(Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Philip Rivers, after retiring earlier in the 2021 off-season, has had a very solid career. Rivers will most likely be a Hall of Famer once he is eligible. Now the bigger question: is Rivers actually Hall of Fame worthy?
Rivers came into the league in 2004 in the same draft class as Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger; the latter have won two Super Bowl titles each. Rivers played in 16 seasons and started in 240 games. His ability to be on the field and playing through injuries is an accomplishment in itself. Let's take a look Rivers' career stats:
Passing Yards: 63,340
Passing Touchdowns: 421
Completion Percentage: 64.9
Rivers has more passing yards, TDs and less INTs compared to fellow draft class mate Manning. Rivers current all-time ranks are as below:
Passing Yards: 5th
Passing Touchdowns: 5th
Completion Percentage: 14th
Interceptions: Tied for 23rd
These numbers, when viewed at first glance, are Hall of Fame worthy. However, let's look a bit further. When we say the names of Dan Marino, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning etc., we, without hesitation, consider them to be the the elite quarterbacks of all-time. With Rivers, it's a bit more complex.
Rivers never won regular season MVP, Offensive Player of the Year or was voted to first/ second-team All-Pro. Rivers has never finished in the top five in any of the major categories that QBs are mostly defined by, such as TDs, yards and completion percentage. Furthermore, when looking at Rivers post-season success or lack thereof, he is only 5-7 in 12 games played. Rivers has been to just one AFC Championship Game in his 16 seasons! Heck, even Mark Sanchez went to two AFC Championship games. Let's not attribute to the lack of success to the lack of talent around Rivers either.
With players such as Antonio Gates, LaDainian Tomlinson, Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon etc., Rivers has had talent on his teams. He just never was able to quite put the team on his back and carry it to a Super Bowl title. He's never had those big moments like Manning to Tyreek Hill or Ben to Santonio Holmes. Some might point to bad coaching around him as well, but as well all know at the end of the day wins and losses lie with the quarterback no matter what.
Rivers has had good solid career, but it will not be enough to get him to the Hall of Fame; at least on the first go around. There's not one season going back to 2004 in which you can clearly say that yes, Rivers was dominant that season. Peyton Manning had dominant regular seasons, as did Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady. Although one could make the argument that neither Eli nor Big Ben have had those dominant regular seasons either but each have two Super Bowl rings to their resume.
This is not a knock on Rivers. He has had very solid all around career. Any team would love to have Rivers fire, passion and dedication to the game. However, we are talking about Hall of Fame worthy or not. In fact, the amount of modern day quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame who have either never won a Super Bowl or never been first-team All-Pro is zero!
The Hall of Fame is for those who you define as being an all-time great, not all-time almost great or all-time very good.
By: Sukhwant Singh