Former hated Broncos rival has glowing review of rookie QB Bo Nix

Philip Rivers is on board the Bo Nix hype train
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / David Eulitt/GettyImages

Philip Rivers was once a hated rival of the Denver Broncos as a member of the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers. Now, Rivers may be a key component of the development of Denver Broncos franchise quarterback Bo Nix. Nix, the 12th overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, has learned a lot from Rivers in this pre-draft process.

Before the draft, Nix chatted with Doug Farrar and Greg Cosell about the impact Rivers has made on him:

Since his playing days ended, Rivers has become the head coach of St. Michael Catholic High School in Decatur, Alabama. Bo Nix played his college ball at Oregon the past two years, but he's an Alabama native as well and had a chance to get poured into by one of the best to do it in the last 20 years of the NFL.

For Nix to be able to work a little bit with Philip Rivers and to be getting texts after the NFL Draft from Peyton Manning must be a whirlwind. But what did Rivers think of Nix? Nix, along with fellow first-round pick Drake Maye and another quarterback prospect got the chance to spend some time with Rivers together, and ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter made it sound like Nix really blew Rivers away.

"One of the people that he (Sean Payton) called in advance (of the draft) was Philip Rivers, who was working with Drake Maye and Bo Nix down in Alabama. And Philip Rivers really was impressed with Drake Maye. But Philip Rivers was REALLY impressed with Bo Nix. He's like, 'Sean, this guy can spin it. And Sean, this guy's bigger than I thought. And Sean, this guy's a better quarterback than I thought"

Adam Schefter

It sounds based on that clip from Schefter like Rivers was really blown away by Bo Nix, even more so than 3rd overall pick (Patriots) Drake Maye. That's saying something, because all throughout the pre-draft process, most analysts have been saying how unspectacular Bo Nix is. He's not athletic enough. His arm isn't strong enough. He threw too many short passes. He's too old. He benefitted from the scheme. His offensive line was dominant.

There are simply far too many actual football people who see what Sean Payton apparently sees in Bo Nix, and you can chalk Rivers up as one of them.

What in the world is the tie-in between Philip Rivers and Sean Payton? Well, apart from just having a mutual respect for each other and maybe an off-field relationship as friends, Payton allegedly called up Rivers in the 2021 season about possibly coming out of retirement to help the injury-plagued Saints. Rivers didn't do it, but if Payton felt comfortable enough to ask him, then it stands to reason he trusts the guy's opinions on the quarterback position.

And it sounds, at least in part, like Rivers' opinion of Bo Nix had at least something to do with Denver drafting him. Maybe it was just part of the equation, but Payton referenced a YouTube video that was made by another of his former quarterbacks -- Chase Daniel -- as something he wasn't overly thrilled was out there because it could possibly give something away.

"Once we knew this was our target, every time [NFL Network Analyst] Chase Daniel or [ESPN Analyst] Dan Orlovsky got on like, ‘This is perfect!’ I would be like, ‘Shh! Can you be quiet?’"

Sean Payton (via Broncos PR)

Payton is hyper-aware of what's being said out there, but he's also only listening to voices he trusts. The fact that Philip Rivers put his stamp of approval on the latest potential Denver Broncos franchise quarterback is the rivalry crossover we never knew we needed.