Here's a rivalry we don't hear about too often: Peyton Manning vs. Philip Rivers. Perhaps, the reason being is that the two have only played each other seven times, including the postseason.That's not a ton of game time to boast of, especially given the length of Manning's career, yet it's always an interesting showdown when these two gunslingers meet up.
Manning has obviously had the more storied NFL career, and the younger Rivers is not on track to match Manning's career figures. With both men now in their thirties, Manning has nearly double the passing yards (62,052) and touchdowns (461) than Rivers. While Rivers definitely has a few more years left in the league than Manning, I don't see him putting up numbers that would allow him to compete with Manning's.
That being said, Rivers has a 4-3 record against Manning, and two of those losses came last year, when Manning became a member of the Denver Broncos. That means that Rivers went 4-1 against Manning during Manning's tenure with Indianapolis, including two playoff victories in consecutive AFC Divisional playoff games.
This has truly been the Achilles heel of both these quarterbacks; they lead their team to excellent regular season records, post league-high stats, and then falter in the playoffs. We saw this just last season with Manning and the Denver Broncos.
What was the best AFC QB rivalry of the early 2000s?
So, while this rivalry may not have the nostalgia of Tom Brady vs. Manning or the sentimentality of Eli Manning vs. Peyton Manning, it's nonetheless very fun and very exciting to see two of the leagues best quarterbacks square off.
Up until recently, the AFC was a four team league: New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts. We'll certainly honor Peyton as a Hall of Famer one day, and Rivers will likely never receive this honor, yet both of these quarterbacks will be remembered as two of the early-2000's most defining players, in what was, without question, an exciting era of AFC football.
On Sunday, when the Broncos take on the Chargers, it will also be Manning taking on Rivers again. Two fierce competitors, great quarterbacks and mutually-respected foes.