Thursday, February 3, 2011
By Bill Williamson
It’s clear San Diego Chargers fans do not hold anything against quarterback Philip Rivers even though Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger will play in his third Super Bowl since he was taken with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2004 draft. Three years ago, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning won a Super Bowl ring. Manning was the No. 1 overall pick of that draft.
Rivers was the No. 4 pick of that draft class. The Chargers ended up with Rivers after a trade with the Giants that involved Manning. Unlike Roethlisberger and Manning, Rivers has not been to a Super Bowl.
Our sound-off question was if San Diego fans think the fact that Roethlisberger and Manning have qualified for a combined four Super Bowls is a direct knock on Rivers? Nearly every response I received did not pin it on the Chargers' quarterback.
I agree. Roethlisberger’s success has nothing to do with Rivers, even though Rivers was taken ahead of him. They are both elite players. Below are some of your responses. Thanks to everyone who participated.
Gregg from Ocala, Fla.: As a Raiders fan, I'm loathe to heap praise on a rival player, but out of the three QB's in the 2004 first round, Phillip Rivers is the best pure QB out of the three. Manning is a David Tyree once-in-a-lifetime catch from being 0-1 in the SB, and let's face it, the Steelers D gave Roethlisberger his first SB against the Seahawks. I can't fault Ben's performance against the Cards as he truly earned that one though. That being said, if Rivers had either stayed with the G-men or been drafted by the Steelers, he'd have his ring too. His problem is he's been saddled with an under-performing surrounding cast and two coaches, Schottenheimer and Turner, who have never been known as great playoff coaches. I don't know what their collective playoff record is, but I'm sure it is well under .500. Jason Campell is okay, but if I had a choice, give me Phil Rivers any day of the week and twice on Sundays.
Adam from Irvine, Calif.: The only reason why Big Ben and Eli Manning have been successful in winning the Super Bowl is mainly because of the dominating defenses they had. Without their team's defense they would not have been as successful in the playoffs. This is more so for Eli Manning as he is only a good, not elite QB in this league. Big Ben is probably one of the most clutch QB's of this era, but you have to wonder if Phillip Rivers had the Steeler's defense would he have won as many Super Bowl rings as Big Ben, or if Big Ben would have won without his defense. In conclusion Phillip Rivers is arguably in the top 5 of elite QB's in this league who is consistently the past couple of seasons has thrown for more than 4,000 yards and with a passer rating of over 100.00. In terms of throwing the deep ball there is no one better in this league. I hope that Phillip Rivers and the Charger organization finally gets over the early playoff exit hump and gets to the Super Bowl and finally bring a championship home to this organization.
Paul M. from San Diego: I've always thought that championships are overrated when referencing individual accomplishment. While the QB may have the greatest impact of the players on the field, the entire team has to be excellent (and healthy) in order to win a super bowl. I don't think anyone on the planet would argue that Eli Manning is a better quarter-back than Philip Rivers, despite his Super Bowl Ring. This applies elsewhere as well...can anyone possibly claim that Nash is not an all-time great Point Guard because he's never played in the finals?
Scott Boissoneau from Berlin, Conn.: On Rivers not being to the SB, I don't think you can put the onus on him. He is arguably one of the best QB's in the NFL. Roethlisberger and Manning had better teams around them to help with their success. Rivers will be there one day!
Joe from Monterey, Calif.: Bill, the fact that Rivers has not reached a superbowl in my opinion is the same reason that Manning did not want to play for San Diego. Management. Their hardline stance with a good majority of their players has alienated them and put a cloud of doubt in their locker room that I think reflects on the field and their attitude to take the step needed to be a perennial contender for the championship. They have had the "parts" to make them a great team for the past 5-6 years but have yet to make the leap to contend for a championship. From my experience as a life long fan of the team, San Diego fans are tired of waiting to see this team have high expectations and fall flat when the opportunity presents itself. Rivers has the same intangibles of any other elite QB in this league, but is slowly following the same career path as Dan Marino. What a waste it would be if he never realized his potential as a superbowl champion (hint A.J. & Dean, don't let his prime years slip away!!!). I will be forever hopeful that he can reach that goal.
Ryan from Houston: It's not a knock on Rivers at all. There's a saying that defense wins championships and if you look at when both the Giants and Steelers won the SB they had very strong defenses with pretty good offenses. San Diego really hasn't had as strong of a defense as the other teams so Rivers has had to carry the team on his shoulders a lot more than either of the other two quarterbacks. Both of them really just had to not screw up to win the SB, wheras Rivers has had to make big plays constantly to even get there let alone win it.
Aaron from Eugene, Ore.: Although Big Ben will be going to his 3rd Superbowl and Eli has won one, I still think that Philip Rivers is the best quarterback of the three. His stats since he became a starter blow away Ben's and Eli's. The only thing missing is a trip to the Superbowl, which is extremely important yes, but I don't think any San Diego fans find Rivers at fault for their playoff woes.
Russ H. from San Diego: No, I don't think that Super Bowl drought is in any way a knock on Rivers. The fact that they get to the playoffs and can't run the ball (Pittsburgh, Jets, Patriots D locked LT down to what, 20 yards a game?), makes them a one-dimensional team, and it doesn't help that their own defense plays like push-over china dolls or doesn't go down with the Tom Brady interception to ice the game and then fumbles it back to the Patriots. Rivers obviously has the most pure talent out of the three when it comes to throwing the ball (See: this year), he's just been plagued by bad luck, soft coaching, and dumb plays that a rough and tough team like the Steelers and Ravens would never give up.