Philip Rivers: A True San Diegan

Credit: (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

The first round of the 2004 NFL Draft was one to forget for San Diego sports fans.

Prior to the draft, and after being ordered by his daddy, Eli Manning decided that he would not play for the San Diego Chargers even if they drafted him. The Chargers did what the Chargers do, and chose to draft Eli anyway. Eli stood at the podium, looking like an upset seven-year-old who was told he can’t have cookies before dinner, and refused to put his Chargers draft hat on. A comical moment in Chargers’ history.

Three picks later, the New York Giants selected Philip Rivers, who was then traded for Eli Manning. And this is how San Diego would land their starting quarterback for over a decade.

The best part about that whole debacle, was the Chargers got a quarterback who was excited, fired up, and ready to be a San Diego Charger. An injury to Drew Brees led the Chargers to decide to move on from him following the end of the 2005 season, this putting Rivers as the teams starting quarterback.

The Quarterback

In his first year starting, he led the Chargers to a 14-2 record, where he threw for 3,388 yards and 22 touchdowns. Two season later, he would go on to lead the Chargers to not only their first playoff victory in 13 long years, but he led the team all the way to the American Football Conference Championship game.

Since his strong start, he has gone on to break almost every Charger passing record, multiple NFL records, and moved his way up the all-time NFL quarterbacks list in a number of categories.

In his 13 years in San Diego, he threw for 45,833 yards and 314 touchdowns with a passer rating of 94.7. His 45,833 passing yards and 314 touchdowns are first among all quarterbacks to wear the Lighting Bolt on their helmet in their career. He is also first in games won (97), pass completions (3,811), pass attempts (5,917), game winning drives (26, T-Dan Fouts), seasons with 4,000+ passing yards (eight), seasons with 3,000+ passing yards (11), 400+ yard games (eight), consecutive games with a touchdown (28), and most consecutive starts by a quarterback (176, still current).

He also holds most of the Chargers single-season records as well. He tops it off with most regular season wins (14), pass completions (437), touchdowns (34), game winning drives (5, T-Stan Humphries), passer rating (105.5), and yards per attempt (8.7).

Rivers also has never been one to shy away in the post season. He leads the Chargers post season records with most yards (2,165), completions (164), touchdowns in a game (three) on two separate occasions, and games with a QB Rating of 100+ (four).

Credit: USA Today Sports

Number 17 has also earned himself the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award (2013), NFL passing touchdown leader (2008), NFL yards leader (2010), AFC yards leader (2010, 2015), NFL Alumi Quarterback of the Year (2010), and four times offensive player of the month. Philip has also earned himself six Pro Bowl selections, including this season where he played in it one last time for the city of San Diego. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl in 2014 and 2015 where he declined due to injury and personal reasons.

In 2011, Philip Rivers tore his ACL in a Divisional playoff game against the Colts in Indianapolis. He underwent a secret surgery the very next day. Six days later, Rivers stepped onto the field in Gillette Stadium and was ready to take on the Patriots in the AFC Conference Championship game in what will go down as one of the gutsiest performances in NFL history. It’s worth mentioning that not only did he play that game with a torn ACL, but he pushed himself and recovered in time to be able to start Week 1 of the following season.

Through the years, Rivers eliteness has been questioned due to his lack of rings. Apparently, being number 12 in yards thrown and number eight in touchdowns thrown among ALL quarterbacks who EVER played in the NFL isn’t enough.

He was never able to get a ring in San Diego. Even if he doesn’t get it done in Los Angeles, Philip Rivers will be a first ballot Hall of Famer. His dedication to the game, his drive, his fire, and his will to succeed is one of the reasons why San Diegans were able to be so passionate about this team year after year.

Now that you’ve read all the stats and all of his accomplishments, watch this to get a better idea of what Rivers’ role was in San Diego.

The Man

Philip Rivers has been a devout Catholic his whole life. He married his junior-high sweetheart and the two of them have created eight little Rivers. Philip and his huge family have lived in San Diego all 13 years that he’s played for the team, and they plan to continue to live their even with the team’s departure to Los Angeles.

In 2011, our quarterback was one of three finalist for theĀ Walter Payton Man of the Year award. He and his wife overtook the River of Hope Foundation, which is dedicated to helping foster children. The foundation has raised over $1,000,000 for the San Pasqual Academy (an education campus specifically designed for foster teens) with the help of football camps, fun runs, and personal donations from Philip Rivers himself.

Philip Rivers, alongside Joey Bosa, appeared on Jimmy Kimmel’s show in order to hype up the Chargers coming to Los Angeles. This first question he was asked was if he was happy and excited about moving to L.A. Rivers replied, “Warming up to it a little, that’s 13 years in San Diego.”

So even when the spotlight is on him, when he’s maybe not being pressured, but influenced to be enthusiastic about the team moving to a rival city, he mentions and he honors the city of San Diego. In every post-relocation interview, he makes sure to make it known how much he appreciates America’s Finest City and how leaving is not going to be something that will come easy to him.

The bolo tie, jean pants, and cowboy boot-wearing Catholic has had a huge impact on the city of San Diego. The last 13 years, our quarterback has given everything he has to the city of San Diego. From throwing touchdowns with a torn ACL to helping put foster children in good homes, Philip Rivers has been our quarterback. Our quarterback.

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Derek Cluff
Born and raised for 19 years under a San Diego sports loving roof. Based in Escondido. Developing writer and looking to dedicate everything to bringing the best and most recent San Diego sports news to the world !

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  1. Thank you for giving this tribute to our Felipe Rios. Gotta Love him, and people need to get their bitter blinders turned off so they can see that Rivers is a son in this sad betrayal of a divorce. Go Rivers!!

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