Since 2009, the San Diego Chargers have steadily declined. The Chargers leadership has been suspect over the last three years. Their sub-par performance (9-7, 8-8, 7-9) has called into question the quarterback play of Philip Rivers. Charger fans are confused when it comes to Rivers right now and wonder what this NFL season will bring. With new head coach Mike McCoy, the question is: Can the Chargers, with Rivers, make it back to the top of the AFC?
Rivers’ introduction to the NFL was very confusing. The Chargers didn’t want Rivers as their starting QB. They 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 traded him to San Diego for Manning.
Rivers began his rookie season fighting for the starting quarterback job against Drew Brees. Brees won the battle. The Chargers finished that year at the top of the AFC West with a 12-4 record. However, they followed that up with a 9-7 season in 2005, and Brees, after a severe shoulder injury, was traded to the New Orleans Saints.
Rivers excelled in his first year, leading the Chargers to a 14-2 record in 2006. He threw for 3,388 yards, 22 TD, and only 9 INT. The Chargers lost in the divisional game when they faced Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Head coach Marty Schottenheimer was fired, and Rivers was the Chargers’ leader.
What did the Chargers do following Rivers and 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 ten of the NFL most-gutsy performances.
In nine NFL seasons, Rivers has thrown for 27,891passing yards. He is a leader the Chargers can still build a team around. He is only 31; there is still time for him to lead the charge back to the top of the AFC.
That’s what Charger fans are waiting for, and they want to know for sure Rivers is the man to do it.