Philip Rivers is probably the most underrated player in the National Football League – and he’s a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, despite the non-stop debate.
Apart from the fact that Rivers hasn’t missed a single game in his career, which would already merit consideration for the above, he’s done so at a Pro Bowl level on countless occasions.
Last night against the Cardinals, Rivers set a new NFL record and a tied another.
His 96.6 per cent completion rate set the new benchmark for quarterbacks who have attempted 20 passes or more which bypassed Kurt Warner. He also completed 25 straight passes – tying Ryan Tannehill in the record books.
And while Arizona are certainly no great shakes as a whole, they came into StubHub Center on Sunday afternoon as the fourth-best team against the pass in the NFL.
Rivers laughed at them and put in one of the all-time great performances, finding Mike Williams twice and Keenan Allen on the Chargers’ way to the rout 45-10 win.
Those 45 points were unanswered, but what absolutely has been answered is the question regarding Rivers’ greatness.
The reasons people give for Rivers not being in the Hall of Fame and one of the greatest of all time are weak. They don’t like his throwing motion: he has a side-arm release in most of his dropbacks that looks awkward.
Some people don’t like his attitude: he talks an awful lot of smack on-field and that led to a rather infamous falling out with Jay Cutler.
But the biggest reason that Rivers isn’t already being spoken about for the gold jacket is because he hasn’t won a Super Bowl.
It’s the one thing that people like to bait him with, when realistically, it’s out of his control.
The 36-year-old has been hampered by poor front office decisions, a relocation that provides him with no home-field advantage, turns eight road games into sixteen and injury luck to team mates that outlasts any sort of voodoo you could imagine.
Rivers’ will to win will never come into question. He played a play-off game against the New England Patriots with a torn ACL a decade ago, which is still one of the most remarkable sporting achievements that nobody ever speaks about.
Realistically, he doesn’t possess the greatness of Tom Brady, nor does he possess the mechanics of Aaron Rodgers.
But to define a career by a single trophy just isn’t right. Instead, Rivers’ career has been highlighted by consistently superb play that has always fallen short of the highest gongs. This has a lot to do with being a west coast team in an area that never truly gets large-scale attention.
He only ended up in San Diego because Eli Manning refused to join the Chargers for that very reason. Funnily enough, Manning’s career contains two Super Bowl rings amid average signal-calling and errors you wouldn’t see at collegiate level.
Rivers might be the forgotten man, but it’s because of everything else other than his actual play. Perhaps both the public and those who vote on the Hall of Fame ballot should realise that.
Sunday night was just another notch in the impressive Alabama-stitched belt belonging to a man who never gets the respect he deserves.