Philip Rivers Was the Best QB to Never Play in a Super Bowl

Rivers, 39, is hanging it up after 17 seasons in the National Football League

Philip Rivers Retires As the Best QB to Never Make the Super Bowl
Former LA Chargers and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers is retiring.
Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty

As determined in the countless bar-room discussions that have been held since he retired following the 1999 season with 4,967 completions, 61,361 passing yards and 420 touchdown passes, Dan Marino is the best NFL quarterback to never win a Super Bowl.

Though the above statistics once had Marino (who played in Super Bowl XIX when the Dolphins lost to the 49ers) at or near the top of many of the NFL’s all-time passing lists, he’s since been surpassed by a number of quarterbacks, including Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre, all of whom made — and won — at least one Super Bowl.

Another quarterback who has passed Marino on many of the all-time lists, Philip Rivers, did neither — and now he never will.

On Wednesday morning, the longtime NFL quarterback announced his decision to retire after playing one year in Indianapolis following 16 with the Chargers split between San Diego and Los Angeles.

“Every year, January 20th is a special and emotional day. It is St. Sebastian’s Feast day, the day I played in the AFC championship without an ACL, and now the day that after 17 seasons I’m announcing my retirement from the National Football League,” Rivers said in a statement on the Colts’ website. “Thank you God for allowing me to live out my childhood dream of playing quarterback in the NFL. I am grateful to the Chargers for 16 seasons, and the Colts for the 17th season … Lastly, thank you to my wife and best friend Tiffany, and our children Halle, Caroline, Grace, Gunner, Sarah, Peter, Rebecca, Clare, and Anna. Could not have done it without y’all’s unwavering support.”

Rivers, 39, retires with an all-time record of 134-106, a career completion rate of nearly 65 percent and, as noted in his statement, nine children.

He leaves the game ranked No. 5 in career completions (5,277), No. 5 in passing yards (63,440) and No. 5 in passing touchdowns (421), trailing only Brady, Brees, Manning and Favre in all three categories. Rivers has also started every regular-season game of his career since being named the starter in San Diego in 2006, 240 games in all.

As those numbers bear out, Rivers was an all-time quarterback — during the regular season.

But during the playoffs, he went 5-7 over the course of his career and only advanced to the AFC Championship game once, losing to the Patriots during the 2007 season. The quarterback he lost to, Brady, is about to play for his 14th conference championship. Rivers’s postseason success, or lack thereof, will not be a deciding factor in his Hall-of-Fame candidacy; there is little doubt that he will one day be enshrined in Canton, and that day will likely arrive sooner than later.

Another member of the 2004 draft class that Rivers was a part of, Eli Manning, will probably beat him into the Hall, while two other members of the ’04 class, Ben Roethlisberger and Larry Fitzgerald, will also get in after they retire (which could happen this offseason).

Manning won two Super Bowls, as has Roethlisberger, and Fitzgerald played in one. Rivers did none of those things, an omission on an otherwise stellar resume that will be good enough to earn him a gold jacket, but was never good enough to bring home a ring.

An all-time great but not an all-time winner, Rivers retires as the the best quarterback to to never reach, let alone win, the Super Bowl. Bring it up in a bar sometime in the future. Marino is already settled.

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