Philip Rivers didn't grow up an NFL fan.
He grew up a fan of quarterbacks.
A northern Alabama native, college football games on Saturdays were his sports meat and potatoes. The NFL was dessert.
"The quarterbacks were the ones I had posters of," Rivers said. "The quarterbacks were the ones I picked who I liked, and what numbers I liked and everything."
Brett Favre, Troy Aikman, Dan Marino, Joe Montana, John Elway, Steve Young. His walls were living monuments to the game's best.
It's why Rivers said he doesn't take for granted the opportunity he'll have Sunday when Los Angeles (3-4) takes on the New England Patriots (5-2) and Tom Brady.
"When you're going against a guy that's won all these Super Bowls and is still playing at the level he's playing at 40...to me, it is a big deal. It's special," Rivers said. "I'm looking forward to getting another shot."
Rivers is just 1-6 against the Patriots, winning his lone game in 2008 in San Diego, when Brady was sidelined by a knee injury.
If Rivers can post his first victory in Foxborough, it would also be the fourth straight victory for the Chargers, who are coming on after starting the season 0-4.
Brady said he has always admired Rivers from afar.
"He's really not fazed by much. He has kind of seen everything," Brady said.
A victory would also be four straight for the Patriots, who have also found a groove over the past three weeks — particularly on offense. Brady leads the NFL with 2,208 passing yards, and is tied for second with 15 touchdown passes.
After two early season losses at home, New England would like nothing more than to enter its bye week with a victory.
"You want to finish on a high note and you want to go in feeling really good about what you've done," Brady said. "The problem is this team — they're hot, they've won three straight, they've got a really good defense. There's nothing easy about it."