Philip Rivers’ trash talk would be Disney-approved.
The Los Angeles Chargers quarterback has mastered a strange form of clean trash talk. Seriously, the quarterback’s chirping, whether directed at an opponent or an official, could make it’s way into children’s movies.
Rivers, a devout Christian, doesn’t curse. But the man doesn’t have an apathetic bone in his body. When he’s competing, he’s got an active mouth. His body language is loud. At the same time, he’s respectful as an angry football player can be.
“The best way I can describe it is it’s typical banter and back and forth like you’d have with your brothers in a pickup game at Thanksgiving,” he said this week during a conference call. “It doesn’t get much worse than that. I’m like that when we’re on the practice field amongst our guys during training camp. I really just enjoy to play, play with the same passion that I did when I was 10 years old in the backyard in Alabama. I just kind of kept at it. That’s when I’m at my best. Certainly there’s a fine line between making sure you take care of your business and do your job and then also enjoying a little bit of the game within a game.
But there’s a problem with PG trash talk. It draws more laughs than ire.
“I’m sure as many would tell you, it’s probably laughable,” Rivers conceded.
Rivers’ will yell and scream at an opponent. He’ll appeal avidly toward an official’s decision. The “golly” and “gee willikers” count gets up there. So do the laughs, which can rearrange preconceived notions about Rivers.
“I think when I first signed with the Chargers, my perception of Philip Rivers was very much so the rest of the country either has or had, which was that — the facial expressions, the trash talk, the whining to referee — maybe this guy was kind of arrogant,” said Rich Ohrnberger, a former San Diego Chargers offensive lineman and current analyst on XTRA 1360 in San Diego.
“I couldn’t have been more wrong. During my playing career, Philip Rivers is probably one of the nicest, probably the nicest player I’ve played with. He’s a genuine person. He just has this energy. And on game day and in practice, it just comes out as this ridiculous, clean trash talking, where there’s a lot of, ‘daw-gone.’ There’s a lot of, ‘Golly.’ I mean it’s hysterical to hear him on a roll. They should mic him up every game, because he doesn’t curse. … I’ve never heard so many players with as many ‘gee willikers’ as he has.”
That means the Patriots defenders, some of which have heard of Rivers’ sterile approach, should prepare themselves for a unique distraction. In between plays, they may hear hooting and hollering from Rivers. And they might find themselves cracking up more often than being offended.