ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Philip Rivers loves to antagonize, Derek Wolfe loves the role of antagonist.
“It’s fun,” each of them said separately on Thursday when talking about the division rivalry between their two teams.
Together, Wolfe and Rivers make up the perfect epicenter of the age-old conflict. Their passion is pure; their hate is playful. They are the reason it’s so fun.
On Thursday, Wolfe—not exactly your go-to guy if you’re looking for a feel-good quote—was asked if he has any memories of watching Monday Night Football as a kid. He couldn’t help but to bring it back to Rivers.
“Not really. It’s just a game. It’s just a game against the Chargers,” he explained with a straight face. “I just want to put Philip Rivers in the ground, that’s all I’m thinking about.”
Rivers does one helluva job of making his opponent want to put him in the ground, his “friendly banter,” as he calls it, is infamous around the NFL. What makes it unique, though, is that the Chargers QB doesn’t use profanity when talking trash.
“It’s just weird,” Wolfe said with a laugh. “It’s weird but like it makes me angry… It’s just non-stop, he always has something to say, but it’s fun because I play better when I’m angry, so keep saying it, keep saying stuff to me.”
Wolfe will likely get his wish if the following exchange has anything to do with it.
Reporter: Does he ever stop?
Wolfe: “No, no. It’s non-stop.”
Reporter: You’re up 17-3 and he’s still talking?
Wolfe: “Yeah. He’s still talking. He doesn’t stop. If you put your hands on him, he’s gonna talk to you.”
Reporter: Is it creative at all?
Wolfe: “I don’t even know what he says. It doesn’t make any sense.”
There was one time when Rivers, often called a crybaby by Broncos fans, called Derek Wolfe—of all people— a crybaby.
“I was just like, ‘What? What’re you trying to do?'” Wolfe said, shaking his head. “He’s a fun guy to play against.”
The pro-bowl QB, who says he’s calmed his talking a bit with age, is very aware of the thin ice he’s walking on.
“This is a front you want to be careful making too mad or getting too angry,” he said with a chuckle, surely with Wolfe on his mind.
“It’s really all in fun and the way I played in the back yard growing up. I just happen to be doing it at the highest level.”
The AFC West’s most ‘fun’ rivalry will take to the biggest stage at the highest level on Monday Night, where the chatter will certainly be at its peak.