Why Philip Rivers Is a Top-Five Quarterback in the NFL

Old AccountSenior Writer IJune 23, 2009

SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers prepares to snap the ball during the NFL game against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium on December 28, 2008 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Last week, I talked about Aaron Rodgers and whether he should be a top-five quarterback. We will do a more interesting one in Phillip Rivers.

Philip Rivers has always been one of the more talked about quarterbacks in the league.

Coming out of NC State, Rivers was originally selected by the New York Giants.

However, in a draft day deal, Rivers and Eli Manning swapped teams, and he ended up on the Chargers.

Though he has not won a Super Bowl like Manning or Ben Roethlisbergerwho was also taken in the first roundstatistically, he has been the best quarterback of the three.

In 2006, he began to rise, throwing for 3,388 yards with 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

In 2007, he threw for 3,152 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions, which did take a step down.

However, the 2008 season showed the breakout of Philip Rivers, who put up Pro-Bowl numbers by throwing for 4,009 yards, 34 touchdowns, and eleven interceptions, including a passer rating of 105.5.

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These numbers showed the type of quarterback Rivers truly is: one that will throw for a lot of yardsincluding the touchdown passeswhile being efficient with the football, which is most important.

Yes, you can make the argument that it is easy to throw for that many yards.

However, the running game was still being issued with LT struggling, and Sproles performed better than expected.

Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers aren't exactly the receivers you can always count on, and Gates has been facing injuries a few times over the years.

His performance on the field is just a part of the equation.

Rivers showing clutch in the regular season is another way to show he is a top-five quarterback.

On paper last season, the Chargers were one of the favorites, no doubt about it.

Injuries to the defensive side, which included Merriman, did take a toll as there was a big drop-off from a few seasons ago when they were in top season form.

There was great stress on the offense and, with Tomlinson not performing, more pressure was put on Philip.

However, he stepped up to the task.

In the final weeks of the season, he won two divisional games, one against Kansas City and one against the Denver Broncos, to close out the season.

If all of these facts are in his favor, why isn't he looked at as a top-five quarterback?

Most likely, it is because he has not earned a trip to the Super Bowl.

Rivers has put up solid numbers in a few playoff performances even with not being supported by the greatest cast of an offense.

If Dan Marino is considered an NFL great without winning a Super Bowl, why shouldn't Rivers be considered a top-five quarterback?

For this list, you have Manning/Brady at the top, Big Ben has found his way into the mix, along with the rest in question marks, as it is a very tight down the rest of the board.

Rivers has put up the stats to prove his worthiness, and it is time he gets the respect he deserves.

This respect is joining the elite of top-five quarterbacks in the National Football League.

Matt Miselis is a writer for BleacherReport.com. He is also a writer for SportsChatPlace.com, and a weekly writer for FootBasket.blogspot.com. Miselis also hosts his own show In The Bleachers, which is on BlogTalkRadio.com.

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