NFL great Phillip Rivers, now St. Michael football coach, inducted into Senior Bowl Hall of Fame

St. Michael Catholic Head Football Coach living his dream in footsteps of father

By Cole McNanna
Sports Editor
cole@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 6/27/22

POINT CLEAR – St. Michael Catholic Head Football Coach Philip Rivers was honored alongside other NFL legends as he was inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame Sunday night, June 26, at the Grand Hotel Golf Club & Spa.

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NFL great Phillip Rivers, now St. Michael football coach, inducted into Senior Bowl Hall of Fame

St. Michael Catholic Head Football Coach living his dream in footsteps of father

Posted

POINT CLEAR – St. Michael Catholic Head Football Coach Philip Rivers was honored alongside other NFL legends as he was inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame Sunday night, June 26, at the Grand Hotel Golf Club & Spa.

Kevin Faulk, Patrick Willis, Von Miller and Dak Prescott joined Rivers in creating the 33rd Hall of Fame class for the college football senior all-star game established in 1988. Creed Humphrey – the Senior Bowl Rookie of the Year for the 2021 season – was also recognized at the ceremony.

Although Rivers said it took a while for his Cardinal football players to see him as just their coach and not an NFL legend, who was also recently inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, St. Michael Catholic’s second-year head coach is now being asked for more pictures by opposing players.

“I do think it took a little bit of time to just be ‘Coach,’ but I think the big thing is that for the most part down here, this is college football country,” Rivers said before the ceremony. “Running into a former Alabama quarterback or an Auburn quarterback is a bigger deal than an NFL guy but it’s good and I like it that way because the quicker I can become just their coach (the better). They get a kick out of seeing other team’s players come up asking me for a picture.”

Now living and coaching in the city that he was not only being honored in last Sunday but also where he practiced during the Senior Bowl, Rivers acknowledged the full-circle moment.

“I reflect back on eighteen years ago being here for the Senior Bowl and it’s good to see the guys getting inducted, some of the previous guys inducted, some guys that had big-time careers and some that are still playing, so it’s a great group to be a part of,” Rivers said. “It’s even more special for me now living here, back in what is my new hometown, coaching football games there at Fairhope Stadium right there on Volanta where we practiced on the South team in 2004.”

He also said with one son climbing the ranks as a quarterback and another son serving as the ball boy, there’s a little bit of déjà vu.

“I grew up on the northern side of the state but being back in Alabama certainly feels like home and I enjoy coaching and being with these young men and all the students,” Rivers said. “My dad was my coach and now it’s kind of coming full circle. I was his quarterback and now I’ve got an eighth grader that’s got a chance to be a quarterback, my ten-year-old son is our ball boy and doing all the same things I did as a young boy so we’re very thankful.”

Rivers has touted that his Senior Bowl experience led to him being selected by the Chargers who happened to be coaching his team during that week.

“I can tell you if I didn’t play in that game, I wouldn’t have been with the Chargers. There’s no way,” Rivers said. “Of course, that won’t always be the case, but for me it was the case to have the coaching staff actually coach the game and be coaching the team I was on.”

As Rivers established himself in the league, quarterbacks like Prescott were able to learn from his example and follow in his footsteps.

“To go in with the NFL legends we’re talking about, college legends and, all but Philip, SEC legends; it’s pretty cool. That’s cool in itself, just being part of their class for me,” Prescott said before the ceremony. “For Philip, he’s a guy that’s done it, who has been a standard in the way that he’s approached the game just being such a competitor. He’s somebody that I admire, just his tenacity within the game.”

Another opponent who alternatively didn’t like Rivers until they met at the 2016 Pro Bowl, Miller – who sacked Rivers 16 times in his career, more than any other opposing quarterback – greeted his favorite signal-caller the only way he knew how.

“I kid you not, Von Miller walks up, and I was excited to see him, not in uniform, and I go to shake his hand and I literally drop my fork, everything falls and it’s a sack-fumble again,” Rivers said during his speech. “And he actually bent down and picked up the fork. But Von, the years we had – and I do think he sacked me more than any other quarterback because we played each other the most as well – the player he is and now with Buffalo, shoot it wouldn’t surprise me if they found a way to win it all and he’d be on three different super bowl teams.”

Tom Brady (8.5 sacks against) recently overtook Alex Smith (8 sacks against) as the second-most quarterback sacked by Miller, followed by Derek Carr (7.5), Andy Dalton (6.5) and Cam Newton (4.5).

Rivers closed his speech by saying he’s been living out his dream of following in his father’s footsteps coaching high school football with a chance to coach his own sons.

“I’ve got almost the whole coaching staff that’s here from St. Michael, it’s been awesome building those relationships and leading those young men to have a passion and drive to be great men,” Rivers said. “We’re against the odds that we played in the NFL for a long time and the odds and stats don’t lie: these high school young men that we’re coaching, many of them will not play in the NFL but we want them to have been better men for having played in our program.

"I do think there is so much correlation in the game and the virtue and the traits of being husbands and fathers and successful in the workplace so I’m excited to continue my dream of coaching but certainly the memories of the senior bowl are awesome," Rivers continued. "I still have that jersey, still have some of those memories, I remember the Bang 8’s (Chargers Quarterback Coach Brian Schottenheimer) Schotty was talking about and it’s just, time flies.”

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