So I’m sure by now you’ve all heard that Champ Bailey and the Denver Broncos didn’t take too kindly to the San Diego Chargers’ trash-talking during their Monday Night affair on Christmas Eve. Bailey and his Denver teammates have called out Rivers for barking at certain Broncos players and shooting pointed barbs at them during San Diego’s easy 23-3 win. Champ has jumped to the front of the line to rip on the 26-year-old signal caller who is almost universally recognized as a great guy. Here’s what Bailey had to say to the Rocky Mountain News:
“I don’t really care for the guy, first of all. He’s not a respectable guy right now, because you talk too much trash and do this and that, but you’re really not a great player in this league right now. You’re surrounded by great players but you’re not a great player. “I think he needs to understand where he stands in this league – on his team first and foremost. They’ve got a lot of classy guys on that team. He kind of represents the classless guy on that team. He’s definitely lost my respect.”
OK, Champ, I like you, you’re one of the best players at any position in the NFL, but calm down drama queen. A guy was talking trash during an NFL game and you’re upset about it? Are you joking? Aww, did he hurt your feelings? He didn’t call you out in public or go ranting to the press about how much you suck or how awful your team is, he verbally sparred with you and your teammates during a game. When does that not happen at any level in any sport? And while I realize Philip Rivers isn’t an elite player on your level, he did make the Pro Bowl last year in his first year as a starter and he has steadily improved this season after struggling early on.
Also, to imply he hasn’t done anything in the NFL yet is a little disingenuous. In his two years as a starter he’s led the Chargers to a 24-7 record, that’s the third best record for a starter in his first two seasons (only Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger were better) in NFL history. Oh and he’s led the Bolts to wins all four times he’s faced the Broncos – by an average score of 39-13. He has a 119.8 passer rating against Denver and has completed 69.6 percent of his passes against them for 960 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions. So he basically owns the Broncos. I’d say he’s earned the right to talk a little trash. Besides Champ, if his mouth is bothering you, shut it for him. This is football after all, not a tickling contest. I simply don’t understand why Champ and the Broncos are so upset. Maybe it’s because they’re 6-9, and have been a terrible disappointment this year.
Rivers came to his own defense a bit in response to the complaints of the Broncos:
“I’m not going to change. I’m not saying I’m trying to be the guy who goes nuts and acts crazy. That’s not who I am. But the thing is there are no bad intentions. It’s all done in fun.”
And Antonio Gates came to his defense as well:
“What they’ve got to understand is Philip is a football player. If they put him in that category it wouldn’t be a problem. But since he’s a quarterback, quarterbacks stereotypically shouldn’t say or do or act a certain way on the field. That’s the thing that’s not known about him. We know him as a person. He does it in the locker room, in practice, on the field. He plays the game with his heart. That’s why he’s that way.”
Now I know I’m a homer, but personally I don’t have a problem with Rivers talking trash as long as he gets the job done. It’s a part of the game. It’s actually a fun part of the game. I used to love doing it on the basketball court during my heyday. I know The Baker noted in his “dozen” that Rivers should shut up and that he throws like a girl. That may be true, but as long as he keeps winning games I don’t care what he says, what his numbers are like or how he tosses a football. I doubt his teammates care either.