The Los Angeles Chargers enjoyed one of their best runs as a franchise with Philip Rivers behind center. The veteran quarterback never missed a start after emerging as the starter following drew Brees' departure in 2006, a streak that famously included Rivers playing in an AFC Championship Game on a torn ACL. The Chargers won 123 games against 101 losses with him as a starter, their highest sustained winning percentage since the halcyon days of Dan Fouts.
Rivers' play with the Chargers will eventually land him in the team's Hall of Fame and, perhaps, the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It also earned him a spot in Pro Football Focus' list of the 101 best players of the past decade.
64. QB PHILIP RIVERS
Rounding out the bottom half of the second-tier of quarterbacks, Rivers has had a few ups and downs throughout his career, but he had six top-10 finishes during the decade. Even when it doesn't look pretty, Rivers has the anticipation and feel to mitigate a decrease in arm strength, and he remains productive at all levels of the field. Even more impressively, Rivers played behind one of the worst pass-blocking offensive lines for the better part of the decade, yet he still stood in there and made big-time throws at a high level. The big criticism for Rivers is the lack of postseason success, but he's one of the most underrated regular-season quarterbacks in NFL history and clearly one of the top eight signal-callers during the 2010s.
Though Rivers' lack of playoff success separates him from peers such as Tom Brady, Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and others, one cannot simply overlook the level of dominance he exhibited during the regular season. Though the Chargers provided a loaded supporting cast early in Rivers' tenure as a starter, most of those key players (LaDainian Tomlinson, Vincent Jackson, Darren Sproles) left before Rivers played his best football. The veteran signal-caller earned five Pro Bowl nods from 2011 to 2018, the last of those coming in a year where Rivers generated MVP discussion until the final stretch of the season. While he had talent to work with -- namely Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler -- Rivers established himself as the catalyst behind the offense rather than a mere game manager.
Rivers now has the chance to make a final championship push with a well-stocked and well-positioned Indianapolis Colts squad. If he finds a way to earn a ring, it would go a long way toward securing his legacy outside of Southern California.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH