clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

49ers would have considered Philip Rivers after injuries piled up last season

Kyle Shanahan knows which QB they plan to start against the Rams in Week 2...if Brock Purdy is healthy

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

What if Phillip Rivers had started for the San Francisco 49ers in last year’s Super Bowl? That seems insane to consider as a realistic possibility but it was reported by The Athletic as one potential outcome in the most recent playoffs after an interview with Kyle Shanahan. It may have actually happened too, if only the 49ers didn’t lose by 24 points to the Eagles in the NFC Championship game.

Sorry, Shanahan.

How serious was the consideration of Rivers to San Francisco? Pretty serious, if the 49ers had advanced.

“Whole thing I’m just thinking is, ‘Man, I hope Brock’s not as bad as they’re saying and what’s going to be our Plan B? Are we going to have to get Philip Rivers, someone like that, for the Super Bowl?’” Shanahan told Kawakami. “Because that’s what I’m thinking. ‘Cause I didn’t think Jimmy was going to be ready and all I’m thinking is, ‘Man, I hope Brock is not bad as bad as they’re saying and someone like Philip Rivers is working out and ready to go here in two weeks because that’s still our plan.’ And when I accepted reality, it took me a while to get over.”

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Rivers didn’t play at all in 2021 or 2022, having played his last game with the Indianapolis Colts almost three years ago now. And he’s never played with Shanahan as a coach.

That’s how close the 49ers were to desperation after losing Brock Purdy to an elbow injury in the NFC Championship game, then backup Josh Johnson, after previously already putting Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo on IR. There’s been question all offseason of whether the 49ers would have Purdy back for Week 1, and recent reports suggest that he’s going to be ready.

How does this impact the Los Angeles Rams? Well, the Rivers emergency plan never had to come to fruition for Shanahan, but San Francisco is once again embroiled in questions about who will start for them at quarterback to start the season.

Purdy was the plan A for L.A.’s rivals last year. I realize that is obvious in hindsight but consider the news being reported this year that the 49ers have a quarterback controversy. You can find find reports left and right about the 49ers current “quarterback controversy” or “quarterback drama” with regards to Purdy’s expected backups.

It’s not about Trey Lance being what San Francisco drafted him to be, I think that ship has sailed. He’s not.

It’s not about Sam Darnold finding himself and taking the Niners to a Super Bowl and beating the New York Jets, the team that drafted him. That’s not Plan A, and it might not even be Plan B.

San Francisco 49ers Offseason Workout Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

If Purdy isn’t ready to go by Week 1, then he might be ready by Week 2. That’s when the Rams host the 49ers at SoFi Stadium on September 17 and while we assume Purdy could be the starter in that game...we apparently can’t rule out Philip Rivers either.