It was all set; the San Diego Chargers were going to have Eli Manning as their franchise savior. He was going to be the guy to lead the ‘Bolts to a place only Stan Humphries had ever been before, but I imagine even Charger fans want to forget that beat-down they got at the hands of Steve Young and the San Francisco 49ers.
Manning was a stud at Ole Miss and looked about as can’t miss as his older brother, Peyton did at Tennessee. There was only one problem though, Eli didn’t want to play in San Diego. Let me make that statement again because it is tough to believe anyone would not want to play and live in the most perfect city in the country, but Eli didn’t want to play in San Diego.
So with Eli forcing their hand, the Chargers went ahead and made a deal with the New York Football Giants. That deal would change the shape of the NFL for at least a decade, with both teams really benefitting.
The Giants got Manning, who has led them to two Super Bowl victories, including ruining the Patriots perfect season in 2007, along with two Super Bowl MVP’s. Meanwhile, the Chargers got Philip Rivers, whose 95.7 passer rating is 4th best in NFL history among quarterbacks with at least 1,500 passing attempts.
But the Chargers weren’t done there, as part of the deal included picks that would end up being kicker Nate Kaeding, LB Shawne Merriman and eventually, OT Roman Oben. Not a bad haul for the Chargers. Now, it hasn’t gotten them to a Super Bowl yet, but that has more to do with the fact that the AFC has the Patriots, Steelers, Colts, Broncos and Ravens. All of whom have been very good to dominant in the Rivers era.
So why are we talking about this trade some 11 years later? Because it now appears that the Chargers will be the only team Rivers ever plays for. Over the weekend, he signed a 4-year extension worth over $83 million including over $65 million in guaranteed money, the most of any QB in the NFL. What is really unique about this deal, especially for the NFL is that it includes a full no-trade clause.
They are pretty common in baseball, but not so much in the NFL.
The biggest hang-up on Rivers signing a deal was the rumors of the Chargers moving up north and back to Los Angeles. Rivers said it was more about his love for San Diego than his hatred for LA (six of Rivers seven children were all born in San Diego) and with his wife expecting their eighth child, he wanted his large family to be raised in San Diego.
Don’t go reading anything into Rivers finally signing the deal though. LA is still very much in play for the Chargers, along with the Raiders, the Rams and an anonymous fourth team (I have made several phone calls and that fourth team is the Jaguars). But $65 million guaranteed will buy a lot of tickets on Amtrak to and from San Diego to LA.
With a stadium in Carson, CA (just outside of LA) being given the green light, both the Chargers and Raiders, who have been talked about as co-tenants have been willing to switch divisions if they do share the stadium to make scheduling easier.
So if the Chargers and Raiders both end up in Carson, could the Chargers move to be in a division with the 49ers and Rams? Could the Raiders and Colts be in the same division? Yes, all of it is on the table still. The only thing we can be sure of is that Philip Rivers will be under center for the Bolts until the end of his career