Philip Rivers should have been nominated for FedEx Air Player of the Year
By Matt Pagels
Chargers QB Philip Rivers put up great numbers in 2017, numbers that should have gotten him nominated for FedEx Air Player of the Year.
The FedEx Air Player of the Year nominees were announced. Surprisingly, Chargers’ Philip Rivers was not part of the three-man group. Patriots QB Tom Brady, Eagles QB Carson Wentz and (former) Chiefs QB Alex Smith are the finalists.
Rivers won FedEx Air Player of the Week twice this season for his performances against the Dallas Cowboys (Week 12) and Oakland Raiders (Week 17). The only other players to win twice were Wentz and Smith.
It’s hard to argue against the three candidates. Brady is Brady, a 40-year-old quarterback who led the league with 4,577 passing yards. Wentz was on fire before getting injured; he finished the year with the second-best touchdown-to-interception ratio (33:7) while leading the Eagles to their best record since 2004. Smith set career highs in passing yards (4,042) and touchdowns (26) and led the league in passer rating (104.7).
However, there’s a case to be made for Rivers.
The 36-year-old quarterback finished right behind Brady with the second-most passing yards (4,515). It marked the fifth consecutive season that he passed for over 4,000 yards. He tied for fifth with 28 touchdown passes, and his 10 interceptions (six came against the Chiefs) were the lowest since his 2009 season (he led the league with 21 interceptions the year before). He also finished with the eighth-best passer rating (96.0, min. 300 passing attempts). And, as noted by Pro Football Focus, Rivers threw the most passing yards while under pressure.
Not only did Rivers put up some of his best numbers of his 14-year career, but his stellar play was a big reason why the Chargers went 9-3 in their final 12 games of the season.
The main difference between Rivers and those other three guys is that Rivers and his team didn’t make the playoffs. There’s always next year, right?