Rivers Can't Get His Phil of Dad~~new article

  • Welcome to America's Finest Sports Forum and Podcast!

    afsportsforum.com is one of the largest online communities covering San Diego sports. We host a regular podcast during the major seasons. You are currently viewing our community forums as a guest user.

    Sign Up or

    Having an account grants you additional privileges, such as creating and participating in discussions. Furthermore, we hide most of the ads once you register as a member!


Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2006
Borrowed from another board:

~~~~~~~~~~~~Originally Posted by Boltaction
Happy Father's day to all!


Rivers can't get his Phil of dad

By: JAY PARIS - Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO ---- The school bus brakes at its usual spot, the double doors creaking open and depositing an unusual rider.

The stop was Alabama's Decatur High, an exit first-grade students usually don't utilize.

Except for one ---- future Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

While other tykes headed home after school, Rivers went to his second home: the Decatur Red Raiders' practice field. That's where his dad, Steve, was the longtime football coach and apple of Philip's eye.

The pint-sized Philip preferred hanging with dad to playing with friends. He chose being a gopher rather than chasing them. He'd rather skedaddle after wayward footballs, distribute towels and absorb locker-room chatter than master marbles or swap baseball cards.

"I can remember some of them times like they were yesterday,'' Philip said. "Some of the best ones were during the games when I was on one end of the sidelines, telling my dad what yard-line we were on. Whatever I could do to be involved.''

Oh, he was involved. Every time the Red Raiders broke down game film, there was the coach's son, analyzing officials' calls and in the thick of every critical decision.

"I'd be right there between the refs, finding out what the penalties were,'' he said. "I wanted to let the coaches know.''

Those recollections bring a chuckle from Steve, a prep coach for 33 years.

"He loved it and took it real serious,'' Steve said, from his Decatur home. "Every time you would look at the officials, Philip would be right in the middle of it, saying if it was a holding penalty or a face-mask.''

Good luck masking the affection flowing from these Rivers.

It's Father's Day, so Philip will dial home. But his cell minutes show a connection to dad every day.

"He's the first person I call after practice,'' Philip said. "I'll say, 'We ran this play or you should have seen (Steve) Foley cutting up in stretching.' He gets a kick out of those stories and I enjoy passing them along ---- it is never ending.''

The beginning of sharing a gridiron with dad couldn't come fast enough for Philip. He longed to be near the man idolized in Decatur for being a top-notch coach and top-rate man.

"Watching him as a kid and the way his players respected him and listened to him ---- he was so real and personable to everybody,'' Philip said. "Players still call him today ---- they are in their 30s ---- just to say hello. That shows you what he meant to them.''

He means the world to Philip. There's a sense of joy, caring and reverence in Philip's eyes when speaking of Steve.

"I'm biased because I'm his son, but I could tell how fun he was to play for and how passionate he was about it,'' he said. "It wasn't just a football game and you weren't just a tight end. He was deeper than that; he made it fun and loved his players. Seeing that when growing up is why I couldn't wait to be one of his players."

So he started in first grade ---- thanks to that school bus stop ---- as a ball boy.

As a 10th-grader, he played quarterback and linebacker for Steve, who had moved to nearby Athens High.

"I loved him because he was my dad,'' Philip said. "But the fact was I knew how much fun it was going to be, knowing he was going to be my coach ---- that was awesome.''

Philip, Steve and Joan Rivers' eldest offspring ---- there's also Stephen, 13, and Anna 8 ---- was pretty swell, too.

If Philip wasn't the best-mannered kid around town, he was on a list that didn't take long to rattle off.

"I just tried to tell him to do things the right way in whatever you have a passion for,'' Steve, 57, said. "Whatever you decide to do, do it the right way. That sounds simple, but that's what I told him.

"Philip's biggest asset to me is he's mature beyond his years and he does things the right way. That's not to say he doesn't make mistakes and that he's perfect. But he's a good guy and he respects other people.''

There's no short-changing the admiration Philip shows the man who matters most.

Check out his No. 17 Chargers jersey ---- that was dad's football number in a career which took him to Mississippi State.

Or peel through Philip's wedding pictures. While it's a chore looking past his beautiful bride, Tiffany, observe Philip's best man ---- it's Steve.

"Obviously, I think Tiffany is my best friend,'' Philip said. "But other than that, he is it.

"I had a bunch of good buddies in high school and some good friends in college. But there was never a doubt he would be my best man. It's hard to describe, but it wasn't like it was a hard decision. There was just no question about it.''

Philip doesn't doubt the manner in which he was raised. He repeats familiar passages to his two young daughters, ones Steve told him years ago.

"I find myself doing the same stuff as my dad,'' said Philip, who any day becomes the father of a third daughter. "Those little things mean more to me now that I have kids. When I tuck Halle into bed, I tell her I will come back and check on her. I remember him saying the same thing to me.''

Wouldn't it be keen to have Philip's NFL checks to supply an extraordinary Father's Day goodie? Sorry, but Philip supplies what he does every day: a meaningful phone call.

"I have been fortunate enough to have a lot of money but that hasn't changed what my parents appreciate,'' Philip said. "My mom will say she just wants a card or an e-mail and my dad is the same way. Money hasn't changed our relationship or anything, and I think that is cool.''

Philip anticipated playing for his dad for so long, it was difficult comprehending when their time expired. It was after Philip's senior team had lost to Gadsden in the playoff's quarterfinals.

Steve made a final lap around the locker room, picking up Gatorade bottles and spent tape. He spotted the last player sitting by his cubicle, alone in his thoughts but aching for some company.

From his dad.

"All of a sudden all those years of being together on the sidelines, and in one second it was over,'' Steve said. "We both knew it was over and we said our 'I love yous' and hugged. We both hated for it to be over ---- I'm getting kind of mushy but that's when it really, really hit us.''

Added Philip: "You look forward to it since you were 5-6 years old and then it just hits you. I had waited forever for it. It was so much fun and special, and it was gone.''

But that bond they share ---- football is but a part of it ---- never dissipated.

"A lot of what we talk about derives from football,'' Philip said. "But at the same time, whatever it may be, I just call him and talk about whatever. That is what it makes it so neat.''

Okay, so I'm sitting here wiping the tears off my face...but I just wanted to say HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to my own husband, my wonderful Daddy, to Philip, to Coach Rivers and to all you men out there in Charger land!!!

And to anyone who would doubt the sincerity of this writer's article, all I can tell you, is all you had to do is watch these two men, father and son, interact with each other, on the field and off the field to know it is absolutely 100% just the way they are. And to see Philip with Halle, it was always completely pure joy, she was the only child at the time and it was clear that she was the love of his life. The writer hit it dead on.

  • Like
Reactions: Johnny Lightning


Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2006
WonderSlug said:
Yeah. And on this forum, there will be no one complaining about it. :icon_mrgreen:

...........On a serious note: Hey Teresa......good post and I wish the very best for your father. Our prayers are with 'yall for a speedy recovery.

Gods speed !!!



Well-Known Member
Feb 14, 2006
Teresa - If you are comfortable with giving out phone numbers, if your dad is in a hospital, PM me his number so we can call him (if that is OK)?

The nurses could at least deliver a "get well message" if not in person via telephone.

Sometimes just the gesture the boards are praying is enough - your call.