Monday, July 22, 2024

Philip Rivers is Riding High

The best quarterbacks in the NFL have often been defined as leaders, game changers and ultimately great players. When you think of great NFL quarterbacks the names of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger top this list. However, one man never seems to be put onto this list Philip Rivers.
 The Towering 6’5 gentleman who hails from Alabama quarterbacked the NC State football team to 34 wins as it’s starting quarterback.

Sitting behind Drew Brees for 2 years certainly had a positive influence on his career. Phillip Rivers was recently labelled as the only quarterback in the NFL who still talks trash according to Chris Harris Jr.

 But whether we’re talking about Rivers’ heroic dress sense, the fact he has eight children or trash talking hilarity there’s one thing that’s been certain since he stepped onto the field as the Chargers future – and that is he is the Chargers. 

Philip Rivers has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and often times he’s overlooked because his record doesn’t reflect what he really is.

Philip Rivers is the undoubted leader of the Chargers and the best player they’ve ever had in their franchise. 
Rivers’ is a model for consistency. Since taking the reins of the chargers in 2006 he started every single game for the team. No other team in the NFL can say that.

Philip Rivers never has taken the day off in the regular season (although he does have a playoff injury to his name). 

In fact the 2018/19 season marked a milestone for Rivers as he competed in his 200th career start – an exclusive club of only 91 members. 

 The AFC West consists of the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and of course the L.A Chargers.

It appears that KC have found their franchise hero in Mahomes but they’ve fielded 13 different Quarterbacks since 2006. 

My beloved Denver have started 9 and it looks as if that number will continue to grow in the near future.

Oakland has played 20 years under 19 different starting quarterbacks. Gruden’s dislike for Carr may see that number grow to 20 QBs in 21 years. 

 But the Chargers? They’ve only had Rivers. Well, they had Brees before that but we’re here to talk about the river monster. 

I’m not entirely sure whether starting QBs is a stat which Rivers can actively call ‘his’. The draft is a lottery at the end of the day and we could have seen Brady, Manning, Rivers and Brees all in the same division if the cards had fallen that way.

Philip Rivers has been very consistent

Regardless of such, when a QB is consistent so is a franchise. The Browns for example, in nearly 20 years of searching have only just found their first franchise Quarterback in Baker Mayfield.

Rivers took the helm in 2006. He’s taken the Chargers to the playoffs in five of his seasons as a starter and has even made it to an AFC championship game.

But it’s his stats this year that forced me to write this. (all stats as per PFR).

In a crazy season so far he’s completed 69.4% of his throws which have gone for 3638 yards. He’s managed to find the end zone 31 different times (although he has been picked off 8 times).

In a career year all round he’s sitting on an 8.9 yards per attempt in a year where the trend has been short yardage, screens and YAC plays.

Thankfully Rivers does have a few weapons to target starting with Melvin Gordon who’s established himself as a full 3-down back. Then we’ve got the likes of Keenan Allen, Tyrell Willilams and Mike Williams constantly making plays in the passing game. 

Not to mention the forever-man Antonio Gates and Austin Ekeler also stepping up when it counts. 

Unlike most, Rivers doesn’t get sacked often because of his ability to read and pull apart plays so easily, often using Gates, Gordon or Ekeler in the check down game. 

The Chargers are 11–3 this year, battling it out with KCs young gunslinger Pat Mahomes. With two games left, the first at home against the Ravens and finally a game at Mile High with the formerly formidable Broncos defence, the ball seems to be in Rivers court (although I will point out Denver did pull one over the Chargers earlier in the season).

On the defensive side of the ball, we’ve got the dominant Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, the emerging ferocity of Derwin James and then the lieks of Haywood & King also causing carnage. 

He may have the ugliest throwing motion in sporting history but my god he’s fun to watch. 

This is a man that was drafted BEFORE Batman Begins hit our screens. Quite clearly out his era he’s still proving to be one of the best in the game today and without a doubt one of the best ever. 

Football aside, it’s often agreed by those who know him that Phillip Rivers is a good man. A father of 8 (soon to be 9), a Candidate in the 2012 Walter Payton man of the year award and he even went against the Chargers by criticizing the move to L.A. 

Philip Rivers looks almost certain to end his career as a charger, the same way it started. The likes of Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins and Joe Montana all turned out as franchise QBs for multiple teams. 

Some quarterbacks were ran out, some chased the dollars and perhaps others found better opportunities more suiting of their talents but at the end of the day Rivers has stayed loyal to the franchise that made him. 

This year could be the end for the 2004 QB class (Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Phillip Rivers).

Big Ben has stated he’s looking towards retirement, Manning’s play is indicating the end is near if not foregone as shown by OBJ throwing more 40+ yard TDs than him this season. 

So, whilst Ben and Eli (both Super Bowl winners) look to be on their last legs the man without a ring looks like a real Super Bowl contender. Especially after displacing the Chiefs without two of his biggest playmakers. 

 He has the fourth best record in pro football and at least, in my opinion, is now a lock for the playoffs.

Whilst his most productive days might be behind him, one thing is for certain. The Chargers best quarterback in franchise history isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon and even for a Bronco fan I’m happy to see that.

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