The San Francisco 49ers weren't able to advance past the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2022 NFC Championship Game, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan had a contingency plan all lined up at quarterback if his team pulled off the victory. Kyle Shanahan confirmed that the 49ers wanted to sign retired quarterback and potential Hall of Famer Philip Rivers to play in Super Bowl 57, as he told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Rivers ‘was prepared to' (play), said Shanahan. “It’s stuff we talked about through the whole year. We would have seen how that was for the Super Bowl. That was the plan for most of the year.”
The Super Bowl plan never came to fruition, as starting quarterback Brock Purdy suffered a torn UCL against the Eagles while Purdy's emergency backup, Josh Johnson, also left the game with a concussion. The 49ers were held scoreless in the second half of the 31-7 loss to the Eagles, as Purdy was unable to throw the ball downfield with his injury.
Rivers, 41, has been retired since 2020, taking his last snaps with the Indianapolis Colts. Rivers will be eligible to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2026, and shot down rumors that he would return for the upcoming 2023 season, as he told AL.com in March.
“I think in my mind in the last couple of years if a team had needed me, I might have had six or eight games left in me, but I’m not going into this fall thinking the same,” he told the outlet. “I think it’s done.”
With Purdy recovered and the 49ers stacked at quarterback, we'll likely never see Philip Rivers suit up for San Francisco…but what a sight it would have been.