Colts QB Philip Rivers Proud of NFL Start Streak

Phillip B. Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS — Philip Rivers has always prided himself in being there for his NFL teammates.

His reputation for 16 NFL seasons as a team-first guy who always fights begins with always showing up on game day.

As he prepares this offseason for his first year with the Indianapolis Colts after being the Chargers franchise quarterback since 2006, Rivers has a streak of 224 consecutive regular-season starts, which ranks fifth in NFL history. Counting the playoffs, that number is 235.

He needs six more consecutive regular-season starts to surpass Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, who played for the Houston/Tennessee Oilers/Titans franchise from 1983 to 2001 and was a 14-time Pro Bowl selection and voted First-Team All-Pro nine times. Counting playoffs, Rivers would need 10 more consecutive starts to surpass Matthews.

Rivers was asked in a recent Zoom video conference call about what his streak means to him. The question included a reference to how Rivers will now play games at Lucas Oil Stadium, which has a statue of legendary Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who is tied for 12th in NFL history with 208 consecutive regular-season starts from 1998 to 2011.

“I was always aware of his streak as well,” Rivers said of Manning. “That’s one streak or one thing that has always meant a lot to me.

“I think there are a lot of things that go into that, right? I have been blessed enough to be healthy enough to be out there. There is an element of toughness to it. Also, it means your guys are protecting you. There are so many things involved that allow you to be able to suit up each and every week, but that’s always been important to me to be available and to be out there every Sunday that I could be.”

Rivers, an eight-time Pro Bowl honoree, ranks sixth in NFL history in both passing yards (59,271) and passing TDs (397). His list of Chargers franchise records includes both of those categories as well as games played (227), wins (123) and almost every single-season passing mark.

“I’m thankful that’s been 220-something plus in a row,” Rivers said. “Certainly, the desired hope is to keep that thing going.”

He acknowledges Peyton and Eli Manning as well as Brett Favre for their longevity. Favre has the league record at 297 regular-season starts, and 321 counting the playoffs. Eli Manning, who retired last year, made 210 consecutive regular-season starts, which ties for 10th.

Counting the playoffs, Peyton Manning’s consecutive start streak was 227, which ranks ninth. Eli Manning, counting playoffs, is at 222, which ranks 12th.

“I always admired that about Peyton and obviously about Brett Favre, Eli as well, and many guys,” said Rivers, who turns 39 in December. “There are some circumstances that you can’t help it and I certainly understand that, but I always thought those guys being out there each and every week – I’ve always admired that about those guys and always wanted to be in that group from a standpoint of being available every Sunday.”

(Phillip B. Wilson has covered the Indianapolis Colts for more than two decades and authored the 2013 book 100 Things Colts Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. He’s on Twitter @pwilson24, on Facebook at @allcoltswithphilb and @100thingscoltsfans, and his email is phillipbwilson24@yahoo.com.)

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