Colts fans should appreciate Philip Rivers’ one-year stint a lot more than they do

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 13: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 13: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images) /

Regardless of your opinion of Philip Rivers, he helped the Indianapolis Colts on their current journey to re-establish themselves as contenders.

Indy has largely been lost since 2015, and Andrew Luck’s retirement moments before the 2019 season really could’ve put the franchise on the highway to hell.

Instead, the front office and coaching staff remained strong, weathered that campaign as best they could, and brought in Rivers for a 2020 season in which a number of other pieces were taking the next step or needed guidance from an influential voice.

Rivers was that guy. He accepted responsibility for his shortcomings. He learned the playbook quickly and executed admirably in a new system with completely new personnel for the first time in 16 years. He held his teammates accountable and facilitated communication during a time when that was perhaps the most essential characteristic the team needed.

Perhaps Rivers’ lone year with Indianapolis should be more appreciated than it is, and especially over time.

Former Colts QB Philip Rivers won the PFWA Writers’ Good Guy Award.

Not only that, but Rivers was a gem with the media during a trying year clouded by a global pandemic, which prevented reporters’ access to the locker room and face-to-face interaction. Whether you dislike media coverage of athletes or not, I think we can all agree Zoom meetings and Google Hangouts aren’t the way to go. It’s frightening to think that could be the future.

Even with that limitation, however, Rivers made sure to make himself available and deliver the most personable/relatable conversations. You remember all those postgame interviews. And that unforgettable one when he told the media that he was reading all of their critical articles of him after one of his poor performances. He wanted to know what he was doing wrong!

The curtain was pulled back. It was the most candid the Colts had been in years, and it came when we needed things to be a bit more humanized.

Rivers even went out on a high note with the media. When he ultimately decided to retire and coach high school football in Alabama, he gave the story to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune — a reporter whom he developed a close relationship with during his time with the SD/LA Chargers.

While the 17-year veteran only spent one year in Indianapolis, it was a memorable one that helped bring this roster together. He bridged the gap to the next era of Colts football, which will now be in Carson Wentz’s hands. He brought Indy’s offense to life, helped young guys like Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr. establish themselves in the pros early on, and put the team back on the map with a playoff appearance, despite the season ending abruptly in the first round.

Rivers’ stay may have been brief, but it should be viewed as one of the most important season in recent Colts history.