The San Diego Chargers have had a playoff drought since 2009. That was Philip Rivers’ fourth year as their starting QB. The Chargers have followed that with three long years of sub-par performance (9-7, 8-8, 7-9), and head coach Norv Turner lost his job. Can the Chargers, with Rivers, make it back to the playoffs?
Even Rivers’ beginning in the NFL was controversial. The Chargers originally drafted Eli Manning with the first pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. Manning, however, refused to play for them, so the New York Giants selected Rivers with the number four pick, and then shuffled him to San Diego for Manning.
After the Chargers released Doug Flutie, Rivers began his rookie season (2004) fighting for the starting quarterback job. However, Drew Brees beat him out. The Chargers finished that year at 12-4. However, they followed that up with a 9-7 season in 2005, and Brees was traded to the New Orleans Saints.
Rivers excelled in his first year, leading the Chargers to a 14-2 record with the highest fourth quarter QBR in NFL history. The Chargers lost to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the divisional game. Then head coach, Marty Schottenheimer, was fired, and Rivers was starting over.
2007 brought the Chargers a new coach (Turner) and a new challenge. How do you top a 14-2 record? They went 11-5, but they made it all the way to the AFC Championship. Rivers played that game with a torn ACL. His teammates and the press heralded his toughness, and he was ranked in the top 10 of the NFL most-gutsy performances.
Rivers nine years in the league speaks for itself, 27,891 passing yards, 189 TD and 93 INT. He has a strong arm, but I’m sure he has thrown some passes he now wished he wouldn’t have. But he is a man the Chargers can still build a team around. He is only 31; there is still time for him to lead the Chargers back to the playoffs.
That’s what Charger fans are waiting for, and this may be the year Rivers gives them another playoff team.