A 26-year-old Philip Rivers played with the 2008 AFC Championship Game against The Patriots with a torn ACL. Rivers, now 37, and also the Chargers can go back into the AFC title game by beating The Patriots on Sunday.
The now-37-year-old appeared played contrary to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game seven days after suffering a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee.
Even though Chargers lost 21-12, Rivers limping through the game sealed his status among the toughest players that the league has seen. He has continued to prove it in every game as, along with his active streak of 208 successive regular-season games played with the greatest in the NFL.
Rivers didn’t have one of the finest games that Sunday in 2008, completing just 19 of 37 passes for 211 yards, with no touchdowns and 2 interceptions, because the Chargers did not evaluate anything-but field goals.
However, 11 years after, he finally catches another postseason shot Tom Brady once the Chargers see The Patriots on Sunday (1:05 p.m. ET, CBS) in a divisional-round playoff game. A win would go back the Chargers into the AFC title game for the very first time as Rivers’ ACL game.
“The simple fact that he played unbelievable,” Brady explained. “They played a great game. We made a few plays, got a couple turnovers from them. It was a challenging game. It turned out to be a hard-fought win.
“There’s reasons why both teams have been still playing this weekend — because we’ve earned it and put ourselves in position for a wonderful opportunity. Our teams WISh to winand it’s definitely going to be a challenging game, regardless of the outcome.”
Two graybeards, both Rivers and Brady will have a combined age of 78 years and 198 days on Sunday, making it the earliest combined starting quarterback matchup in postseason history.
Back in January 2008, Brady was 30 and in his eighth NFL year and Rivers was 26 and in his fourth. The Patriots were at the conclusion of a fantastic season and trying to cement their status among the greatest NFL teams ever by winning and reaching the superbowl.
However, a wounded Rivers, playing a balky kneestood in their way.
“Honestly, it wasn’t mad annoyance,” Rivers said about playing the injury. “It sort of buckled several days in the game, but I really was thankful. Throughout the span of this game, I did not feel like it annoys me as far as I anticipated.
“We did not have our best day. It did not help, however, we did not have our best day, and I really do not attribute it to that.”
In addition to Rivers’ injury, running back LaDainian Tomlinson had a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) and tried to play with, however he was unable to really make the cuts he’d made and gave way into Michael Turner.
As stated by Dr. David Chao, the Chargers’ head team physician at the moment, Rivers and Tomlinson are not the sole players coping with harms.
And out linebacker Shawne Merriman had delay reconstructive knee surgery that eventually led to his career cut short.
“We really were in bad shape going within as a collective unit,” Rivers said. “So, yeah, we had some guys with some matters [back ].”
Even while fans taunted him when he walked off the field into the locker room at the RCA Dome, Rivers told him ,”I’ll be back.”
Rivers was suitable.
“This entire week was really interesting because a great deal of men and women on all of us did not know that Philip even had an ACL tear,” Hardwick said. “We knew that he had surgery and that he had to unlock his knee.
“And we knew he wasn’t going to be outside to clinic until at least Friday, not likely to be around before walk-through on Saturday, however all of us understood that he was going to playwith. And I really don’t believe there was ever any doubt he was going to play.”
Thousands of fans waited to greet the players on their own return to Chargers Park from IndiaNapolis on this Sunday, however Rivers managed to slide through the back of the facility unnoticed, enter to his truck and also get an MRI that night, confirming the ACL and meniscus tears.
The Chargers had a reliable backup that the team reputable in Billy Volek, who finished outside the game against the Colts. However, Rivers did not WISh to miss a chance to achieve his first Super Bowl, therefore he pushed to playwith.
After receiving the MRI Sunday evening, Rivers had to make a decision on whether to have arthroscopic surgery another day to repair the torn meniscus to unlock his kneeagain.
Rivers met with the group medical staff and coach Norv Turner, remaining insistent that he would play.
“People inquire about teams and coaches forcing players to engage in hurt,” Chao said. “However, in my experience, it’s the players that induce themselves to play. Norv wasn’t telling Philip to get the surgery and come back fast.
“However, Philip remained loyal to accomplish exactly what it took to playwith, and we proceeded forward together with operation .”
How hard would be to play a torn ACL?
“You can call the ACL an internal seatbelt,” Chao said. “No question, you’ll be able to drive your car without a seatbelt on and eliminate it. However, at the NFL you are racing NASCAR, and you better have your seatbelt .
“Therefore it isn’t ordinary to play with an ACL. In Rivers’ instance we had him in some special bracing that we felt could temporarily keep him safe. But even then, we made him alert to these risks, and he wanted to play.”
Hardwick said Rivers appeared to deal with the injury well for the most part.
“I really don’t remember anything about him not being able to perform his job,” Hardwick said. “It was pretty remarkable that which he surely could do in such an instant turnaround. Perhaps not just with an ACL tear, but with a meniscus washed outside the week earlier. It’s fairly forgettable.
“That’s Philip. We knew it meant so much to him that he was going to discover a solution to get it done. He was not going to make this moment pass him by.”
Throughout his 15-year livelihood, Rivers has dealt with all his fair share of injuries but has always answered the bell.
Rivers played through a chest injury along with bulging disk in his spine during the backstretch of the 2014 season, missing his first clinic since 2007.
Rivers was identified as having his very first concussion during the 20 17 season and did not clear concussion protocol before Fridaytwo days before taking the field against the Buffalo Bills in a 54-24 success in Week 10.
Prior to the playoff game against The Patriots higher than a decade ago, a concerned Rivers was buoyed by way of a comment within the phone from his mum, Joan, who reminded her son that St. Sebastian’s feast day was Jan. 20, the time of The Patriots game.
Rivers knows the numbers.
He’s 0-7 overall against Brady, a future Hall of Famer and the GOAT. That includes an 0-2 record in the postseason, together with Rivers completing only 48 per cent of the passes, with no touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
The Patriots have won eight consecutive playoff games at Gillette Stadium, the fifth-longest residence playoff win streak in league record, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
New England is currently 8-0 at home this season.
However, Rivers states this season is a brand new year, and the Chargers have been 9-0 when boarding a plane this season.
“We have never played with them. Certainly, I was an integral part of all those teams that did not win in those games, but this team right here has never played with them, and that’s how I look at it.”
Hardwick recalls the confetti falling from the skies at the end of the 2008 game and his former college teammate and Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light observing a return visit to the superbowl since he watched from the side line.
He’s looking forward to a far much better result because of his former team these times.
“We had our chance in us and also we were unsuccessful,” Hardwick said. “For me as a former team mate of a few guys and a fan of the others of them, I really just WISh them the best of fortune. And I expect that they go there and will execute their assignments and also maintain their emotions in check enough to be able to fulfill their potential.
“I really do feel that this is actually the best-coached Chargers football team I can remember in quite a long moment.”