One of the hot-button issues all over social media these days is whether or not
the Chargers should keep Philip Rivers. “You can’t win with that guy.” What has
he ever done?” Even when he had a great offensive line and LT at running back he
couldn’t win in the post-season!” Yes, you see it all on social media.
Personally, I do not believe that the Chargers cannot win with Rivers at the
helm. In my humble opinion, he needs a better line in front of him so that he
has time to throw and the help of a running game to keep the defense honest.
That, however, is not the angle I want to take with this article. I want to go
back in Chargers history and see how well transitioning at the quarterback
position has gone. After looking at the stats, I think Chargers fans need to be
careful what they wish for.
Remember a San Diego quarterback by the name of Dan Fouts? I’m sure you do. He
was the Hall of Fame QB that led the Chargers from obscurity in the early ‘70’s
to one of the most exciting teams in the NFL by the late ‘70’s. He never made it
to a Super Bowl, but he sure was fun to watch. Most Chargers fans give Fouts a
hall pass on his lack of championship rings because of the weak defense the team
had during those years.
When Fouts retired, it was time to replace him. Shouldn’t be a problem to draft
an exciting, young QB and take up right where we left off. In fact, it took four
years and six quarterbacks before the Bolts landed Stan Humphries. Not only
that, but the Bolts recorded a less than stellar 22-42 record over that time.
Here is a list of starting QB’s over the four year stretch without a true field
Billie Joe Tolliver
Are you ready for a string of guys like that to take over the Chargers next
season? Okay, Malone and McMahon had decent careers. The problem was that their
careers had peaked before joining San Diego.
Think that was a fluke? Sorry. Let’s look at what happened when Humphries had to
hang up the old cleats. You guessed it! The Chargers went on a four year, eight
quarterback losing streak. Just a few short years after appearing in their first
Super Bowl, Humphries was gone and it was time to replace him. Again, shouldn’t
be a problem… WRONG!
Over the next seven years, the Chargers tallied an embarrassing 35-77 record.
They could not get out of their own way. Even receiving the second pick in the
draft didn’t help them find the answer. Here is the list of QB’s that tried to
get the Chargers train headed in the right direction:
Jim Harbaugh (yes, that Jim Harbaugh)
Ryan Leaf (yes, that Ryan Leaf)
I know what you are thinking. “Why did he add Brees to the list? He was a stud!”
Fair question. The answer that I will give you is that it took a couple of years
before Brees looked like he may be the answer. In fact, his first two seasons
were so unimpressive that the Chargers decided to draft a QB in the first round
of the 2004 draft! Eli Manning to the rescue! Oh wait, after further review, the
Chargers decide to trade Manning and in return they receive several players with
one Philip Rivers as the cornerstone of the trade.
Fortunately for Brees, Rivers holds out for the first few weeks of camp. By the
time he arrived, it was too late for him to learn the offense in time to start.
Brees would be the starting quarterback for the 2004 season. This result was not
considered to be a lock, or even probable, after the draft. One positive that
came out of Rivers’ decision to hold out was that Drew Brees played inspired
football that season. He played with a chip on his shoulder and led the team to
a 12-4 record. Now he was almost sure to start in 2005 as you can’t bench a QB
who just took you to the playoffs.
Well, the next season wasn’t as impressive and it ended with Brees getting
injured in the final game. Exit Brees and enter Philip Rivers. Ever since then,
it has been Rivers and Rivers alone. His body of work has not been the most
consistent, but he does not miss games and he wins more than he loses (88-56).
That is a lot more than most of his predecessors can say.
So, Charger fan, do you really want to start what history says will be a four to
seven year search for a quarterback and take your lumps until one pans out? Or,
do you agree with me that Rivers has a few years left in him and just needs to
protection and maybe a couple more weapons to get the ball too? Give me your
answer in the comment section below.
Thanks for the read and Go Chargers!