The Chargers may have relocated to Los Angeles, but Philip Rivers didn’t make the move with them. The quarterback still calls San Diego home, which means his commute is immeasurably worse. Except that unlike the average commuter who spends hours a day on the road, Rivers, who has earned more than $173 million in 13 NFL seasons, will travel in what amounts to a luxurious mobile office.
The vehicle: a gutted SUV transformed to include two seats you’d find on a private jet, a 40-inch screen, WiFi, satellite TV and a refrigerator.
And three days a week, for every week during the NFL season, Rivers will “work” from the back seat while his driver delivers him from his home to the Chargers’ facility in Costa Mesa.
“An hour and 18 minutes, which is nothing,” Rivers told the San Diego Union-Tribune‘s Kevin Acee late last month. “There may be some days where we’re hoping to get in a little traffic because we have more work to do.”
According to Acee, for around $200,000 — plus the driver’s salary — you too can travel in style.
But for Rivers, this isn’t about a jet-setting L.A. lifestyle. It’s about balancing his family and professional lives.
“My two biggest things were my family time and my preparation and what I owe this football team,” the quarterback said. “I was not going to sacrifice either of them in any big proportion. I can look at all the pluses and minuses and say, ‘OK. This does it.’ This allows me to get home in the 6 to 7 hour, which is when I got home the last 11 years, and it allows me to watch all or more of the film I watched before.”
Rivers and his wife have eight children (the oldest just started high school, the youngest will turn 2 next month), and after 13 years in the San Diego area, they weren’t ready to uproot their lives.
“[Looking for a new house in a new area] was literally making me go, ‘This is crazy,'” Rivers said. “I know at some point, (players) have to move. I know it’s life for a lot of people. People have to move all the time. … We’re just so thankful for what we have. That’s why we didn’t want it to change.”
It’s a near-perfect solution, for sure. But our first thought was: Why not avoid the traffic altogether and just charter a helicopter to work? Thankfully, Acee put that question to Rivers.
“That was about 15 minutes of me doing an Internet search and five more minutes with me wondering, ‘What in the world am I thinking about this for?’ I’ve never been in one in my life,” Rivers explained. “… Plus, unless it could pick me up in my neighborhood and land on the practice field, it wasn’t going to be that much faster.”
The Chargers are coming off a five-win campaign but enter the 2017 with high hopes. Five of the seven CBSSports.com experts have the Chargers making the playoffs and one adventurous soul has them playing in the Super Bowl.