Chargers Rank 10th in QB Play During Super Bowl Era
Jason B. Hirschhorn
This week, ESPN ranked all 32 teams by the quality of quarterback play during the Super Bowl era (1966 to present). While the Los Angeles Chargers have only reached one Super Bowl during that stretch, they have more consistently performed at a high level behind center than all but a few clubs, including stretches with a Hall of Famer (Dan Fouts), future Hall of Famer (Drew Brees), and a possible Hall of Famer (Philip Rivers).
10. Los Angeles Chargers
Best QB: Philip Rivers. Rivers, one of most productive quarterbacks in NFL history, ended his Chargers career with an ironman streak of 224 straight starts. But all those numbers haven't added up to a Super Bowl appearance. He has the most wins, touchdown passes and yards of any QB in NFL history without a Super Bowl start. That's still plenty to be the best QB in franchise history and a future Hall of Famer. If you're wondering again, where are the Steelers?!?! Rivers and Hall of Famer Dan Fouts combined to post a higher career Approximate Value than Ben Roethlisberger and Terry Bradshaw. They also outproduce the Pittsburgh duo in most counting stats, besides Super Bowls, which weren't part of the criteria.
ESPN also included the Chargers' worst quarterback from the Super Bowl era (Ryan Leaf, former No. 2 overall pick) and released a fantasy projection for 2020 first-round pick Justin Herbert's rookie season (16 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 3,118 passing yards, and 185 fantasy points).
While the Chargers' run of quarterbacks doesn't contend with, say, the Green Bay Packers or San Francisco 49ers, few other franchises can lay claim to so many top passers. Rivers alone would rank as the top signal-caller in franchise history for a sizable portion of the league, and Fouts' run in the 1970s and '80s exceeded all but a few of his contemporaries.
Though the Chargers still have plenty of work to do in order to carve out a niche in the Los Angeles market, they have plenty of history to draw on when it comes to the most important position in the sport.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH