San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers received most valuable player votes in 2008 and 2009. Rivers finished sixth in MVP votes during the 2008 season when he completed 65 percent of his passes for 4,009 yards, led the NFL in quarterback rating, led the league in touchdown passes with 34 and only threw 11 interceptions on 30 pass attempts per game. Former Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning won the award as he completed 67 percent of his passes for 4,002 yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions on 35 pass attempts per game.
Manning led quarterbacks in game winning drives that season and was tied for second with Rivers in comebacks. Indianapolis had a 12-4 record while San Diego finished the season at 8-8. Although football is a sport in which it is impossible for one player to take over a game unless he can miraculously play on defense, offense and special teams, every MVP from 1978-2011 played on a team that won at least 10 games with the exception of former Washington Redskins kicker Mark Moseley and former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders. Washington had an 8-1 record in a strike reduced 1982 season when Moseley won. The Lions were 9-7 in 1997 when Sanders split the vote with Brett Favre, but Detroit made the playoffs, Sanders was 53 yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson‘s single season rushing record and he was tied for third in rushing touchdowns.
Rivers finished third in MVP votes during the 2009 season when Manning repeated. Rivers completed 65 percent of his passes for 4,254 yards, 28 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The Chargers finished with a 13-3 record that season. San Diego fixed their offensive line issues because Rivers had 15 touchdowns and 17 interceptions through 10 games in 2011, but 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions in his last six games. Rivers finished 2011 ranked sixth in passing yards, seventh in completion percentage and eighth in touchdown passes. The loss of Vincent Jackson could hurt, but Jackson missed 11 games in 2010, had all of his touchdown receptions in one game that year, did not catch a pass in another game and Rivers led the NFL in passing yards that season while throwing 30 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Also, as I stated in one of my previous articles, Robert Meachem will be a better replacement for Jackson than Legedu Naanee was in 2010. San Diego also has a better primary running back than they had in 2010, which will open up the field for Rivers.