Philip Rivers' legendary Chargers career is a tragic, bittersweet story

Philip Rivers was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL throughout his career, yet never really got the full respect that he deserves
Los Angeles Chargers v Dallas Cowboys
Los Angeles Chargers v Dallas Cowboys / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

A player who is not too often brought up when it comes to possible future snubs for the Hall of Fame is former Chargers QB Philip Rivers. Rivers delivered a superstar performance at the most important position in football.

In the realm of this topic, the prevailing issue points squarely at the shoulders of the failures of the coaching staff and the team's former general manager, Tom Telesco.

With everything said and done, Rivers will still likely be a Hall of Famer in the future. He is still a legendary player who will forever be in the record books with his elite stats. However, he was a talent that should have been as regarded at the same level of players such as Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers.

Diving into Philip Rivers' career with the Chargers

Rivers was generally a conservative field general for the most part in 2006 and 2007 - two of the most successful Chargers campaigns in the history of the team. To put it in perspective, Philip Rivers' real career really took off in 2008 after the peak of LaDainian Tomlinson's career was essentially over.

In terms of how most regular football-loving fans of other teams will look at him, Rivers is probably looked at as a great player who just couldn't ever cause damage in the NFL Playoffs and a fringe Hall of Famer.

Let's take a deeper look into a season that should have catapulted Rivers' status to be on the same level as players like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees.

The 2010 San Diego Chargers campaign was unlike any other in the history of the NFL and one that we may very likely never see happen again to any team. Just to lay out a statistical fact for that season - the Chargers ranked number one in offensive yards in the NFL. They also ranked number one in defensive yards allowed.

And they missed the playoffs.

And meanwhile, Rivers kept slinging it. He had one of the worst offensive lines in football with 38 sacks allowed. Yet, he threw for a league-leading 4,710 yards and 30 TD's.

While players like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady had their dimes and whistles throughout that season, Rivers had one of the worst offensive lines in football and rarely any wide receivers to throw to, and still single-handedly catapulted his offense to number one in the league.

Season after season, for fans like us, it seemed like these extraordinary circumstances constantly hindered Rivers' performance. Yet, paradoxically, it only strengthened our connection with him. This is why he has such loyal fans who have stood by him through thick and thin; perhaps it originates from those moments where we almost empathize with Rivers as if he's been unfairly treated.

And it wasn't merely limited to 2010. Throughout his career, Rivers may have had seasons marked by a higher interception rate, but for the most part, he was the quarterback who consistently took to the field, delivering impressive performances with 300-yard passes and three touchdowns.

A lot of the blame has to lie on Tom Telesco. While I still believe there is a reason why Telesco was able to keep his job for over a decade and he has had some amazing pick-ups over the years, his biggest failure lied in one thing: he almost never gave Philip Rivers a good offensive line after 2007.

Year after year, it was the same thing. Bandage players such as Chad Rinehart, Rich Ohrnberger, and Johnnie Troutman were his starting offensive line. Whenever they landed a decent offensive lineman (King Dunlap, Russell Okung) they would always seem to play 3 or 4 games a season. It was unbelievable that Rivers did what he did, with the assets that he had. This was the true reason why he missed the Playoffs so many years.

And he always gave good credit to his teammates.

I wish in a different timeline, that we actually treated Rivers with the respect that he deserved. We should have invested so much more in his offensive line and receivers. Whenever he was given a great weapon, he had the ability to make it shine (Danny Woodhead, Keenan Allen, and obviously Antonio Gates).

And I hope we don't do the same thing with Justin Herbert, because he is that good. Herbert had the best rookie season I have ever seen from any quarterback, ever. And he is arguably just as talented as anyone who has played this game, which is why the signing of Jim Harbaugh was that one move that will save Herbert from the same timeline.

Rivers was a phenomenal talent and die-hard San Diego Chargers fans won't forget how good he was. The only problem is, that only a select amount of people will ever know this.

It's not always bells and whistles. When something like this happens, it's one thing to ignore it and just praise his stats for what they are. But telling the story as it is while he is still a legendary player, it is important to remember the disappointment that he could have been a player that fans talk about as one of the best QBs in the history of the NFL.

Next. rivers best. The 17 best moments in Philip Rivers career. dark