The Family Man

Austin Ekeler’s story about the first time he met Philip Rivers’ nine kids is an instant classic


Dustin Bradford

We’re just going to give it to you straight: The only thing now-former NFL icon Philip Rivers loves more than football is making babies. While tossing 424 touchdowns over the course of his career, good enough for fifth all-time, Rivers also sired nine children, going on record to suggest he wasn’t even done there. But perhaps nothing paints the true (and mildly absurd) Rivers family portrait quite like this story from former teammate Austin Ekeler, who joined Upon Further Review this week to talk about the time he first met the Rivers’ entourage. Check it out.

“I saw them one time when I was rookie before I even made the team,” Ekeler says, clarifying that the Rivers clan stayed in San Diego when the team moved to Los Angeles so they weren’t around much. “I thought he was doing a meet and greet with people because I didn’t know that was his family. He had like six kids running around with him and I’m like ‘oh he’s doing some tour or something’ . . . I was like 'what’s Phil doing?' I asked someone else and they were like ‘that’s his family.’

The anecdote is hilarious for obvious reasons but it also shows you what kind of guy Rivers was. When Ekeler saw 17 running around with a litter of kids, his first instinct was that he was leading a bunch of strangers on a tour of the Chargers facility for no reason other than to be a nice guy. So go ahead and call Rivers what you want—trash talk extraordinaire, stat compiler, borderline obsessive compulsive procreator—but no one has ever had a bad word to say about him as a person and, perhaps more importantly, a father.