INDIANAPOLIS – Some Colts fans do not need a reminder of the fire Philip Rivers plays with, and his willingness to show that passion.
It was in January 2008—the final game ever inside of the RCA Dome—when Rivers ran his mouth to the home faithful as his Chargers capped a 28-24 Divisional Round upset of the Colts.
That scene is still fresh in many Colts fans minds. And for what it’s worth, Rivers is a very impressive 6-2 all-time against the Colts, including 2-0 in the postseason.
But the old saying of ‘you hate to play against him, but would love him on your team’ has to apply for Colts fans in 2020.
To say all athletes are competitive to some degree is obviously true, but Rivers takes it to another level.
Former Chargers center Nick Hardwick, Rivers’ teammate from 2004-14 (and an Indianapolis native), shared this to The Athletic on how wired the new Colts quarterback is when it comes to preparing.
“He spends more time, he spends more effort, more mental thought, more planning, more preparation, he goes above and beyond anything you could imagine,” Hardwick told The Athletic.
“He said it before at a press conference, ‘Everybody has a different-sized cup of how much they care, but everybody’s cup is full on the team.’ He said it in a really nice way, but everybody’s cup is a different size. Well, Philip’s got not only a cup, he’s got a pool, a swimming pool’s worth of care in his body.”
Competitive spirit is one thing, but there’s also an edge to how Rivers plays the quarterback position.
Saying Rivers is more of a competitor than the guy he’s taking over for would be unfair.
But one major difference between the playing style of Jacoby Brissett and Rivers comes from the latter’s willingness to take more chances.
Of course, that’s a double-edge sword.
While Rivers did have a higher interception rate than Brissett (3.4 percent compared to 1.3 percent) last season, the yards per attempt was in the veteran’s favor (7.8 YPA compared to 6.6). The Chargers also had 57 pass plays of at least 20 yards last year, while the Colts had 38.
The gunslinger mindset comes with the good, and the bad, and undoubtedly leads to entertaining fourth quarters.
In a new environment, the Colts feel they can reign that turnover number in a bit.
The passion though?
It’s not stopping, and that’s probably a good thing considering what Chris Ballard wants moving forward.
“There’s got to be a little more friction within it and pure accountability, and they have to be willing to challenge each other,” the GM said back in January.
Well, this new quarterback is going to bring that, and a little more.