And then there was one.
Come Sunday, Philip Rivers will be the only quarterback left standing from the historic 2004 Draft Class. With a season-ending surgery for Ben Roethlisberger and an unceremonious benching for Eli Manning, Philip Rivers will be the only active representative from this holy trinity of QBs. While it is possible that Manning (or even Matt Schaub!) are forced back on the field this season due to an injury, Rivers stands above them all for his sheer consistency and resilience. Those other QBs have not kept their streaks alive.
As of today, Philip Rivers is tied with Eli Manning at 221 consecutive regular season starts. Manning lost his streak when he was originally unceremoniously benched in 2017, but his early start left Rivers to play catch-up for the last year and a half.
I also feel that it is worth noting that Eli Manning’s streak is incredibly impressive, and shows remarkable durability. He really gave the Giants everything that he had time-after-time; it’s just become increasingly obvious that he didn’t have enough quality fuel left in the tank since he last took the field during a Super Bowl.
OK, so here are a few things we can glean from the current Iron Man standings:
- Brett Favre is a friggin’ machine. At this current rate, Philip Rivers would have to continue to play every game until November 2025 to take the lead. I’m not counting it out, but hoo-boy..!
- If we are counting consecutive starts (including post-season—-which I think we should. It’s not like that doesn’t take a toll on a body), then Rivers is currently at #4 all-time, and will officially tie for #3 this weekend. Petyon Manning is also, it seems, a machine.
- Matt Ryan has the most likely chance of over-taking Rivers and changing this leaderboard. I say this because the Falcons have been very similar to the Chargers for decades. Lots of talent, and lots of continuity at QB. He’s really good, so you don’t need to replace him. Detroit and Seattle, however, seem to be a little more likely to “begin a new era.”
- Tom Friggin’ Brady is on the list TWO DIFFERENT TIMES. That is absolutely nuts to me.
- Philip Rivers currently sits at a 3-way tie for Iron Man starter streak among all NFL positions. By the end of the season, if he continues pace, he will officially be #4 of all time.
- Brandon Carr, CB, is currently the next-closest NFL starter Iron Man at 178 starts. Matt Ryan is #3.
- Philip Rivers doesn’t even crack the top 25 of consecutive games in a row for games played (don’t have to start). That’s insane! He will, in fact, crack that list by October. However, current active player L.P. Ladouceur (Dallas) edges Rivers out by 2 games. That’s right- Rivers isn’t the current streak leader among active players!
So, there you go! Rivers can really jump up the historic leaderboards this season. In any event, he will be making history this week, and is already in very rare company.