record in the city in which he played the longest, instead of a national outlet.
He's off to coach high school football in Alabama. But first, he delivered a very Brett Favre-esque quote:
"I can sit here and say, 'I can still throw it. I love to play,' " Rivers said. "But that's always going to be there. I'm excited to go coach high school football."
I was already thinking this, but that quote cemented it: Under different circumstances, Rivers would have been the quintessential Vikings quarterback in 2020.
The Vikings of course had Kirk Cousins — a QB who, it should be known, is on a similar career arc to Rivers and who has spoke admiringly of Rivers in the past. I'm not suggesting Rivers would have been better than Cousins this season.
But imagine if the Vikings had made a different QB choice after the 2017 season and had arrived at 2020 without a long-term solution and feeling like they were a QB away from true contention.
In the Vikings tradition of Warren Moon (signed in 1994), Randall Cunningham (incredible season in 1998) and of course Brett Favre (2009), Rivers would have been that accomplished veteran looking for one more chance at glory with a new team.
The fit would have been perfect with the Vikings — as it was with the Colts. Rivers went 5-11 in 2019 with the Chargers; the Colts went 7-9 that season. Together this year they went 11-5, made the playoffs and put a good scare in Buffalo before falling in the wild card round.
Rivers this season topped 4,000 yards passing for the 12th time in his career. He threw 24 touchdowns with 11 interceptions — not an MVP-caliber year, but then again he didn't have Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook around him.
Even more perfect: He would have left the Vikings on a relative high note after just the one season if he followed the same play book as with the Colts — sparing them the dramatic drop-off that Cunningham (benched in 1999) and Favre (2010) experienced the season after their charmed resurgences with the Vikings.
In an alternate timeline, Rivers would have been that once-a-decade Vikings veteran.