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A real breakout season is defined as a player reaching to new heights, statistically as well as winning-wise. In his six years as a starting quarterback, there is only one place Rivers hasn't been:
All too often, analysts give their rehashed, same-point view on the Chargers: "Their window is closing." Since 2006, the Chargers' window has been closing. Maybe it's time to accept that the window may be past its closing and starting to open back up.
Although the team's strategy changed entirely once LT left his prime, the Bolts have still managed to make the playoffs in five of the last six years, and haven't recorded a sub-.500 season since 2003.
Yes, San Diego's MVP-winning running back is long gone, and his window for success has passed; why do experts associate this with the success of the entire organization?
Philip Rivers is on the verge of entering his prime, which will land him in the top tier of NFL quarterbacks. The defense is as good as it was during the 2006 campaign (in which the team finished 14-2). The receivers are all young and improving every year.
The only argument that could be made is the diminished running game. But how important is a running game to a team's success anymore?
In 2007, the Superbowl featured the Colts, led by Manning, and the Bears, led by their defense; '08, Tom Brady's Pats versus Tom Coughlin's defensively-geared Giants; '09, Kurt Warner and the Cards lost to Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain defense; '10, Manning and Brees; and most recently, Rodgers against Big Ben.
Not once since 2006 has any team in the big game been led by a running back; in 2006, Shaun Alexander's Seahawks made it out of the NFC.
This is a clear and apparent pattern: Philip Rivers can be a Superbowl-winning quarterback with or without a running attack.
This isn't just a breakout year for Rivers—this is a breakout year for the Chargers' franchise.
It's time to win a Superbowl.