Is San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers a modern day version of Dan Fouts? Like Fouts, is Rivers a quarterback who will put up huge numbers and win games, but never take San Diego to the Super Bowl?
Fouts was a record setting passer for the Chargers in the 1970’s and ’80’s. He led San Diego to the playoffs four consecutive years from 1979 to 1982. In 1980 and ’81 they lost in the AFC championship game. Despite a career that earned him a place in the hall of fame, Fouts never won a championship.
Rivers is currently in that same place. He has done everything that a quarterback can do except win a Super Bowl. He has made the Pro Bowl four times. He has led the league in quarterback rating, touchdown passes and yards. He has taken his team to the playoffs four times without reaching the Super Bowl.
Rivers is in his ninth season out of North Carolina State. He was drafted fourth overall by the New York Giants in 2004 then traded to San Diego for Eli Manning. Going into the draft it was believed that Rivers and Manning were 1 and 1A at the position with Ben Roethlisberger close behind. Manning was taken first overall and Roethlisberger eleventh by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In his career Rivers has thrown for almost 25,000 yards with 167 touchdowns and 79 interceptions. He has thrown for more than 4,000 yards in four consecutive seasons with a league leading 4,710 in 2010. In 2008 he led the league with 34 touchdown passes.
The Chargers have a record of 65-33 in games that Rivers has started. They have won four AFC West titles. In 2007 Rivers led the Chargers to the AFC championship game where they lost to the New England Patriots. In that game he played with a torn ACL in his right knee. San Diego’s last playoff appearance was in 2009.
Fortunately there is still time for Rivers to get it done. Health permitting he should have at least five good years left in his career. The Chargers have always been able to get good talent to put around him. Years of experience have made him a better quarterback. And in today’s NFL you don’t have to be great to win a Super Bowl, just very good.
If Rivers does not get to a Super Bowl, being compared to Fouts is not a bad thing. By the end of his career Rivers should have better numbers and more wins. Any comparison to Fouts may help him to get into the hall of fame.
However, for right now the modern day version of Fouts would like to put a, ‘Yeah, but.’ in the comparison.
As in, ‘Yeah, but Philip Rivers won a Super Bowl.’