A football junkie, Philip Rivers' voice explodes with excitement after taking his first look at the Chargers' 2017 slate.
"Now that's a heck of a schedule!"
Number 17 takes a few moments to digest it all, letting every aspect sink in no matter how big or small. With the entire schedule memorized, he is ready to reveal what stands out most about the upcoming season.
"Like we have so many times, we get to open up in that second game of the Monday Night Football doubleheader. Getting to do it in Denver, which is one of my favorite places to play, is as good as it gets…. We've done it a bunch of times, and it can be long. Sunday can feel long, but it's Monday that feels really long. It's like, 'Goodness, gracious – can we kick off?' We've seen everybody else kick off, but we haven't played yet. But it's definitely exciting. We also have Denver again in October. We'll have both of our games against them done by Oct. 22."
Rivers' attention then drifts to the team's AFC West rivals.
"We play them early and then late," he explains. "We have that Week 3 game against Kansas City, and then we play them Week 15 at night (at Arrowhead). And Oakland, we play them in October early before the last game of the year. So there is going to be a big gap between playing two of our division opponents, but not really a big gap with Denver. Those are some important early games."
The quarterback is also pleased with the timing of the bye week. Occurring Week 9, it dissects the season in half. As a QB, he also quickly identifies the team's cold weather games to see when he may have to deal with tough conditions.
"I always like to see when the bye week is, and it's exactly at the halfway point. We have two eight game seasons, so that's good. And then I look for any potential bad weather games. We have those two late games in December at Kansas City and the Jets, but that's really it."
Rivers notes the Bolts are in for a challenge right off the bat leading up to that Week 9 bye.
"Five of those games are against playoff teams, and I consider the Broncos a playoff team, so it's (seven)," he says. "Every NFL schedule is hard, and it is what it is. That's what we like. We want to beat playoff teams. We want to be back in the picture like we were for that stretch for so many years. We have to beat those teams, and we are going to get a heavy dose of that."
Perhaps most of all, getting to play the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day takes the cake. All in all, the Bolts play on three holidays.
"To play Thanksgiving in Dallas is awesome. Every year I always wonder if that will ever be us playing in that game. That's a game the whole country watches, and now we get to play in it so that's awesome. Dallas on Thanksgiving is as big as it gets."