Rivers closing in on Eli, Ben on career passing yards list

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Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was drafted in the same first round of the 2004 NFL draft as Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger. But because Rivers sat on the bench behind Drew Brees for two years, his career numbers always lagged behind his two fellow 2004 first-rounders. That could change as soon as Sunday.

Rivers, Manning and Roethlisberger are now all within 500 career passing yards of each other. Here’s where they rank heading into Sunday:

Roethlisberger 56,545 yards
Manning 56,537 yards
Rivers 56,121 yards

But Rivers remains the Chargers’ starter while Manning has been benched for Daniel Jones and Roethlisberger is out for the season with an elbow injury, so Rivers should end this season comfortably ahead of both Roethlisberger and Manning.

Rivers could pass them both as soon as Sunday night against the Steelers. If Rivers throws for 425 yards on Sunday night, he’ll be first among the three of them (and sixth in NFL history behind Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Dan Marino). More likely, Rivers will eclipse Manning and Roethlisberger in two weeks.

What’s truly remarkable, however, is just how close their career stats are, all these years later. It’s been more than 15 years since the three quarterbacks were drafted, and their career passing yardage is almost identical.

62 responses to “Rivers closing in on Eli, Ben on career passing yards list

  1. It was about the perfect time to come into the NFL as a quarterback. Soon after this came the Ty Law/Bill Polian 5 yard enforcement rule, followed by the extra quarterback protection a couple of years after that. Of all the passing yard records, the two I find most remarkable are those of Dan Marino and especially Johnny Unitas – to put up that many yards in that era is crazy.

  2. When they’re all through, the next race will be the order of their expected HOF enshrinement. The eye of the needle will prevent more than one getting in at a time and if Brady or Brees also retire the same year as one, that will likely bump Eli, Ben or Phillip down the line.

  3. Except that rivers spotted them 2 seasons and all the playoff games that they have played in. Say what you want about rivers, but if we’re talking just a comparison of skillsets, rivers is the best QB of that draft.

  4. One key difference to their careers though. Rivers has never won any superbowls. Kind of a huge deal.

  5. Yet when pundits talk about the top QBs, I bet most mention Rivers more than Ben, which makes me laugh and does not make much sense. And don’t forget who got to play in more Super Bowls, which also includes helping his team get to the Super Bowl in the first place.

  6. In what world is it accurate to call this “career” passing yards? If it is “regular season” passing yards, then call it that. If it is “career” passing yards, then include all the passing yards a player has in his career.

  7. Yeah their numbers are similar but c’mon man, Ben is in a class of his own as he has won almost 1/3 more games that both rivers and Eli. Manning’s saving grace is his playoff record and 2 titles, what does Rivers have? Built in excuses like: he would’ve won 4 championships with that Giants d-line or Steelers coaching. Rivers has been a very good QB for a long time and at times elite. His numbers will land him in the Hall like Fouts but they’re are others who are more deserving.

  8. And for YEARS Ben was called a “game manager” on a run heavy offense.. and has missed many games and now a season due to injury… yet he is still ahead of the #1-2 picks of the 2004 Draft… Ben has never and will never get all the respect he deserves!!

    Oh and 2 rings with 3 appearances… pretty solid for a #11 overall pick!!

    #GoSteelers

  9. It’s impressive that they are all at the same point. Rivers is most impressive, after sitting for so long to start his career. Manning is actually the least impressive, since he had a really long consecutive start streak for most of that time, missed one game 2 years ago due to benching, and has missed a few games this year due to benching, while Rivers was a late starter and Roethlisberger has missed several games with injury or suspension over the years.

  10. mysterytonite says:
    October 12, 2019 at 8:31 am

    what does Rivers have? Built in excuses like: he would’ve won 4 championships with that Steelers coaching.
    ————————————————————————————-
    Literally no one has ever said or even thought this.

  11. I find it hilarious how all these “fans” try to opine and “prove” that this player is better than that player because of PAST accomplishments. Haha talk about hindsight being 20/20. It’s easy to sit back now and say “well yeah Brady is the GOAT because he has 15 rings blah blah”, etc. Takes literally no skill or ability to evaluate talent at all to do that. Let’s see those same people “take the names off the jerseys” and just watch them play, completely irrespective of past accomplishments, and then give insight as to who is more talented and why. Perfect example in this thread. Ben is NOT a better QB than Rivers because he has rings and rivers doesn’t. Grading both QB’s on a “0-100 scale”, Rivers is A BETTER QB, PERIOD. Just like Rodgers is a more TALENTED QB than Brady. Has TB12 accomplished more than any QB ever will? Clearly. But is he more talented/gifted than Rodgers? Absolutely not.

  12. That sure is a lot of qualifiers you guys are throwing in… I think what we should be taking away from this is how successful and great of QB draft class that was/is.

  13. Rivers and Ben will be 1st ballot hof’ers. Eli will likely get in a few years later. I know many will say Eli dosnt deserve it….and they are probably right….but his 2 sb’s coupled with his career stats, coupled with the fact that the media has always loved him, will get him in eventually.

  14. markoramius1893 says:
    October 12, 2019 at 9:06 am
    I find it hilarious how all these “fans” try to opine and “prove” that this player is better than that player because of PAST accomplishments. Haha talk about hindsight being 20/20. It’s easy to sit back now and say “well yeah Brady is the GOAT because he has 15 rings blah blah”, etc. Takes literally no skill or ability to evaluate talent at all to do that. Let’s see those same people “take the names off the jerseys” and just watch them play, completely irrespective of past accomplishments, and then give insight as to who is more talented and why. Perfect example in this thread. Ben is NOT a better QB than Rivers because he has rings and rivers doesn’t. Grading both QB’s on a “0-100 scale”, Rivers is A BETTER QB, PERIOD. Just like Rodgers is a more TALENTED QB than Brady. Has TB12 accomplished more than any QB ever will? Clearly. But is he more talented/gifted than Rodgers? Absolutely not.
    ———
    I understand your argument from a ‘pure passer’ standpoint but there’s more to being a QB than talent right? No one, I mean no one, looks at Brady as ‘more talented’ than Rodgers, or Mahomes, Wilson, etc….but there’s also ‘between the ears’ that matters…..a lot. Reading a defense. When to take a risky throw or simply throw the ball away, not turning the ball over, leading a receiver to avoid a big hit or conversely hitting them in stride, etc….these are measurables the typical fan wouldn’t notice.

  15. Can we stop with the… but but but this generation had this… this one had that… this one was tougher.

    The games changed and continues to, this isn’t baseball. Now get off my lawn.

  16. And in addition to Rivers, the Giants gave the Chargers a #1, #3 and #5…And they still didn’t win a SB.

  17. Considering how the rules and offenses are trending, at some point someone will throw for 100,000 yards

  18. thelastchargersfan says: The Chargers wasted Rivers career. Sad really
    ————–
    Giants wasted it first: look at Rivers’ ratings with iffy teams & HCs compared to Eli on often good rosters & Coughlin – I know I’ve said it before but Rivers-Giants would’ve got 4 SBs.

  19. Xxxsweepthelegxxx
    I understand your argument from a ‘pure passer’ standpoint but there’s more to being a QB than talent right? No one, I mean no one, looks at Brady as ‘more talented’ than Rodgers, or Mahomes, Wilson, etc….but there’s also ‘between the ears’ that matters…..a lot. Reading a defense. When to take a risky throw or simply throw the ball away, not turning the ball over, leading a receiver to avoid a big hit or conversely hitting them in stride, etc….these are measurables the typical fan wouldn’t notice.

    Good points. I just tend to think in terms of “talent scouting” whenever I get in to a discussion as to “who’s better player A or B”. If we were only watching film of them playing, and somehow we didn’t know their names, who would prevail? Most fans seem to think QB’s just go out and win SB’s singlehandedly, and fail to reach a SB singlehandedly.

  20. It’s also a great commentary on how well the teams were managed over these spans. Eli’s Giants 2 for 2 in the Super Bowl, Ben’s Steelers 2 for 3 in the Super Bowl, Rivers 0 for 0. Clearly something wrong with the Chargers’ org since all 3 quarterbacks had equivalent abilities, with all 3 capable in big moments and big games.

  21. markoramius1893 says:
    October 12, 2019 at 8:03 am
    Except that rivers spotted them 2 seasons and all the playoff games that they have played in. Say what you want about rivers, but if we’re talking just a comparison of skillsets, rivers is the best QB of that draft.
    ——
    You can argue that Rivers or Ben are great QBs. Ben especially turned into an elite passer after his first few seasons where he used brute strength and was closer to a game manager than passer. Rivers seems to have always been a very very good passer. And Eli built his reputation on 1. Playing in New York, 2. Being a Manning. 3. Being a good but not great QB on 2 superbowl teams who had great defenses. To me he is simply an above average to good QB. I’ve never seen him as an elite QB

  22. You can argue that Rivers or Ben are great QBs. And Eli built his reputation on 1. Playing in New York, 2. Being a Manning. 3. Being a good but not great QB on 2 superbowl teams who had great defenses. To me he is simply an above average to good QB. I’ve never seen him as an elite QB
    ——————
    Yes his teams defenses were great, but Eli Manning TOTALLY dominated the ’07 and ’11 playoffs and u can’t take that away. say what u want about his regular season performances, but Eli Manning was one of the best playoff QB’s in history, in contrast to Peyton Manning who was very mediocre to bad in the playoffs. He won his first ring with 1 INT and 0 TD because of a running game and the Bears having one of the worst QB performances ever, and his second ring was 100% from the defense and running game. Peyton couldn’t throw it more than 15 yds at that point.

  23. joetoronto says:
    October 12, 2019 at 10:09 am
    Rivers has no rings, the others do.

    Yeah? And Trent Dilfer has a ring but I’m not putting him in the hall of fame. Marino has no rings and I still consider him one of the greatest QBs I’ve ever seen play. I believe this debate is for the true football fan who recognize rings are a team accomplishment even though the QB plays a very important role. For these type of fans the QB evaluation goes much deeper then simple ring counting which I think is a shallow form of evaluation in a team sport where players typically play only offense or defense with some playing on special teams.

  24. I’m not “hating” on Ben or Eli; I actually like both of them. I’m just saying that, objectively speaking, Rivers is the better QB, with respect to individual talent/skill alone. Just goes to show you how hard it is to win the big one in pro football. Even with a stud QB for 15+ years, you can still fail as a franchise if you don’t piece the rest of the puzzle together.

  25. River’s is an “iron man.” The only reason the LA Chargers have a trickle of fans remaining is Philip Rivers. Spanos suggested Rivers would have a new contract this year but was lying. I hope Rivers packs up and moves to another team next year. He’s got three more productive years ahead of him like Brady. Beyond TV revenue sharing which is high, the LA Charger franchise is the lowest in revenues and people are wondering if Spanos can pay his rent in Kroenke’s stadium. The “re-location is a disaster for the franchise and for the NFL.

  26. Regardless of who thinks which guy was better, am I the only one bummed out that the “old guard” of QB’S are on their way out?

  27. Ben 2 Eli 2 Rivers 0 SB rings only stat that matters Rivers and LT both underachieving players with their talented teams they should at least made 1 SB….

  28. markoramius1893 says:
    October 12, 2019 at 9:06 am

    Just like Rodgers is a more TALENTED QB than Brady. Has TB12 accomplished more than any QB ever will? Clearly. But is he more talented/gifted than Rodgers? Absolutely not.

    _________________________________________________________________

    No, he isn’t. That guy can’t read defenses. Rodgers never had a 153.8 perfect passer-rating game, while Brady has had three in his career. When did Rodgers lead the league in touchdown passes four times? How about throw 6 touchdowns in a playoff game? Rodgers has as many 4th quarter comebacks as Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer. Look at game-winning drives. Aaron is tied with Andrew Luck and Cam Newton, of all quarterbacks. Even if you take rings away, there are still loads of things that Brady has achieved that Rodgers hasn’t.

  29. Ask yourself this. After that draft, name one QB taken in the first round that is a real Hall of Fame candidate.

    Three 15 year first string franchise quarterbacks. An amazing combined win loss and superbowl record.

    Think of all the high profile first rounders picked since then, Stafford, Newton, Winston, Bradford, Ryan, Etc. None over shadow this threesome.

  30. Actually. This article has given me something to cheer for. If the Steelers lose to the Chargers this Sunday, I will let the season slide and put my temporary allegiance behind Rivers and the Chargers for a super bowl victory this year.

    I really would like to see Rivers get a SB win. I am not a historian but I doubt any first round QB class has three superbowl winners.

    Marino, Kelly and Elway. Eli, Phillip & Ben. Amazing drafts.

  31. Cleon Ross said: “One key difference to their careers though. Rivers has never won any superbowls. Kind of a huge deal.”

    Your perspective is skewed. Have you heard the phrase, “defenses win championships?” Superbowl winners have great to fantastic defenses. Teams win games.

    Rivers had one year of a really good defense, which was in his 3rd year of playing or 1st year as a starter. It was the defense that let the Chargers down that year, due to, several players not paying attention to the situation on the field. One player in particular intercepted Brady and instead of being situationally aware (catch the ball – get down on the ground) the player wanted the glory of running it back. That glory player was stripped of the ball.

    So, quarterbacks are part of a team that wins Superbowls, but it is the defense that keeps a win, a win.

  32. Of the stat lines that surprised me, Eli’s completion numbers being up there with Ben and Rivers was a bit of a surprise. He had better numbers than I thought.

  33. forthegoodofthegame says:

    October 12, 2019 at 8:27 am

    In what world is it accurate to call this “career” passing yards? If it is “regular season” passing yards, then call it that. If it is “career” passing yards, then include all the passing yards a player has in his career.
    ——-
    In the world we have always lived in in every single sports. No sport considers post season stats as part of a players career stats whether your talking about tds, home runs, 3 pt made or goals career stats is always regular season. Also if you want to make post season stats count towards career than they also have to be counted toward season stats which means new single season records and career records probably just about everywhere.

  34. formerchargersapologist says:

    October 12, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Cleon Ross said: “One key difference to their careers though. Rivers has never won any superbowls. Kind of a huge deal.”

    Your perspective is skewed. Have you heard the phrase, “defenses win championships?” Superbowl winners have great to fantastic defenses. Teams win games.

    Rivers had one year of a really good defense, which was in his 3rd year of playing or 1st year as a starter. It was the defense that let the Chargers down that year, due to, several players not paying attention to the situation on the field. One player in particular intercepted Brady and instead of being situationally aware (catch the ball – get down on the ground) the player wanted the glory of running it back. That glory player was stripped of the ball.

    So, quarterbacks are part of a team that wins Superbowls, but it is the defense that keeps a win, a win.
    ——–
    I think your perspective is skewed. I like Rivers but hes played poor in the playoffs. The year your referring to he completed 14 of 32 passes for 230 yards 0 tds but he threw 1 pick and fumbled once in that game. It’s about a game, not just 1 play. He has also only had 1 season where his playoff qb rating is above 86 and hes thrown 14 tds to 10 picks in the playoffs with 3 fumbles as well. Rivers is a great qb and I like watching him play but he hasn’t played well in the playoffs and his poor play in the playoffs is a big part of why he has never won a superbowl.

  35. Before LA, Philip’s kids would be on the field post game catching passes and running amok. It was a cool sight. I’m pretty sure Jack Murphy was smiling somewhere. We used to have a great time in San Diego.

  36. When you draft a QB early in the first round the hope is that you get a QB who can win a super bowl. Manning and Big Ben each have two super bowl rings. All 3 have had brilliant NFL careers, but Rivers would need a miracle to catch them in the only stat that matters. I’d say if you’re just looking at who the best QB is, regardless of super bowls or stats, it’s Big Ben, and he was the last one drafted.

  37. Sunday Swami said: “I think your perspective is skewed. I like Rivers but hes played poor in the playoffs. The year your referring to he completed 14 of 32 passes for 230 yards 0 tds but he threw 1 pick and fumbled once in that game. It’s about a game, not just 1 play. He has also only had 1 season where his playoff qb rating is above 86 and hes thrown 14 tds to 10 picks in the playoffs with 3 fumbles as well. Rivers is a great qb and I like watching him play but he hasn’t played well in the playoffs and his poor play in the playoffs is a big part of why he has never won a superbowl.”

    The 2000 Superbowl with Trent Dilfer at QB for the Ravens supports my claim, “defenses win championships.”

  38. frankthefightingfanboy says:

    Rivers also closing in on Brady re career temper tantrums.

    __________________________________________

    They don’t call him “Raging Rivers” for nothing, you know.

  39. Formerchargersapologist – Actually the 2000 Ravens support nothing on Rivers not having a superbowl(which is the actual comverstaion). I’ve never said a great defense cant win a championship what I’ve said is actual facts that are relevant to this. Rivers has played poorly in the playoffs in all but 1 season, that has absolutely nothing to do with the defense he had. If he had an all time great defense would he have won a championship? Maybe but those type of defenses are few and far between and if you need an all time great defense to carry your qb to a championship then what’s the point in having a guy like Rivers? Also as for the 2000 Ravens they dont prove what you tried to claim anyway. When only a few teams have won a superbowl because of just their great defense that makes it an anomaly not a sound theory or pattern.

  40. As a fan of an afc west team that is of course a rival of the Chargers its fair ton say that Rivers has frustrated me more than a handful of times…hes a gamer when its time to play and always gives all to his team..people on here are speaking on his playoff record etc but rivers was held back by terrible drafting , weak ownership and a gm who would rather play hardball with a great players in regards to contracts only to watch them walk and weaken his team..rivers on the Giants or Steelers wins the same superbowls if not more as the other two in his draft class

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