We all heard the talk in the offseason, and I am certain that even if Philip Rivers tried to ignore it, he heard it too. There were a lot of Philip Rivers critics over the summer. He was no longer considered an elite quarterback, and there were questions if he ever was an elite quarterback.
The questions were fair and unfair at the same time. It seemed fair to question some parts of Rivers' game. He was very turnover-prone throughout the 2011 and 2012 seasons, as he turned the ball over 59 times, and after he failed to throw for 4,000 yards in 2012, the critics came out in full force against Rivers.
It was fair to question why he was turning the football over so much and why the team was frankly giving away and blowing so many opportunities over the past couple of seasons.
Was it coaching, was it the players around Rivers or was it Rivers himself?
Certainly Rivers was part of the problem, but this season he proved that the problem had nothing to do with him not being able to play the game at an elite level.
Rivers was elite all season, resulting in a Pro Bowl appearance, a playoff appearance for the San Diego Chargers and their first playoff victory since the 2008 season. Rivers did all of this with a new head coach and a very unlikely cast of characters.
When Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd both went down with season-ending injuries, the questions came up about who Rivers would be able to throw the ball to. Antonio Gates was obviously the go-to guy, but some other players would have to step up.
Keenan Allen did more than step up as had an unbelievable rookie season for the Chargers. Eddie Royal and Vincent Brown proved to be reliable threats for the San Diego offense. Danny Woodhead came out of the backfield and had over 600 yards receiving. Ladarius Green and Seyi Ajirotutu each caught two of the biggest touchdown passes of the season.
Give credit to all of these players, but it all happened because Philip Rivers once again proved that he is an elite NFL quarterback.
All season, there were only a handful of quarterbacks that proved they were better than Rivers. Those guys were Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Nick Foles, but outside of those players, was there anybody who was really much better then Philip Rivers?
This outstanding season from Philip Rivers has not only accelerated the rebuilding process, but it may have taken the Chargers past the rebuilding stage. He showed not only that he is elite, but that the Chargers have the ability to be one of the elite teams in the NFL next season.
Are they Super Bowl contenders yet, maybe not, but why not?
In Philip Rivers and Mike McCoy's first season together, they put together an offensive juggernaut that can score on any defense in the NFL. With a full offseason to develop Keenan Allen more, further build the offense, bring back some injured players and incorporate them into the offense and a chance to bring in some new faces, the Chargers will be back next year and should be even stronger.
San Diego was the comeback team of the year and the leader of their comeback deserved nothing more than to be the Comeback Player of the Year.
There is not a more deserving player of this award than Philip Rivers.
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