Is he or is he not? Whenever the name Philip Rivers is mentioned and debated about the elite quarterbacks of this generation, the former fourth overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft out of North Carolina State’s name is always mentioned. Is he elite? Is he one of the best to ever play? Is he worth of being in Canton?
Depends on who you ask.
Going into the Los Angeles Chargers AFC Wild Card game against the Baltimore Ravens today—a rematch from a 22-10 loss to the surging Lamar Jackson and a balling Ravens defense—the 37-year-old gunslinger may be close to the end of an amazing career in SoCal.
Stats wise, it’s hard to argue that Rivers isn’t elite or HOF-worthy as he ranks eight-best all-time in passer rating (96.0), fourth all-time in consecutive starts by a QB (217), eight Pro Bowls, 2013 NFL Comeback Player Of The Year, 374 passing touchdowns and 54,656 passing yards alone puts him in the rarefied air of QB immortality.
It’s the post-season that is tragically another story altogether though.
A career post-season record of 4 wins in 13 playoff games, one AFC Championship game appearance, no Super Bowls and simply failing to show up when it counts, as his career stat line in the playoffs is a paltry 1,948 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, nine interceptions, a passer rating of 84.8, while completing 59.5 percent of his passes.
At the end of the day, football is a cold and heartless production-based business, and despite all of his many accolades and accomplishments, the fact that Rivers has never played in the Super Bowl, despite his gaudy numbers, lends some to the argument that he may be a tad bit overrated by some in NFL fan circles.
It also doesn’t help Rivers that he has the misfortune of being sandwiched in between two quarterbacks in Eli Manning—via trade for the No.1 pick—and Ben Roethlisberger taken 11th, who have gone on to win a combined four Super Bowls to his zero.
Again, everyone is entitled to their own opinion of Rivers, but in all honesty, he is the greatest quarterback to never win “the big one”, seemingly destined to join the likes of former Chargers great Dan Fouts, Dan Marino and Warren Moon, is still worthy of some overdue MVP love and consideration for his excellent season he is having in 2018.
Thank to Rivers, this may be the Chargers BEST and most complete team they’ve had in years. The question is, can Rivers finally close the deal?
They have an All-World running back in Melvin Gordon III, another Canton-bound baller in the seemingly immortal TE Antonio Gates, three explosive wide receivers in Kennan Allen, Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin. The defense ain’t to shabby either in defensive ends Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and rookie wunderkind safety, Derwin James.
An argument could be made that THIS 12-4 Chargers team is better and more balanced than the 2006 squad that went 14-2. Again, just an opinion, but something just SEEMS different about this Chargers team than the ones in the past that fizzled out.
Perhaps it’s the early-season adversity of starting 1-2 and winning 11-2 to finish the season. Or the fact that they are battle-hardened in winning games on the road—and across the pond vs. Tennessee—at Seattle, Pittsburgh and Kansas City that gives this team a real “road warrior” type of vibe.
Despite losing to the Ravens at home, one has to like Los Angeles’ chances on the road, as they seem to play better away from Carson.
Prediction: Los Angeles 21 Baltimore 10