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Chargers Roundtable: Philip Rivers and his antics

The Bolts from the Blue staff tell us their thoughts on Philip Rivers complaining to the officials and incurring an unsportsmanlike penalty in the San Diego Chargers' 17-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans.


Alright, gentlemen. Let's change it up this week. Instead of your general thoughts on the game, please hit us with your thoughts on Philip Rivers complaining to the officials on Sunday and incurring an unsportsmanlike penalty as a result. As it always should be, Fearless Leader is the lead off man today. Take it away, boys.

John Gennaro :

I, for one, hate it but say very little about it for fear that I'll be grouped with those that call Rivers a "whiny crybaby" or something to that effect. I don't really believe it affects his quarterbacking, but I do think it grates on the officials and I know that it sometimes makes him difficult to root for.

More than anything, though, I hate the argument of "He doesn't use foul language" that Chargers fans use to defend it. Like someone is going to change their mind about his annoying behavior because the guy doesn't curse. Anyone who thinks you need to use foul language to bother someone, or fight with someone, grew up as an only child.

I genuinely wonder why the coaches don't try to curtail his behavior. Nobody can honestly look at Philip, throwing refs aside and yelling in their ears, and think that's good body language. And if there's one thing coach's care about, it's body language. It's almost as if Rivers, who learned the game of football from his father (a high school football coach), yearns to be the coach on the sideline, yelling at the officials, more than he does to be the player in the middle of the huddle calming down the rest of the team.

I'd love to see the whining and complaining stop, although I doubt it will. However, there's a way to do it without earning penalties and grabbing refs. I hope he finds a middle-ground one day.

That's a good point about his dad being a coach. Can anybody dig up some old home video of Papa Rivers yelling at some high school refs so we can see if their technique is the same?

Nick Shepherd :

It's idiotic. If the refs enforced the rules he'd be thrown out of every game. I'm honestly surprised that Roger Goodell hasn't made an example of him yet.

I think we all played sports at some level or another, and all learned that you can't yell at officials unless they get something REALLY wrong. Like calling for a home run during a baseball game, or any basketball player ever committing a foul, ever.

All in all, I sort of like Philip's on the field antics. They're fun to watch as a fan of the team. But if I were a player on the opposing team, he wouldn't make it to halftime. I mean seriously, do you think players need something as trivial as bounties to want to hurt Rivers? Or do you think his "by golly, we just spanked your bottom!" routine does it for the Greg Williamses of the world? I twisted ankles in piles for much, much less.

The other thing that's odd? The lack of national attention it gets. Sure, we've all seen the Marmalard caricature (which is hilarious, by the way) but ESPN analyzes any and all changes to Tom Brady's smile lines, and this stuff is hardly ever shown.

...Nick? You there? Did your computer die suddenly before you could finish? I refuse to believe that this is ALL you had to say. Where did the last 1000 words go?

Superduperboltman :

I think he should tone it down some. I've thought that for a few years now. I've always wondered why he hasn't been flagged for it, and I'm a big fan of his. I ultimately don't care that he acts that way because he's an NFL quarterback and I'm a spectator. However, from the result of his actions, I wish he'd calm down a bit or yell at the field, away from the refs. I'm sure the reason he hasn't been ejected or fined or something is because 99% of players insult and curse at the refs repeatedly during the game and Rivers doesn't, because of his G-rated dialogue. Regarding the penalty, we can't be certain it would have resulted in a touchdown instead of the field goal, but it sure would have been nice to see an extra four points on the board.

Say, hypothetically, there were four extra points on the board for the Chargers at the end of the day, would this even be a topic of conversation? I suppose it doesn't matter because it's a valid conversation to have either way. Carry on.

David Marver :

This is one of those "can't win" situations for Philip. Either he doesn't complain to the refs, which would make Chargers fans think he doesn't care, or he jaws off and seems like a whiny bitch. I'm not sure if there's any grey area and some of the NFL's best are, like Philip, routinely complaining: Brady and Rodgers in particular. However, when it starts costing your team valuable yards instead of influencing calls (if it ever did), it's an issue.

I want to see Philip with a stone cold glare and a chip on his shoulder march the Bolts down the field for six, and then go straight to the sidelines to study tape. Ultimately, time spent complaining is both a loss of focus and a loss of time that could be better spent on other football activities. Like a wind sprint or two.

Hey-oh. A little parting shot there by Marver. I'm all in favor of Baby Giraffe running some wind sprints, but only for my personal entertainment, not because I think it'll make him any faster.

Richard Wade :

I'm a huge fan of 17, and I love the way he plays the game. His energy and the way he gets after guys is fun to watch. Complaining at refs until they throw a flag is just stupid, though, and I really wish he'd stop. The fact that this fuels the annoying (and constant) chatter about him being a crybaby is also obnoxious. He's too good of a player to let himself be defined by that crap. Also, I'd like to think he's too smart to keep acting in a way that hurts the team. I guess we'll see if that unsportsmanlike conduct penalty serves as a wake up call. I suspect that it won't, but I'm hopeful.

Richard is always good for a solid take on things. This certainly is no exception. Who's up next?

SDNativeinTX :

I get the complaints from the fans of other teams about PR's demeanor on the field. I despised Dan Marino in the day, because every time one of his guys dropped a pass or a pass got picked off, or he got sacked, he was yapping at somebody. Drove me nuts. The yelling and waving at Cutler on the Sunday night game a few years ago pretty much got Rivers a "rep" with NFL fans outside of Bolt-dom as a mouthy douche.

Being honest, if PR was the QB for another team like the Vikings or Bengals that I did not care about one way or the other, I probably would think he was a mouthy douche and not like him either. But, he is the QB for my favorite team and unless he whizzes into the punch bowl on game day, I'll like him.

With that being said, Allen did a crappy job running the pick (you stop and turn around for the ball to cut-off the inside cover man, you don't run him over), got flagged for it on an obvious call and PR had no business screaming at the refs. What do knowledgeable fans always say? 'Be aggressive, trash talk if its part of your game, but do not hurt the team by drawing stupid penalties." PR drew a stupid penalty.

Ask a question ("What did you see?" or "Did that really deserve a penalty?"). Say your peace calmly and respectfully, listen, and then turn around and walk away. If the refs are talking with each other after you've asked the question and respectfully said your peace ("sir, he was just trying to run his route - the guy didn't move"), you've done your job.

Watch some old game tapes of Montana -- getting blasted by a D-lineman, watching his receiver catch a touchdown from the ground with a 300 lb. monster on top of him, and then patting the lineman on top of him on the helmet, saying 'good try, man. Could you get off of me now?" I personally prefer my QB's to be ice cold generals that do not get too amped and do not get discouraged, and most importantly -- not yapping at their own teammates, the other team, and refs. Save your emotions for some high fives and backslapping after a win. Or the "We did not play well enough to win today and we'll work on getting better next week." spoken in a calm, even tone after a loss.

"A mouthy douche." That's next level stuff right there. Bravo, Robert.

Jason Peters :

Everyone has a friend like this. In the normal day-to-day stuff, they are the nicest guy around. They are the neighbor you borrow a leaf blower from, go out for a beer with, etc. Then you get together with some friend for a pickup game. Suddenly they are the nastiest guy you've ever met. He will kill anyone who gets between him and victory. When he is playing well, he gets into the opponent's face and with trash talk relentlessly. And when the game isn't going his way, he starts complaining about every play, every shot. Everyone on both teams starts getting uncomfortable playing with this guy.

This is Philip Rivers. He is the greatest guy in the world off the field. Put him on the field, and he becomes the ultra-competitive monster that sometimes gets into that awkward zone. You want your team leader to have controlled aggression. Competitive and ruthless, but always in control. Rivers lacks that control, whether jawing with Cutler when he was with the Broncos, or complaining to the ref to the point of a penalty. You can do these things, but you can't take it too far, or it'll hurt your team, like it did against the Titans. That penalty pretty much took the possibility of a touchdown off the board, settling instead for a field goal.

The best players don't hurt their team with the stuff that can be prevented. Make your case, and concentrate on the next play. Make your opponent pay through perfect play.

That last sentence is something I would expect to be posted on a wall inside a locker room somewhere. Shoot, maybe it should be posted in the Chargers locker room. Lord knows they need that reminder. Good stuff, Jason. We're almost down here, folks. What say you, jkvandal?

jkvandal :

Up until yesterday, I didn't really mind when Rivers did it because it wasn't really hurting the team and I just took it as part of his personality and something to have to live with.

However, yesterday seemed like he took it farther than usual, and when he got flagged, it hurt the team. That's too far. It's okay to be emotional and try to stand up for the team and his teammates, but make your point, get back to the huddle, and win the next play. No need to take it further and give the refs a reason to air their yellow laundry.

Alright. Last but not least, the man whose last name ends with the same four-letter combination it starts with. Crazy.

Andrew Tschiltsch :

Like a good amount of Chargers fans, I enjoy the passion the Rivers brings to the field every time he steps on it. It's one of the big reasons I continue to believe that he can lead this team to success. Usually when he yaps at the refs, I'm fine with it because I know he's not going to say anything stupid, in terms of profanities or personal insults, that would typically get a player flagged or ejected in a similar scenario. I also think that Rivers knows a referee would hesitate to eject the starting QB for a team based on an argument of a flag.

However, during the tirade yesterday I was cringing. It seriously looked like Rivers wanted to get tossed. You just can't keep going at the ref multiple times and not expect at least a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. Additionally, the longer Phil went at the ref the more pronounced his body language and gestures became, which show up the referee no matter what the actual words were out of Rivers' mouth. There was no way he was going to win in that situation.

I don't want Phil to stop playing with that fire or even stop arguing with referees. It simply struck me as supremely bizarre given the situation and his experience. I'm chalking this one up to random crankiness. He screwed up; he knows it. The Chargers didn't lose the game because of a 15 yard penalty in the second quarter.

Alright. That's all she wrote, folks. As always, vote below on your favorite and tells us what you think in the comments.