After starting off 0-4, Philip Rivers surged back. Rivers, the Chargers’ undisputed starter since 2006, rallied the Chargers back to winning ways. In all, the Chargers won 8 of their last 12 games in 2017, finishing 9-7 to cap off the season. But once again Rivers’ combination of cheerleading on the sidelines and on-field heroics were in vain. The Chargers didn’t make the playoffs. They haven’t since 2013.
Nonetheless Rivers played better than you think. The 36 year old quarterback threw for 96 passer rating, 28 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions in 2017. Good enough to rank Rivers 9th, 5th and 9th among NFL QBs in these metrics respectively. But perhaps even more improtantly, Rivers logged 7.9 yards per attempt (Y/PA) and 7.60 Net Adjusted Yards Per Attempt (ANY/A), two of the better metrics that help us isolate QB efficiency.
Indeed, 2017 Rivers easily bested quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning, in spite of the 4 Super Bowls between them. How? Well, in QB efficiency of course: passer rating, yards per attempt and net yards per attempt. In fact, Rivers’ career numbers in these categories match up with some of the best quarterbacks in NFL History. His career passer rating? An absurdly good 94.6, ranked 8th best all-time. Just behind Peyton Manning. His Y/PA? 11th of all time, ahead of Peyton Manning. His ANY/A? 7th, behind only quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson.
All the aforementioned quarterbacks are going to the Hall of Fame—so shouldn’t Rivers go too? Sure, they’ve all won Super Bowls cementing their status as future Hall of Famers, but Dan Marino never won that prize and still has a golden jacket. The numbers show that Rivers has outperformed expectations in almost every way. The big red dog is the room is Rivers’ lack of playoff success, but that can be attributed as much to lack of franchise support than lack of ability on River’s part.
To compare, Matt Ryan routinely goes to the playoffs with his talented stable of weapons (basically Julio Jones). Yet Ryan has a lower career passing rating, YPA and ANY/A than Rivers. This basic analysis shows us how underrated Philip Rivers is. The calculus also shows us that Rivers is on another level to Matt Ryan, a good quarterback in his own right. River’s incredible overperformance—without studs like Julio Jones to help—lends credence to River’s efficiency rankings that sit on par with Peyton Manning, and ahead potential Hall of Famers’ like Big Ben and Eli Manning.
So say it with me, “Philip Rivers is easily a Hall of Fame quarterback.”