Does Philip Rivers belong on a list of the top 25 quarterbacks in NFL history? Despite what one expert says, we say yes.
One thing most sports websites out there love to do is their historical lists. Sometimes they are great while others it’s something that brings several chuckles before you finish the read.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com is one who often puts out such lists and he recently ranked the top 25 quarterbacks in NFL history. With all due respect to him and his knowledge of the game, there is one glaring omission.
There’s no Philip Rivers.
Now, Harrison does mention Rivers. However, mention him is all he does. How could a list of the 25 best quarterbacks of all-time not include Rivers?
At one time, I talked about how Rivers is the best quarterback to not win the Super Bowl. I stand by that. However, let’s take off our Chargers glasses and powder blue boxer shorts and look at this list objectively.
If you want to say that Rivers isn’t top five or top 10, fine, not a problem. But how is Rivers not in your top 25? Aside from being an 8-time Pro Bowl selection, here is where he ranks in NFL history.
54,656 (8th in NFL history
374 touchdown passes (6th in NFL history)
95.6 career passer rating (8th in NFL history)
64.5 percent completion percentage (9th in NFL history)
257.8 yards passing per game (12th in NFL history)
26 fourth-quarter comebacks (tied for 13th in NFL history)
118 wins (Tied for 9th in NFL history)
208 consecutive starts (Tied for 11th in NFL history among all players, active leader)
That last number, the consecutive starts, is something that sets him apart from the rest. Being available for your team is important and only one quarterback on Harrison’s list (Brett Favre), has been more available than Rivers.
Rivers may fall short on the team accomplishments. His team has missed the playoffs many times and that may be what leads Harrison to leave him off his list. After all, Ben Roethlisberger, who was selected in the same draft as Rivers, is on the list. But if not for his two Super Bowl wins, would he be there? Almost certainly not.
So if we’re going to make the case for Rivers, at least one of these guys needs to come off. Which of Harrison’s top 25 could be removed in favor of Rivers?
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Len Dawson: Not to take anything away from the AFL, but his career stats are just nowhere near on par with those of Rivers, who has thrown for nearly twice the yards and has 135 more touchdown passes. Oh, and he’s done that in less amount of time than Dawson, who played in 19 seasons.
Rivers would be higher than a handful of these guys on a top 25 list, but just to get him on this particular list, he should be favored over Dawson in a comparison that really isn’t that close. Yes, Dawson did win the Super Bowl along with three separate AFL titles, but team accomplishments only go so far on a list of individuals.
Hopefully, Rivers can convince the mainstream media and its analysts that he is a top 25 quarterback before his career ends. Unfortunately, he made need to win a Super Bowl for that to happen. Until then, former players such as Dawson, Bart Starr and even Tom Brady will probably be rated a little higher than they probably should be.
However, Rivers’ numbers speak for themselves.