The greatest quarterback in LA Chargers franchise history has decided to hang ’em’ up. Philip Rivers announced on Wednesday that he would be retiring from the NFL at the age of 39 after 17 seasons in the league.
Rivers was with the Chargers for 16 seasons, acting as the starting quarterback for 14 of those seasons. He gave it one last go with a Super Bowl-caliber roster on the Indianapolis Colts in 2020, falling just short of beating the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card Round.
Charger fans already had to learn to say goodbye to their long-time quarterback, something that was made easier by the fact that Justin Herbert burst onto the scene so quickly. The feeling this morning is much of the same.
We have no more great on-field Philip Rivers moments to look forward to; no more incredible mic’d up games in which Rivers gives us all a lesson in PG-rated trash talking. There are two things to look forward to: Rivers’ eventual number retirement ceremony with the LA Chargers, and his eventual Hall of Fame induction.
Yes, Philip Rivers will — or at least should — get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
LA Chargers: Why Philip Rivers is a Hall of Famer
First, I want to address any naysayers that think Rivers is not a Hall of Famer. The biggest argument against Rivers is a lack of overall success. He never made it to the Super Bowl, he only made it to one AFC Championship Game and his career 134-106-0 record is good, but not great.
We cannot argue that Rivers was the most successful quarterback in terms of winning, but he also did not get as much help as some of his peers. Put Rivers on the Pittsburgh Steelers or New York Giants with the defenses that they had and Rivers also would have likely won a Super Bowl.
It does not even matter though, as there have been less successful quarterbacks get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. LA Chargers franchise legend Dan Fouts is a perfect example. While he had a higher ceiling, Rivers broke all of Fouts’ franchise records and was better in both the regular season and playoffs.
Fouts is a Hall of Famer and people do not blink twice.
Warren Moon never won a Super Bowl, was never an All-Pro and had just one more Pro Bowl nod than Rivers. Rivers finished with a better record, more yards, more touchdowns, had a better completion percentage and threw interceptions at a less frequent rate.
Moon was significantly better than Rivers with his legs but not enough to make up for the gap in the passing differences. Yes, Moon was also amazing in the Canadian Football League, which is part of the reason why he got in. Moon is a Hall of Famer — and rightfully so — and Rivers should be as well.
The proof is in the pudding. Philip Rivers ranks eighth all-time in wins, fifth all-time in yards, fifth all-time in touchdowns and has an interception rate that is lower than Fouts, Moon, Peyton Manning and even Brett Favre. His career passer rating is better than Dan Marino, better than Johnny Unitas and, you guessed it, better than Favre.
Rivers may have never reached the level that Tom Brady, Manning, Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers reached and playing in an era where those guys also played made Rivers fly under the radar. He may have never been the best quarterback in the league, but dadgummit, he was always near the top, consistently, for a decade and a half.
If that is not enough to convince you then consider this: Philip Rivers is a gamer. He never missed a start as the starting quarterback and even played the AFC Championship Game on a torn ACL.