Is Philip Rivers a Hall of Fame quarterback?
While the critics are likely to jump the gun with a resounding "no," the question should be given much more serious consideration.
Statistically, there is no comparison between Rivers and the other two.
He is more productive:
- Rivers: 241.6 passing yards per-game.
- Roethlisberger: 234.8 passing yards per-game.
- Manning: 232.7 passing yards per-game.
He puts more points on the board:
- Rivers: 5.4 touchdown percentage.
- Roethlisberger: 5.0 touchdown percentage.
- Manning: 4.7 touchdown percentage.
He's more accurate:
- Rivers: 63.7 completion percentage.
- Roethlisberger: 63.0 completion percentage.
- Manning: 58.6 completion percentage.
He's more efficient:
- Rivers: 6.94 adjusted net yards per attempt.
- Roethlisberger: 6.43 adjusted net yards per attempt.
- Manning: 5.94 adjusted net yards per attempt.
And he protects the ball better:
- Rivers: 2.6 interception percentage.
- Roethlisberger: 2.9 interception percentage.
- Manning: 3.3 interception
You'll note the trend of Rivers ranking first, Roethlisberger ranking second and Manning ranking third in all the above categories. It's ironic knowing that many people would rank the three quarterbacks in the opposite order.
They'd be wrong.
Because not only has Rivers performed at a higher level across the board, but he has managed to be able to do so with perhaps the weakest supporting cast of the three.
Manning has had Plaxico Burress, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham to throw the ball to at various points in his career. Roethlisberger has had Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Mike Wallace catching his passes.
Roethlisberger rode the coattails of an elite defense to two championships while Manning did the same, albeit, with weaker defenses that stepped up to elite levels in the postseason.
Rivers has thrown to a trending-downward Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson who began to develop before the Chargers let him go. Beyond that, there have been a lot of receivers who have never been notably productive in their entire careers.
When Rivers won the passing title in 2010, he became the first player in over 20 years to lead the NFL in passing while not having a single one of his receivers eclipse the 800-yard receiving mark.
That's 4,710 passing yards divided among 17 players to catch a pass from Rivers.
Gates led the entire team with only 782-yards receiving.
Rivers has managed to do things with less support than Manning and Roethlisberger. While many will be quick to mention "rings" in support of the latter two, it is no coincidence that they both rank below Rivers in terms of "individual performance" across the board.
Keep in mind, Roethlisberger won his first Super Bowl by completing nine of 21 passes (42.8) for 123 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions.
His passer rating in Super Bowl XL was a horrendous 22.6.
In his second Super Bowl season, Roethlisberger completed 59.7 percent of his passes for only 3,301 yards, 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
His passer rating (80.1) and total QBR (46.82) both ranked 24th in the league in 2008.
And still, people wonder why he has been accused of coat-tailing his way to two championships.
During Manning's first Super Bowl season, he led the entire league with 20 interceptions. The QBR had yet to be developed, but Manning's abysmal 73.9 passer rating ranked 25th in the NFL.
Overlooking these serious deficiencies in individual contributions to those championships is to prove yourself incapable of rationally analyzing the game. Regardless of the end result, one cannot ignore the steps taken to get there.
2013 only continues to accentuate Rivers' dominance.
Coming into the season, some had dubbed Roethlisberger a "sleeper MVP candidate," which may seem laughable now.
Manning has not been much better, once again leading the league in interceptions (seven in only two games).
Rivers ranks second to only Peyton Manning with a total QBR of 82.48—which is astounding considering that he came into 2013 with one of the weakest receiving corps in the league.
Manning ranks 23rd (43.92) and Roethlisberger ranks 28th (31.76).
Rivers is tied with Aaron Rodgers, ranking second only to Peyton Manning with seven touchdown passes.
Dating back to Week 13 of the 2012 season, Rivers boasts a 15-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio.
While his individual performance placed him ahead of both Manning and Roethlisberger years ago, his dominating performance in 2013 continues to separate Rivers from the rest of the 2004 draft class pack.
Ryan Michael is a Senior Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter at: @theryanmichael.
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