However, he is barely ever mentioned in the "top quarterbacks in the NFL" discussion.
I usually hear a mixture of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, followed by Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Michael Vick in some order. After that, it's up for grabs. Some say Rivers, some say Ben Roethlisberger, some even suggest Matt Ryan.
What am I missing?
Roethlisberger and Ryan aren't even comparable, and Rodgers is the only one that comes close to Rivers out of that second tier. Before you jump down my throat, let me show you a few statistics from last season that you may have overlooked.
QB Rating: Brady first, then Rivers.
Completion Percentage: Brees, Manning and then Rivers.
Passing Yards: Rivers.
Average Yards per Completion: Rivers.
Yards per Game: Rivers.
Passes of 20-plus Yards: Rivers.
Passes of 40-plus Yards: Rivers.
I think you get the point. Philip Rivers is a one-man wrecking crew. The only other number that I didn't mention that is relevant is his 30-13 TD:INT.
You might be thinking to yourself, statistics don't matter, he obviously was throwing it the most!
Rivers is so effective at throwing the ball down field, the amount of throws it takes for him to accumulate these otherworldly numbers is small. He ranked seventh in the NFL in passes attempted.
The next myth I need to destroy is that he only does it because he has such a talented offense.
Last season, while I will grant you that there were very talented players on the offense, most of them were injured for a majority of the season.
Antonio Gates, the best tight end in the NFL, and Rivers' favorite target? He was only available for 10 games, and in some of those games he was only playing at half strength. Though he caught 10 touchdowns, there are few who will argue that last year was even close to one of his best seasons. He was clearly hampered by the foot injury for most of the year.
Vincent Jackson, Rivers' top wideout? He skipped the first 11 games of the season during his holdout, and returned to produce just 14 catches in five games.
Malcom Floyd, one of the biggest receivers in the NFL, and another one of Rivers' favorite downfield targets? He too was extremely limited, appearing in only 11 games.
By the end of the season, do you want to know who Rivers was putting up those ridiculous numbers with?
Legedu Naanee and Seyi Ajirotutu.
Ask yourself this: If Tom Brady or Peyton Manning did what Rivers did last season, wouldn't they be praised by everyone (once again) as "making their teammates better," or "being a true leader," or my favorite, "making something out of nothing?"
Of course they would!
However, Philip Rivers gets almost no recognition. None.
The last part that people always tend to forget is the leadership and toughness that Rivers has displayed throughout the years.
Case in point: In 2007, with the undefeated New England Patriots hosting the beaten-up San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship Game, Philip Rivers played through a TORN ACL. In the same game that future Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson famously sat out because of...what was it again? A cold? Philip Rivers played the game with a torn ACL.
When Tom Brady or Peyton Manning does that, you can question Rivers' leadership.
The final lesson I want to impress upon you is this: Rivers, unlike any other quarterback in the NFL, has been at a peak level for the last three consecutive seasons.
In the last three years, Rivers has:
1) Been above a 100-rated quarterback three times.
2) Thrown for over 4,000 yards three times.
3) Completed more than 65 percent of his passes three times.
You can go check. He is the ONLY quarterback to be able to accomplish those things in the last three years.
So the next time you hear someone discussing "the best quarterbacks in the NFL," make sure you bring Philip Rivers into the discussion. Not only is he one of the most dominating statistical quarterbacks since 2008, he is one of the most consistent, durable and effective.
Philip Rivers, at least in my book, is the third best quarterback in the NFL right now.
If he's ranked lower than that in your book? Then he is underrated, plain and simple.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments section below. If you are a Chargers fan, "like" this page and "retweet" to all of your followers! Thanks for reading!
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