Phil is not a team leader. He is THE leader.
Rivers’ longest-serving predecessor in San Diego, Hall of Famer QB Dan Fouts, usually wore in practice a faded ball cap that said. “M.F.I.C.” The last two letters stand for “In Charge”. You can guess what the first two letters meant. Perhaps “Mr. Fouts”?
Rivers doesn’t need the hat. Players know who he is. Y’all can hear Big Daddy coming. But Rivers is not a tin god, nor a bully, nor a prima donna. He’s a football player who respects the game.
There is a secret to Rivers’ leadership: it is humility. Every season, on Rivers’ teams all 53 players down to the practice squad, experience his honesty, respectfulness, passion to excel, and unapologetic boyish enthusiasm.
Borrowing from the irreplaceable Peyton Manning’s nickname, Rivers is the new sheriff in town. He will flash the badge, and even the gun when necessary. Players new to the team, HIS team now, may walk to a huddle in early practice, or run the wrong route, or ignore that a coach is talking.
But they won’t make that mistake again.
The teammates that love Philip Rivers are the kinds of players that love winning enough to love practice, and the gym, and the playbook. You cannot love excellence unless you love execution. Players like Dwight Freeney, who was a teammate for two years in San Diego, and who praised Rivers as a “cornerstone player”, loved him. In other words, the kinds of players who respond to Phil are the kinds of players you expect to have on the Colts.