FOXBORO - Philip Rivers remembers the moment fondly. He was there with one of his all-time favorite quarterbacks, listening to one of the game's all-time great coaches at the Pro Bowl.
Heckuva day, as Rivers might say...Right?
Well, yeah. Only his team was getting smoked by the NFC and Bill Belichick was giving it to his players. Even Rivers, Peyton Manning and Belichick's former pupil Matt Cassel -- all of whom had thrown interceptions before Belichick's halftime address.
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Rivers recalled the story during a conference call on Wednesday.
“I do remember at halftime of the Pro Bowl game, we were getting killed, and it was...me, Peyton and Cassel,” Rivers said. “We were getting blown out at halftime, and he kind of called [the team] up and said, ‘Hey, we can tackle. I know it’s the Pro Bowl and all that, but can we tackle somebody today? Let’s go out and see if we can make this a little bit respectable in the second half.’
“And then he looked at us quarterbacks. We had all thrown an interception — thank goodness I wasn’t the only one — and he said, 'And it’d help if you guys would stop throwing it to the other team.’ "
That was following the 2010 season, which was the last time Belichick coached the league's annual All-Star pillow fight. If he were to implore anyone to tackle these days, he might get laughed out of the room.
Regardless, Rivers had a laugh thinking back to that particular moment with that particular coach, against whom he'll be competing this weekend.
“I got a kick out of that," Rivers said, "because I was standing by Peyton Manning and Cassel, and Peyton’s, if not my all-time favorite, one of. I was glad I wasn't the only one that had thrown it to the other team. But I thought that was pretty good. I got fussed out at halftime of the Pro Bowl."
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Belichick had nothing but kind things to say about Rivers on Wednesday, a trend that has been developing this week as Belichick has spoken to reporters three times in the past three days.
"He’s played great," Belichick said. "He plays great. Very accurate, obviously a smart guy, offense runs through him, handles things at the line of scrimmage, makes good decisions with the ball, uses everybody, as he always does – he gets the ball to everybody, all of the receivers, all the tight ends, all the backs.
"He’s very, very efficient, makes big plays, good in situations – third down, red area. He’s really good, outstanding. Hard guy to tackle, big, strong guy, has a good feel for the pocket, knows how to use his blockers, kind of like [Ben] Roethlisberger – same type of thing. He’s good."
Asked if he remembered anything in particular about Rivers from their shared time at the Pro Bowl, Belichick didn't take the trip down memory lane that Rivers did.
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"Yeah, that was a long time ago, but he’s a smart guy," Belichick said. "He’s a great guy, good football player, really cares and knows a lot about football. He’s an impressive guy to talk to."
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