ESPN: “Is Philip Rivers Canton-bound?”

Considering Philip is only entering his sixth season as a starter (preceded by two as a backup), it’s probably a little premature, but still a fun topic to discuss. ESPN’s Bill Williamson briefly takes on this debate in his AFC West Blog, comparing Philip to Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, and Dan Marino, other Hall of Fame quarterbacks without a Super Bowl ring:

If Rivers continues to play at a high level, he could be in the neighborhood of some of these Hall of Fame quarterbacks who did not win a Super Bowl.

Of the active Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, only Rodgers has a better career passer rating than Rivers. Peyton Manning, Brady and Brees have more touchdown passes, and Peyton Manning and Brees have more passing yardage than Rivers since 2006.

“He stacks up with a lot the current guys and the recent Hall of Famers,” Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. said. “I think he is very much in the same class as Kelly or Moon for sure — and maybe even Marino. Longevity will be key, but his lifetime numbers should be off the charts.”

If Rivers (who had a famously speedy recovery from a torn ACL in the 2007 playoffs) can stay healthy, he should make a serious Canton push, ring or no ring.

“The guy has everything,” Horton said. “He’s a son of a coach. He’s a gym rat. He has great skills. He showed last year he can succeed with street free agents because all of his guys were hurt … Philip Rivers is a Hall of Fame type guy, there’s no doubt about it.”

Philip is still in his prime, and likely has another six or seven good years for the Chargers management to get its act together and build a team around him that can win a Super Bowl, in which case, this whole argument is then moot.

What isn’t up for debate was the greatness of Philip Rivers as a college quarterback, which you can revisit just for fun here.

In addition to the comments below, you can discuss this and a variety of other topics on the SFN Forums.

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22 Responses to ESPN: “Is Philip Rivers Canton-bound?”

  1. Master 07/11/2011 at 12:51 PM #

    I have a friend in Atlanta who graduated State in 1981. He bet me several years ago that Rivers would not last 5 years in the NFL. Now he says that Rivers is a loser because he has never won anything. I kind of think he’s just tweaking me because he knows I’ll argue this with him, but he is extremely outspoken about his disdain for Rivers. No argument has changed his mind. I don’t think a vote for Canton would change it either.

  2. bruced123 07/11/2011 at 1:39 PM #

    I knew he belonged after his 1st game as a freshman at NCSU. He just has IT. Your friend in Atlanta is way off on this one. Phillp is the best QB to ever play in ACC hands down!

  3. 61Packer 07/11/2011 at 2:11 PM #

    I wouldn’t say that Rivers is “hands down” the ACC’s best QB ever. Anyone who remembers Roman Gabriel would have to admit that these two were pretty equal (I really liked Rivers a little better). bruced123 got it right about Rivers’ first game, the amazing comeback win over Arkansas State, where he converted several 4th down conversions to save the Pack from an embarrasing home-opening loss. Then there was the spectacular performance in Columbus, and many, many others. Some got it, most don’t; Rivers has IT. All the so-called “experts” who didn’t think he looked “pretty” with his sidearmed delivery didn’t get it either. They’ll probably keep on criticizing Rivers all the way to Canton, which will be ok by me.

    Rivers is one tough competitor. Go Bolts!

  4. TruthBKnown Returns 07/11/2011 at 2:21 PM #

    I don’t know how anyone could have watched Rivers for four years at State, and now in the NFL, and not realize how great he really is. No one is saying he’s the best ever, but he’s a GREAT quarterback. He’s a great leader on the field. Like bruced123 said, he has IT. There’s no debating it.

    If someone still has their doubts at this point, then they have already decided they will never see it. Because any objective observer cannot come to any other conclusion.

    User named “Master”, (sorry, I refuse to call anyone simply “Master”, no offense!) you have one thing on your side that your blind friend in Atlanta will not be able to argue with — statistics. Name the statistic and Rivers is ranked near the top, and if he isn’t, he will be by the time he retires. Except maybe in terms of championships won. But he’s only one man on a team with about 25 starters (if you count kickers). Not winning a championship doesn’t mean someone is not a great QB. There are plenty of great athletes that never won the big game.

  5. LRM 07/11/2011 at 2:22 PM #

    I never saw Gabriel play, and considering the stark difference between the two eras, I can’t make a qualified argument against him. But statistically, as ACC quarterbacks go, Philip stands alone.

    And at the rate he’s setting records in the NFL, there will be no way to leave him out of the HOF, regardless of whether or not he wins a Super Bowl, which is more indicative of the team than the performance at one position.

  6. whitefang 07/11/2011 at 3:35 PM #

    I don’t know if anyone else here saw this or remembers it, but when Rivers was a junior or senior one of the national college fb shows did a profile of him (Gameday perhaps?). Part of this had him in a room where they were flashing photos of defensive sets up on a screen. He was reading and callng plays as fast as they could flip the photos. Basically instantaneously. When I saw that I knew he had what it took upstairs to make it big in the NFL. There are a lot of NFL QB busts where the college performance did not translate, and I suspect most of these are due to not having this skill that he obviously has sidearm be damned.

  7. Gene 07/11/2011 at 4:38 PM #

    “ongevity will be key,”


    If you don’t win a bunch of Superbowls, like Brady or Aikmen, you really need to put up some goofy numbers to get in as a HoF QB.

    With the offensive explosion in the NFL right now, I don’t know what “off the charts” really means.

    Drew Bledsoe and Vinny Testevarde are 8th and 7th, respectively, in passing yards and they aren’t Canton bound. Kerry Collins is 11th all time about a 100 yards behind Joe Montana.

    I really think Rivers needs a minimum of 50,000 yards and 300 TD’s to even be considered for Canton, assuming he doesn’t win a Suprebowl or two.

    I’m not sure, if he will play long enough to pull this off.

    He has 19.661 career passing yards and 136 TD’s.

  8. SaccoV 07/11/2011 at 5:12 PM #

    I will personally drive to Canton for his induction ceremony … especially if the nickname “King Laserface” is engraved somewhere on Philip’s plaque!!

  9. packpowerfan 07/11/2011 at 5:34 PM #

    Sacco, if he doesn’t get in, then YOU BETTA ASK SOMBODAYYYYYYYYYY!!!!

    I had to join in on the KSK fun!

  10. SaccoV 07/11/2011 at 5:58 PM #

    IMO, it seems that Rivers’ career so far in the NFL has mirrored his career at State. When the Chargers have not had a consistent run-game or defense in the same season. Philip has more than lived up to his draft status with some of the numbers he’s put up, and I hope that he finds his way to the hall. I was thinking the other day that he might be Dan Fouts 2.0, except Fouts had a MUCH BETTER receiver core to work with. He’s been the playoffs; he’s dominated his division; he’s made the Pro-Bowl, and that’s not easy considering picks #1 and #2 in his conference are shoe-in HOF’ers. I really like the Moon comparison more than the Kelly comparison because I’ve always felt that Kelly was a system QB. Without the K-Gun in Buffalo, I don’t think Kelly makes four Super Bowls (not to mention Frank Reich’s comeback against Houston in the playoffs).

  11. Sakaspack 07/11/2011 at 6:04 PM #

    ^Master wrote:
    “I have a friend in Atlanta who graduated State in 1981. He bet me several years ago that Rivers would not last 5 years in the NFL. Now he says that Rivers is a loser because he has never won anything. I kind of think he’s just tweaking me because he knows I’ll argue this with him, but he is extremely outspoken about his disdain for Rivers. No argument has changed his mind. I don’t think a vote for Canton would change it either.”

    Your friend doesn’t know much about the position of quarterback does he?

    Did your friend transfer from Gaston Tech?

  12. highstick 07/11/2011 at 6:57 PM #

    I did see Gabrial and he was a far superior defensive player…oh, but Phillip never played both positions.

    Different era and impossible to compare. I’d taken either one in a pickup game though!!

  13. freshmanin83 07/11/2011 at 8:14 PM #

    Comparing him to Marino? I don’t think so. That is way to much of a reach IMO.

  14. john of sparta 07/11/2011 at 9:23 PM #

    Canton? no. +1 to Gene.
    he won’t play long enough.
    and RG was the MAN.

  15. Tau837 07/12/2011 at 12:17 AM #

    To answer the question, yes, I believe he is Canton-bound.

    There is every reason to believe he can have a career like those of Fouts or Warren Moon, who are HOFers, which implies he could fail to win a ring and still make it.

    He just finished his third straight year of absolutely dominant play, and he did it last year without his top weapons, so there is every reason to believe he can maintain his play while his supporting cast changes around him.

    Look at it like this. He is in his prime. He has played 5 seasons as a starter. If he repeats what he did in the first 5 seasons over the next 5 seasons, he will have roughly 40K yards and 270 passing TDs… and he will be just 34. He could easily top 50K and 350 if he stays healthy.

    On top of that, he is #2 all time in passer rating, #4 all time in yards per attempt, and #9 all time in completion percentage. He is one of the most efficient QBs of all time.

    He has been durable throughout his college and NFL career, never missing a start in college or in the NFL. While any player can get hurt on any play, that fact suggests that he has a better than average chance of being able to play out a long career and not missing many games while doing so. And he seems to truly love the game, so it seems likely he will play as long as he can. Those two things mean he will probably end up ranking pretty high in various passer totals. And if he does, he will likely continue to be very efficient in doing so, which should elevate him statistically over a lot of other QB greats.

    Meanwhile, although he is just 3-4 in his postseason career, his regular season winning percentage is among the best of all time. I think QBs get too much credit and blame for wins and losses, but that can only help him.

    And it will be that much easier if one of his teams wins a championship.

  16. JSRy2k 07/12/2011 at 2:49 AM #

    “What isn’t up for debate was the greatness of Philip Rivers as a college quarterback…”
    devil’s advocate in me says Rivers never sniffed a title as a collegiate QB, so in the context of the article his collegiate greatness IS up for debate.

    If you see my point, I’m happy because it’s a sign of your hunger for greater results from State football. If my comment makes you mad, well, please know that I love Rivers the Wolfpacker to death, was at several key games his Fr. yr and had season tix his other three years, plus witnessed the Gator Bowl and @FSU Sr. yr in person. Following his career was some of the most fun I’ve ever had as a sports fan (and Brian Clark’s and TA McClendon’s fumbles in 2003 fueled one of my greatest oh-what-could-have-been heartaches).

  17. Tau837 07/12/2011 at 9:08 AM #

    JSRy2k, as I said in my post, QBs get too much credit for winning and blame for losing. Do you think Chris Weinke showed “greatness” as a college QB? The reason he led his team to a title and Rivers didn’t had much more to do with the huge disparity in talent surrounding them than with anything else, and Weinke had a much better coaching staff as well.

    Your argument is flawed. And saying so in no way means I don’t want greater results from State football.

  18. packalum44 07/12/2011 at 9:36 AM #

    “Is Philip Rivers Canton-bound?”

    Yes. Duh.

  19. Gene 07/12/2011 at 8:29 PM #

    “There is every reason to believe he can have a career like those of Fouts or Warren Moon,”

    When Fouts retired he was only the third QB ever to pass for over 40,000 yards in a career. He’s now 9th on the all-time passing yardage list behind Testeverde and Bledsoe.

    When Moon retired he had just under 50,000 yards passing and was in the top 3 all time behind Elway and Marino.

    Right now Peyton Manning is 3rd all-time with 54,000 yards passing and Moon’s still hanging in there as 4th all-time.

    I think it’s hard to judge, if someone in the middle of their career will be a Hall of Famer.

    Does Rivers have the talent to be a Hall of Famer? YES!!!

    Will he play long enough to put up big enough numbers to get in? Maybe

    Or will he win a Superbowl or two to help his chances out? Maybe

    It’s just hard to say right now.

  20. Tau837 07/12/2011 at 9:08 PM #

    Gene, the point of citing Fouts and Moon was to cite a couple of examples of HOF QBs without rings and state my belief that Rivers will equal or surpass them.

    It’s a question that calls for a yes or no opinion. My answer is yes, and I think it’s an easy call.

  21. JSRy2k 07/13/2011 at 12:04 AM #

    @Tau837: I didn’t make an argument, I said “devil’s advocate in me says…”
    Actually, 2003 is one of the strongest arguments one could make for Rivers’ greatness as a college QB. With a mediocre-bad defense and a shotty running game, Philip Rivers almost single-handedly brought us to within those two fumbles I mentioned of winning the ACC. His stats and leadership were off the charts.

  22. Gene 07/13/2011 at 4:52 AM #

    “It’s a question that calls for a yes or no opinion.”

    I disagree.

    I think there are very few “locks” for the Hall of Fame and absolutely no sure things, when evaluating a player in mid-career, like Rivers is now.

    We’re all just speculating.

    I’m just pointing out what Rivers would have to accomplish to be a “lock” based on numbers versus where he is now in his career.

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