Lost in the entire dynamic of the Chargers officially announcing their move to Los Angeles are the players. It’s something we don’t focus on too often.
They are human beings. They have families. They have homes they call their own. They have friends and communities they’ve worked to build.
Look at it this why. How would you feel if your company decided to uproot from the city you’ve called home for most of your adult life? There would be a whole heck of a lot that goes into your decision-making process as to whether you would want to follow said company to a new home.
The same rings true for NFL players.
Though, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is an especially important figure when it comes to this.
A father of seven children, Rivers isn’t a single man who can just uproot himself from one city to another and buy a penthouse in downtown Los Angeles. He has a responsibility to his children, all either of school age or younger. That’s an important distinction to make, especially for a self-defined family man.
It was back in March of 2015 that it seemed Rivers’ future with the Chargers was in question. This was at a time when the team’s own future in San Diego started to become less clear as well.
“What we’ve established here with my growing family is hard to recreate. It’s hard to up and recreate that. I know that moves are part of life,” Rivers said back then. “But that certainly is fair to say that (not knowing where the Chargers are playing in 2016) is part of it. The good thing is I’m not under contract in a year where we’d potentially be in Los Angeles.”
This followed a constant stream of trade rumors surrounding Rivers, primarily reports that he might be headed to the Tennessee Titans (more on that here).
The interesting dynamic here was the Titans’ location in Nashville is seen as one of the most family-friendly metropolitan areas in the United States.
Eventually, Rivers and the Chargers came to terms on a four-year extension back in August of 2015. That in and of itself came with a caveat, as Rivers offered a tepid glimpse into his thought process regarding a potential move to Los Angeles and whether that would have impacted extension talks.
One now has to wonder what Rivers himself is thinking. Los Angeles isn’t necessarily the optimal city to raise a child in, let alone seven. As someone that has always put his family first, we’re sure Rivers himself is thinking about that.
We then have the entire dynamic regarding the Chargers organization itself. A relocation will bring change. That much is clear. But here’s a team that doesn’t seem to be anywhere near contention in the AFC West.
It fell behind the other three teams in the division by a substantial margin this past regular season, finishing in last place and seven games out of the top spot. Head coach Mike McCoy was fired. A new head coach has not been named. There’s definitely a talent vacuum that needs to be filled when it comes to the team’s young core.
Is it possible that Rivers himself simply won’t want to be part of a rebuilding project in Los Angeles?
Of course, this is all speculation. And any potential trade to another team would be met with him likely having to uproot his family.
That wouldn’t be much different than having to move to Los Angeles. Heck, the Chargers’ new location is closer to San Diego than any other potential NFL team. That must definitely be part of the equation here.
What we do know is that NFL host cities provide ample opportunities for men of Rivers’ ilk to set up home in areas that are much more family friendly than Los Angeles.
Pure conjecture here, but Santa Clara in Northern California and even the Denver suburbs in Colorado come to mind first.
At the very least, it’s most definitely something to keep an eye on as the Chargers complete their process of relocating to Los Angeles.