Greatest Chargers quarterback of all time: Philip Rivers
Those that argue in favor of Fouts as the greatest quarterback in franchise history would argue that recency bias is helping Philip Rivers' case. And while recency bias is a very real thing, that is not the reason why he is the best quarterback in franchise history.
The numbers simply don't lie. As trailblazing as Fouts was, he still ranks behind Rivers in all-time passing yards and touchdowns. Rivers is the most decorated quarterback in franchise history and if he would have played in Fouts' era in that offense he would have been better than Fouts. It is not Rivers' fault he was overshadowed by Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
Rivers has a better lifetime record, 123-101, and he made the playoffs six times as opposed to Fouts' four. Could you make the case that Rivers had better teams early on in his career? Sure. But he also had some really bad teams around him that he carried to relevancy.
Only six other quarterbacks in NFL history finished their career with at least 60,000 passing yards and 400 passing touchdowns. If we bump those numbers up to 63,000 passing yards and 420 touchdowns, both of which Rivers has, then there are only four other quarterbacks to do so. Those four quarterbacks are Brady, Manning, Drew Brees and Brett Favre.
It is a real shame that Rivers could never get a Super Bowl ring as bad luck and his own franchise often got in the way. If Marlon McCree doesn't fumble against the New England Patriots in 2006 then Rivers' legacy is probably completely different. But at the end of the day, he is still the best QB in franchise history.