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Philip Rivers
refer to caption
Rivers with the Chargers in 2017
No. 17 – Indianapolis Colts
Personal information
Born: (1981-12-08) December 8, 1981 (age 38)
Decatur, Alabama
Height:6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight:228 lb (103 kg)
Career information
High school:Athens (Athens, Alabama)
College:NC State
NFL Draft:2004 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2019
Pass attempts:7,591
Pass completions:4,908
Passing yards:59,271
Passer rating:95.1
Player stats at

Philip Michael Rivers (born December 8, 1981) is an American football quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at North Carolina State. He was drafted in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft with the fourth overall pick by the New York Giants, who traded him to the San Diego Chargers for their first overall pick, quarterback Eli Manning. Rivers has been selected to the Pro Bowl eight times, and was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2013.

Rivers began his career backing up starting quarterback Drew Brees in his first two seasons. After Brees signed with the New Orleans Saints following the 2005 season, Rivers led the Chargers to a 14–2 record in 2006, his first season as a starter. In 2007, he helped the Chargers win their first playoff game since 1994 after beating the Tennessee Titans in the wildcard round of the 2007 playoffs and eventually led them to the AFC Championship Game. In 2020, after 16 seasons with the Chargers, Rivers signed a one-year contract with the Colts.

Rivers' career passer rating of 95.1 is tenth-best all-time among NFL quarterbacks with at least 1,500 passing attempts, and he also ranks sixth all-time in both passing yards and touchdowns.[1] He is second all-time in consecutive regular season starts by a quarterback in NFL history, having started every regular season game since 2006.

Early life

Rivers was born in Decatur, Alabama, where his father, Steve, was the head coach of Decatur High's football team and his mother, Joan, was a teacher.[2] Rivers went to Decatur then moved to Athens. As part of a fifth-grade project, he had to make a poster about his dreams and aspirations. On the poster, he pasted his face over that of a Minnesota Vikings player who had appeared on a cover of Sports Illustrated.[3] Rivers' first start in an official game came in the seventh grade, in 1994. He has worn the number 17 jersey since the ninth grade, in honor of his father, who wore the same number in high school. After his dad got the head coaching job, Rivers played high school football at Athens High School in nearby Athens.[4][5]

As Rivers's senior season unfolded, he established himself as the best prep passer in the state. Although he had offers from Auburn and Alabama, neither projected him as a starting quarterback. Rivers rejected them in order to go to a program where he would have more playing time.[6] The first college to seriously recruit Rivers as a quarterback was North Carolina State. Joe Pate convinced Rivers and his parents to consider graduating from high school in December 1999.[7]

College career

After high school, Rivers attended North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he played for coach Chuck Amato's Wolfpack football team.[8] Rivers enrolled in January and suited up for his first practice as a college quarterback in the spring of 2000.[9]

As a freshman in 2000, Rivers led NC State to an 8–4 record, including a win against Minnesota in the MicronPC Bowl.[10] Four of the Wolfpack's victories were comebacks. In his debut, a 38–31 double-overtime win over Arkansas State, he passed for 397 yards and three touchdowns. He directed a 74-yard game-tying drive as time expired.[11] A week later, he threw for 401 yards in a 41–38 win against Indiana. The performance was highlighted by a timely 47-yard pass to future first round pick Koren Robinson with under a minute to go.[12] Against Duke, NC State trailed 31–28 late in the fourth quarter when Rivers scored a rushing touchdown on a seven-yard run. Rivers threw for a season-high 413 yards to go along with three touchdowns and one interception[13] For the season, Rivers passed for 3,054 yards and 25 touchdowns. He broke a half-dozen school passing marks, was ACC Rookie of the Week a record eight times, and earned honors as the conference Freshman of the Year.[14] For the first time since Roman Gabriel ran the Wolfpack offense in the early 1960s, NC State had an All-American caliber quarterback.

As a sophomore in 2001, Rivers connected for 2,586 yards and 16 touchdowns.[15] His 65.2 percent completion mark led the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The Wolfpack finished the 2001 campaign at 7–4 and made a return trip to the Tangerine Bowl. The quarterback had a great game against Pitt in a 34–19 loss, passing for 189 yards and a touchdown.[16]

In 2002, Rivers led the Wolfpack to victories in their first nine games.[17] It was the best start in the school's history. The season took a disappointing turn however when they lost three consecutive ACC contests, but NC State defeated Florida State by a score of 17–7 in their season finale, and received an invitation to play against Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl. Once again, Rivers delivered an MVP performance in the most important game of the year, pacing the Wolfpack to a dominating 28–6 win over Notre Dame. In the victory, Rivers was 23-of-37 for 228 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.[18] The game would set up a remarkable year for Rivers in 2003.[19]

As a senior in 2003, Rivers threw for 4,491 yards and 34 touchdowns in 12 games, capping his career as the most productive and durable quarterback in ACC history.[20] The season started with a 59–20 victory over Western Carolina where Rivers had 320 passing yards and three passing touchdowns.[21] The Wolfpack suffered their first loss of the season in the next game at Wake Forest despite Rivers throwing for 433 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.[22] In the following game, a loss at Ohio State, he had 315 passing yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions.[23] After a win over Texas Tech the following game, he passed for 423 yards and a touchdown in a victory against North Carolina.[24][25] In the second half of the season, Rivers strung together three consecutive games with great passing performances. He had 369 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in a victory over Duke.[26] The next game, he had 410 passing yards and four touchdowns in a victory over Virginia.[27] Lastly, he had 422 passing yards and four touchdowns in a loss to Florida State.[28] Rivers' time at NC State had a great ending, leading the Wolfpack to a 56–26 win over Kansas in his third Tangerine Bowl.[29] In the victory, he threw for a career-high 475 yards and five touchdowns. Philip earned his fourth straight bowl MVP award. At the end of the season, Rivers was named ACC Player of the Year[30] for the 2003 football season and ACC Athlete of the Year for 2003–04. He was considered a Heisman candidate during the season,[31] but he was not invited to the Heisman Trophy presentation.

During his collegiate career, Rivers shattered almost every NC State and ACC passing record. He started 51 straight games and completed a conference record 1,147 passes in 1,710 tries, with 95 touchdowns. His career culminated with an NCAA record 51st consecutive college start.[32] The Wolfpack went to four consecutive bowl games under the leadership of Rivers, winning three of them. Rivers finished his career at NC State with 13,484 passing yards, 13th all-time among Division I quarterbacks (he finished in second place at the end of his collegiate career). He also threw 95 touchdown passes, which tied him for eighth all-time with Kliff Kingsbury and Brady Quinn. Rivers' number was retired before his final home game at North Carolina State.[33]


Year Team Passing Rushing
Cmp Att Pct Yards Avg TD Int Rtg Att Yards Avg TD
2000 NC State 237 441 53.7 3,054 6.9 25 10 126.1 73 −87 −1.2 2
2001 NC State 240 368 65.2 2,586 7.0 16 7 134.8 44 −26 −0.6 2
2002 NC State 262 418 62.7 3,353 8.0 20 10 141.1 57 100 1.8 10
2003 NC State 348 483 72.0 4,491 9.3 34 7 170.5 78 109 1.4 3
Career 1,087 1,710 63.6 13,484 7.9 95 34 144.2 252 96 0.4 17


Professional career

Rivers was projected to be an early first-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. However, despite Rivers's record of success in college and remarkable accuracy (72% completion percentage for his senior season), questions about his lack of arm strength and his unorthodox side-arm throwing motion were concerns for some NFL GMs. The pre-draft consensus was that Rivers could be selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 11th pick. The San Diego Chargers coveted Eli Manning and wanted to select him with their first round pick, which was also the first overall pick of the draft. However, after Eli Manning indicated before the draft that he would not sign with them. Rivers was their first alternative because the Chargers head coach at the time, Marty Schottenheimer, had coached him at the Senior Bowl and he liked what he saw. The Chargers agreed to a draft day deal with the New York Giants. San Diego selected Manning first, then traded him to New York for Rivers, taken by the Giants fourth, plus draft picks later used by the Chargers on future Pro Bowlers Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding.

Rivers was one of seventeen quarterbacks taken in the 2004 NFL Draft, along with Ben Roethlisberger, and Eli Manning.[35] Both Roethlisberger and Manning have won multiple Super Bowls. The quarterbacks drafted in 2004 have been compared favorably to the Quarterback class of 1983, which included Hall of Famers John Elway (1st pick), Jim Kelly (14th), and Dan Marino (27th).[36]

San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers

2004 season

In August 2004, Rivers signed a six-year, $40.5 million contract with the San Diego Chargers that included $14.5 million in signing bonuses.[37] However, due to a protracted contract negotiation with the San Diego Chargers, Rivers only reported to the team during the last week of training camp, and incumbent Drew Brees retained his starting job. Rivers began the season as the Chargers' third quarterback option, behind Doug Flutie,[38] and ahead of the fourth quarterback on the depth chart, Cleo Lemon. Unfortunately for Rivers, Brees went on to have a then-career year and was named to the NFL Pro Bowl while winning the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award.[39] Rivers received very limited playing time, playing in only two games. He only threw passes in the second half of the last game of the 2004 season, a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, by which time the Chargers had already clinched a home playoff spot and the AFC West division title. In the victory, he threw his first touchdown pass to fellow rookie Malcom Floyd.[40] He was not on the active roster for San Diego's Divisional Round playoff loss to the New York Jets.[41]

2005 season

Rivers handing off to LaDainian Tomlinson  in Baltimore in 2006.
Rivers handing off to LaDainian Tomlinson in Baltimore in 2006.

Rivers was promoted to second on the Chargers quarterback depth chart after Flutie was released.[38] Rivers was unable to beat out Brees for the starting quarterback job in the Chargers' 2005 training camp and preseason. In the Chargers' final game of the 2005 season, at home in Qualcomm Stadium, Rivers entered the game after Brees dislocated his right shoulder late in the second quarter due to a hit from Denver Broncos safety John Lynch.[42] Rivers completed 12 of 22 passing attempts for 115 yards with one interception and two fumbles.[43] The Chargers lost to Denver, 23–7. However, Rivers led the Chargers on their only scoring drive that game, which culminated in a four-yard touchdown run by running back LaDainian Tomlinson.[44]

2006 season

Rivers in Baltimore in 2006.
Rivers in Baltimore in 2006.

After the 2005 season, Brees was not re-signed (partly due to the injury suffered in the Denver game) by the Chargers. Instead he signed a large contract that included sizeable guaranteed money with the New Orleans Saints, during the 2006 free agency period. Many[who?] doubted the Chargers' decision to change quarterbacks as they were a Super Bowl contender, believing that Rivers' inexperience would hinder them. Rivers was named the Chargers' starter going into training camp. Expectations were high for Rivers due to the large amount of talent on the San Diego Chargers' offense and the performance of his peers from the 2004 draft (Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger) as starters.

Football Outsiders projected that Rivers would become an NFL star before the 2006 season due to his spectacular completion percentage in college (72% as a senior). After just five NFL starts, Rivers was named the second best NFL quarterback under 25 years of age by Sports Illustrated.[45][46]

On September 11, 2006, Rivers made his first NFL start against the Oakland Raiders. Rivers managed the game well despite only passing 11 times, but completed 8 passes, one for a touchdown, in a 27–0 rout of the Raiders. After his first game, Rivers led the league in QB rating with 133.9.[47]

The fifth week of the season, the reigning Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers came to town, and Bill Cowher's defensive game plan revolved around stopping running back LaDainian Tomlinson. This game marked a turning point for Rivers, who, aided by head coach Marty Schottenheimer's opening of the playbook, led the team in a come-from-behind victory, throwing 24-of-37 for 242 yards and two touchdowns, winning 23–13.[48]

On November 12, 2006, Rivers had the best game of his short career and led the Chargers to an improbable comeback on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals. Down 28–7 at halftime, Rivers led the Chargers on six drives culminating in touchdowns. After driving in for the Chargers first touchdown after halftime, Nick Hardwick, the Chargers' center, reminisced about Rivers, mimicking his southern drawl, "He's yelling 'Y'all don't think we're out of this' to the Bengals. When he said that, I said, 'Shoot, I guess we ain't out of this. Right on.'"[49] He threw for 337 yards and three touchdown passes, while LaDainian Tomlinson scored three of their four rushing touchdowns. San Diego outscored Cincinnati 42–13 in the second half, winning the game 49–41, matching the biggest comeback in 23 years for the Chargers.[50]

The following week against what was considered at the time to be a strong Denver Broncos defense, the Chargers became the first team in NFL history to win back-to-back road games after trailing by 17 or more points and also the first team to win four straight when allowing at least 27 points in each game.[51] Rivers led several 4th quarter comebacks in 2006, and posted the league's highest 4th quarter quarterback rating. His performance over the season led to his selection to the 2007 Pro Bowl.[52] After a 14–2 season the Chargers had home field advantage and were set to play the New England Patriots in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. However, the Patriots won that game 24–21, and Schottenheimer soon after lost his job.[53][54][55]

2007 season

Norv Turner took over as head coach of the Chargers in 2007.[56] Rivers started the 2007 season with 190 passing yards and an interception in a 14–9 victory over the Chicago Bears.[57] After a 1–3 start, the Chargers turned their season around, finishing 11–5 and winning the AFC West for the second straight year.[58] On October 7, against the Denver Broncos, he recorded a career-high 151.4 passer rating from going 13 of 18 for 270 yards and two touchdowns in the 41–3 victory.[59] The Chargers also won their first two playoff games since the 1994 season, beating the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card Round and the Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional Round before falling to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game 21–12.[60][61][62] In the 2007 AFC Championship Game, Rivers' was lauded by his teammates and the press for playing the entire game with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which later required surgery and was ranked among the NFL Top 10 Gutsiest Performances.[63][64] Chris Harry of the Orlando Sentinel said "I don't think anyone will ever accuse Philip Rivers of being soft."[63] Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune said, "To go out there and put his knee, and ultimately his career, on the line. It has to go down as one of the gutsiest performances."[63]

2008 season

Rivers in Kansas City in 2008
Rivers in Kansas City in 2008

In 2008, Rivers led the NFL in multiple categories including touchdown passes (34), passer rating (105.5), yards per pass attempt (8.4), and adjusted yards per attempt (8.8).[65][66] In Week 2, against the Denver Broncos, he had a season-high 377 passing yards, three touchdowns, and one interception in the 39–38 loss.[67] On December 28, 2008, Rivers set the Chargers team record for touchdown passes in a season with 34, a record previously held by Dan Fouts, who had 33 in 1981.[68] After a 4–8 start, Rivers threw 11 touchdown passes and one interception to win the final four games of the season, winning the AFC West division on a season-finale 52–21 tie-breaking win over the Denver Broncos.[69] On January 3, 2009, in the Wild Card Round, the San Diego Chargers defeated the Indianapolis Colts to advance to the AFC Divisional Playoff.[70] Rivers led the Chargers down the field down three points with under two minutes left. He set up Nate Kaeding for a game-tying field goal that would lead to overtime, where the Chargers would go on to win 23–17, thanks to a Darren Sproles touchdown. In the Divisional Round 35–24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Rivers played well, throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns, but was sacked four times and threw an interception. They possessed the ball for only 17 seconds during the third quarter and had only 15 yards rushing.[71]

2009 season

On August 24, 2009, Rivers signed a six-year, $92 million contract extension with the Chargers, with approximately $38 million guaranteed.[72] Rivers was voted into his second career Pro Bowl on December 29.[73] He ended the season with a passer rating of 104.4, the third highest in the NFL, after passing for 4,254 yards, 28 touchdowns, and only nine interceptions.[74] For the second consecutive year, he led the NFL in yards per attempt (8.8) and adjusted yards per attempt (9.1).[65][66] He led the Chargers to the second seed in the AFC with a 13–3 record, tied for second best in the NFL.[75] In the Divisional Round, Rivers was 27–40 for 298 yards while rushing and throwing for a touchdown and was intercepted twice in the 17–14 loss to the New York Jets.[76]

2010 season

Rivers led the league in passing yards, throwing for a career-high 4,710 yards – 10 yards more than second-place finisher, Peyton Manning.[77] The Chargers started off the year slowly again at 3–5 and finished a disappointing 9–7 and their four-year reign as AFC West champions ended while they missed the playoffs.[78][79] In Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks, Rivers threw for 455 yards and two passing touchdowns in a losing effort 20–27.[80] These 455 yards broke the franchise single-game record for most passing yardage, previously held by Dan Fouts, who had 444 in 1982.[81] Rivers recorded 431 and threw two passing touchdowns, but lost to the Oakland Raiders in Week 5.[82] In Week 8, Rivers threw for 305 yards, with two passing touchdowns and one interception in a 33–25 win against the Tennessee Titans, extending his active player-leading streak to 21 games with a touchdown thrown and giving him the record for most passing yards (2,649) ever after 8 games, passing Fouts' previous record (2,580).[83][84] Rivers threw for four passing touchdowns, two to backup tight end Randy McMichael and the other two to rookie receiver Seyi Ajirotutu in a comeback 29–23 victory over the Houston Texans.[85] The Chargers' top receivers Gates (torn plantar fascia), Vincent Jackson (suspended), Malcom Floyd (hamstring), and Legedu Naanee (hamstring) did not play in the game.[65][86] Rivers lost his first ever game in December, a 13–28 loss at home against the Oakland Raiders.[87] Rivers was invited to the 2011 Pro Bowl, his fourth invite overall, and started in place of an injured Tom Brady.[88][89] It was the first time he played in a Pro Bowl, twice missing previous games due to injury and once for the birth of his child in the 2010 Pro Bowl.[89] Rivers was named the quarterback in the 2010 NFL Alumni Player of the Year Awards over Brady, who was unanimously named The Associated Press 2010 Most Valuable Player.[90]

2011 season

Entering the 2011 season, Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune called Rivers a "better quarterback" than Fouts, a first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback. Canepa cited Rivers "[completing] passes to an astounding 17 different receivers" in 2010, amid the injuries to Chargers receivers, and his then 55–25 record as a starter compared to 86–84–1 for Fouts. He also noted, "Fouts made more mistakes than Rivers." Rivers had completed 63.7 percent of his 2,455 passes with 58 interceptions and a 97.2 passer rating, while Fouts was successful on 58.8 percent of his 5,604 attempts with 242 interceptions and an 80.2 rating. Rivers had never thrown more than two interceptions in a game, including seven playoff games.[91] His passer rating was the highest in league history, and he had the second-best touchdown-to-interception ratio of all-time (136/58).[92]

Rivers and the Chargers started out the season with a 24–17 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Rivers had 335 passing yards and two touchdowns thrown to fullback Mike Tolbert. He threw two interceptions for the first time in his career.[93] Rivers and the Chargers lost 35–21 in Foxboro to the New England Patriots in Week 2. Rivers threw for 378 passing yards and had two touchdown passes to Vincent Jackson but also threw two interceptions again.[94] Rivers threw two interceptions for the third game in a row as the Chargers held off the winless Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3, 20–17.[95] In Week 4, the Chargers beat the winless Miami Dolphins 26–16, and Rivers threw a 55-yard touchdown to Vincent Jackson.[96] In Week 5, Rivers threw for 250 yards and a touchdown pass to Malcom Floyd. He added a rushing touchdown as well. Despite two turnovers by him, the Chargers held off the Denver Broncos by a score of 29–24.[97]

Rivers struggled in Week 7 after the bye. Rex Ryan's New York Jets limited Rivers to 179 passing yards and two interceptions. He did throw a touchdown to Antonio Gates, his first of the year.[98] The Chargers lost 23–20 to the Chiefs in overtime on Halloween. Rivers put up 369 yards, but had two interceptions and a crushing fumble.[99] Rivers' poor performance during the 2011 season led to media speculation that he may have been suffering from an undisclosed injury.[100] His former teammate, LaDainian Tomlinson, speculated that Rivers might be distracted by the burden of being the Chargers' star player.[101] Rivers had 385 yards passing and added four touchdowns, but threw three interceptions against the defending champion Green Bay Packers.[102] Rivers threw for 274 passing yards and an interception and a fumble in a 24–17 Week 10 loss against the Oakland Raiders. He did however, throw two passing touchdowns to rookie Vincent Brown.[103] Rivers threw for 280 yards and two passing touchdowns in a 31–20 loss to the Chicago Bears. He added 2 more interceptions thrown. The touchdown passes went to Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson.[104] The Chargers lost 16–13 in overtime to Tim Tebow and the Broncos. Rivers threw for 188 yards and a touchdown to Antonio Gates.[105] The Chargers finally won a game in Week 13, dominating the Jacksonville Jaguars 38–14. Rivers finished with 294 passing yards and 3 touchdowns.[106] Rivers and the Chargers dominated the Buffalo Bills in Week 14, winning 37–10. Philip threw for 240 yards and 3 touchdowns, 2 to Antonio Gates, and Patrick Crayton.[107] Rivers and the Chargers dominated the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15. Philip had 270 yards and a touchdown to Malcom Floyd in a 34–14 stomping.[108] Rivers and the Chargers struggled in Week 16. On Christmas Eve, the Chargers fell 38–10 in Detroit to the Lions. Rivers had 299 passing yards and a touchdown, but two interceptions.[109]

Rivers concluded the season by throwing for 310 passing yards and 3 touchdowns, which were received by Floyd, Jackson, and Gates, in a 38–26 win against the Oakland Raiders, ending the Raiders' playoff hopes that season.[110] He was named to the Pro Bowl for his 2011 season.[111]

2012 season

The Chargers began the 2012 season with a 3–1 record for the second consecutive season.[112] In a 37–20 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4, Rivers started his 100th career game, which was also his 100th consecutive start.[113] On November 1, in the second game against the Kansas City Chiefs, he was 18-of-20 passes to earn a career-high 90% completion percentage in the 31–13 victory.[114] Rivers became the seventh fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach 25,000 career yards.[115] With a weak offensive line that season, Rivers was frequently forced to scramble and was sacked 49 times and hit on 70 other plays, contributing to his 22 turnovers—47 over the previous two seasons.[116][117] The Chargers' 7–9 record was the first losing season in Rivers's career,[38] and the team's first since 2003.[116] They missed the playoffs for the third straight season, leading to the firing of Turner and general manager A. J. Smith.[116]

2013 season

Rivers in playoffs against Denver during 2013 season
Rivers in playoffs against Denver during 2013 season

Rivers's combined 35 interceptions the two previous seasons led many to wonder whether he was injured or if his career was on the decline.[118][119] Only two offensive coaches returned in 2013 in an overhauled coaching staff led by new head coach Mike McCoy, and a revamped offensive system had Rivers release the ball earlier and taking what opposing defenses conceded.[120] In their Week 2 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, he threw for 419 yards and three touchdowns.[121] In their Week 4 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Rivers set an NFL record for completion percentage (83%) for a quarterback who also threw for over 400 yards (401), three touchdowns, and one interception. In Week 7, Rivers surpassed 30,000 career yards passing.[122] Rivers was also selected to the Pro Bowl for the fifth time in his career. In Week 17 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Rivers led a fourth quarter and overtime comeback to win the game, and clinch the 6th seed in the AFC playoffs.[123]

During the Chargers season-ending four-game winning streak, Rivers completed 67.3 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and a 142.6 rating. He finished the season completing 378 of 544 passes (69.5 percent) for 4,478 yards, 32 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions;[38] his 105.5 passer rating tied his career high from 2008.[120] With the Chargers having a capable running attack, an adjusted offensive line, and an improved defense, Rivers was not pressured to force his throws, and he led all quarterbacks in the league with a 49.4 third-down conversion rate when passing.[118] He led the Chargers to a 27–10 win in the Wild Card Round against the Cincinnati Bengals before losing to the Denver Broncos in the Divisional Round, 24–17.[124][125] He was named Comeback Player of the Year by both Associated Press (AP) and Pro Football Writers Association (PFWA).[38][120]

2014 season

Philip Rivers against the Arizona Cardinals in 2014 season debut.
Philip Rivers against the Arizona Cardinals in 2014 season debut.

The Chargers in 2014 lost their final game of the season when a win would have qualified them for the playoffs.[126] Rivers was sacked a career-high seven times in the loss.[127] For the season, he was voted by the Chargers as their MVP after finishing with 4,286 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions.[128] It was the sixth season in which he passed for over 4,000 yards.[126] During Weeks 2–6, he became the first NFL player ever to have a passer rating over 120 for five consecutive games.[128] Later in the season, Rivers suffered from sore ribs and a back injury, but he denied that they affected his performance. His 71.2 rating in December was his lowest in a single month since November 2007 (68.8).[129]

2015 season

On August 15, 2015, the Chargers and Rivers agreed to a four-year, $84 million contract extension.[130] Rivers started the 2015 season with 403 passing yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in the 33–28 victory over the Detroit Lions.[131] On September 20, Rivers threw his 255th touchdown pass as a Charger, passing Dan Fouts as the franchise leader in touchdown passes.[132] On October 18, in a game against the Green Bay Packers, Rivers set franchise records with 503 passing yards, 43 completions, and 65 attempts.[133] In Week 12, against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he had 300 passing yards and season-high four passing touchdowns.[134] The Chargers finished with a 4–12 record, last in the AFC West, their worst record since 2003.[135] The Chargers went winless against divisional opponents for the first time since 1984.[136] Despite the disappointing season, Rivers set career highs and franchise records with 437 pass completions on 661 pass attempts and 4,792 passing yards, which ranked second among NFL quarterbacks in 2015.[137] He finished 11 yards short of breaking the franchise single-season passing yards record held by Fouts.[138] Rivers was invited to the 2016 Pro Bowl as an alternate but declined the invitation, citing personal reasons.[139] He was ranked 46th on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.[140]

2016 season

Rivers in Denver in 2016
Rivers in Denver in 2016

Rivers started the 2016 season with 243 passing yards and a touchdown in a 33–27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.[141] In Week 5, against the Oakland Raiders, he had 359 passing yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions in the 34–31 loss.[142] On October 13, 2016, in Week 6, Rivers passed Fouts to become the Chargers' all-time passing yards leader.[143] In Week 7, against the Atlanta Falcons, he had a season-high 371 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception in the 33–30 victory.[144] Rivers struggled in 2016. Despite throwing for 33 touchdowns, Rivers threw a career-high and league-leading 21 interceptions and completed only 60.4 of his passes, the second worst of his career.[145] Rivers posted a rating of 87.9, also the second worst of his career. These struggles resulted in the Chargers finishing 5–11 and last in the division for the second straight year.[146] He was ranked 73rd by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.[147]

2017 season

Rivers and the Chargers started the 2017 season with some tough results. In Week 1, against the Denver Broncos, he had 192 passing yards, three touchdowns, and one interception in a narrow 24–21 loss on Monday Night Football. The game was lost when Chargers' kicker Younghoe Koo missed a game-tying field goal.[148] In the next game, a narrow 19–17 loss to the Miami Dolphins, he had 331 passing yards and a touchdown.[149] Rivers struggled in the next game, a 24–10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, with three interceptions.[150] The Chargers' hard luck continued in the next game, a narrow 26–24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. In the loss, Rivers had 347 passing yards and two touchdowns.[151] After their 0–4 start, the Chargers won a game against the New York Giants by score of 27–22 in Week 5. In the victory, Rivers had 258 passing yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.[152] In the next game, a 17–16 victory over the Oakland Raiders, he had 268 passing yards and one touchdown.[153] The Chargers won their third consecutive game in a 21–0 defeat of the Denver Broncos in their second divisional matchup. Rivers had 183 passing yards and two touchdowns in the victory.[154] The Chargers' winning streak ended with a 21–13 loss to the New England Patriots the next week. In the loss, he had 212 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception.[155] After a 20–17 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars after their bye week, the Chargers started another winning streak.[156] In a matchup with the Buffalo Bills, Rivers had 251 passing yards and two touchdowns as the Chargers won 54–24.[157] On Thanksgiving Day, during Week 12 against the Dallas Cowboys, Rivers finished with 434 passing yards and three passing touchdowns as the Chargers won 28–6.[158] It was the first time the Chargers played on Thanksgiving since 1969.[159] His performance in Week 12 earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week.[160] On December 3, against the Cleveland Browns, the Chargers won 19–10 as Rivers had 344 passing yards and a touchdown.[161] In the following game, against the Washington Redskins, he had 319 passing yards and two touchdowns as the Chargers won their fourth consecutive game.[162] On December 16, he had 227 passing yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions as they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 30–13.[163] On December 19, 2017, Rivers was named to his seventh Pro Bowl along with his top receiver Keenan Allen.[164] In Week 16, against the New York Jets, he had 290 passing yards and a touchdown in the 14–7 victory.[165] In Week 17, Rivers became the ninth quarterback in NFL history to reach 50,000 career passing yards.[166] In that game, he completed 28 of 37 passes for 387 yards and three touchdowns in a 30–10 win over the Raiders, earning him his second AFC Offensive Player of the Week of the season.[167][168] Overall, Rivers had 4,515 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, and ten interceptions in the 2017 season.[169] He helped lead the Chargers to a 9–7 season. Despite having their first winning season since 2014, the Chargers failed to make the playoffs.[170][171] He was ranked 56th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018.[172]

2018 season

On September 9, 2018, Rivers threw for 424 yards and three touchdowns in the season-opening 38–28 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, eclipsing 400 yards in a single game for the 10th time in his career.[173] The 424 yards was the most Rivers has thrown for in any of his season openers.[174] He helped lead the Chargers to first win of the season in the following game against the Buffalo Bills with 256 passing yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions in the 31–20 victory.[175] After a 35–23 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3, Rivers helped lead the Chargers to a four-game winning streak where he threw for over 300 yards twice and had nine passing touchdowns to two interceptions.[176] After a 29-27 win over the San Francisco 49ers, Rivers (and Ben Roethlisberger Week 2) passed John Elway for eighth-most passing yards in NFL history.[177] In a Week 11 loss to the Denver Broncos, he passed for 401 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.[178] Week 12, against the Arizona Cardinals, saw Rivers tie Ryan Tannehill for most consecutive completions, with 25.[179] Unlike Tannehill, he did it in one game and finished with an NFL-record one incompletion in 29 attempts, for a record 96.55%. He finished the game with 259 passing yards and three touchdowns in a 45–10 rout of the Arizona Cardinals, earning AFC Player of the Week honors.[180] On December 13, in a Thursday Night Football game against the Chiefs, Rivers led the Chargers back from a 14-point deficit to win the game by a score of 29–28 on a two-point conversion to wideout Mike Williams. It was the Chargers first win against the Chiefs after nine straight losses and secured their first playoff berth since 2013.[181] Philip Rivers eclipsed 4,000 yards at the same time as Tom Brady, becoming the third and fourth quarterback in NFL history to reach 4,000 yards in 10 seasons or more, joining Peyton Manning & Drew Brees.[182] Overall, Rivers finished the 2018 season with 4,308 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.[183] The Chargers finished with a 12–4 record and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2013 season.[184] As the #5-seed, the Chargers faced off against the AFC North champion Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card Round. Rivers passed for 160 yards as the Chargers defeated the Ravens by a score of 23–17.[185] In the Divisional Round against the New England Patriots, Rivers passed for 331 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception as the Chargers fell 41–28.[186] He was ranked 17th by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2019.[187]

2019 season

Rivers in a game against the Tennessee Titans
Rivers in a game against the Tennessee Titans

In Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts, Rivers threw for 333 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception in the 30–24 overtime win.[188] In Week 2 against the Detroit Lions, Rivers completed 21 passes for 293 yards in the 13-10 loss.[189] In Week 3 against the Houston Texans, Rivers threw for 318 yards and two touchdown passes to wide receiver Keenan Allen in the 27-20 loss.[190] In Week 4 against the Miami Dolphins, Rivers completed 24 of 30 pass attempts for 310 yards in the 30-10 win.[191] In Week 6 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Rivers passed for 320 yards and two touchdowns but had two interceptions in the 24–17 loss on NBC Sunday Night Football.[192] In the following game, a 23–20 loss to the Tennessee Titans, Rivers passed for 329 yards and two touchdowns.[193] In Week 11, against the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football at Estadio Azteca, he passed for 353 yards and a touchdown but had four interceptions in the 24–17 loss.[194] In Week 14 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Rivers threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns in the 45–10 blowout win.[195] He finished the 2019 season with 4,615 passing yards, 23 touchdowns,[196] and 20 interceptions—which were the third most in the NFL.[197] His 23 turnovers played a part in the Chargers' 2–9 record in contests decided by a touchdown or less, and the team ended with a 5–11 overall record.[198] On February 10, 2020, the Chargers and Rivers mutually agreed that he would not be re-signed and would enter free agency.[199]

Indianapolis Colts

On March 21, 2020, Rivers signed a one-year, $25 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts.[200]

NFL career statistics

° Led the league
Bold Career high

Regular season

Philip Rivers regular season statistics
Year Team G GS Passing Sacked
Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Sck Yds
2004 SD 2 0 5 8 62.5 33 4.1 1 0 110.9 0 0
2005 SD 2 0 12 22 54.5 115 5.2 0 1 50.4 3 16
2006 SD 16 16 284 460 61.7 3,388 7.4 22 9 92.0 27 144
2007 SD 16 16 277 460 60.2 3,152 6.9 21 15 82.4 22 163
2008 SD 16 16 312 478 65.3 4,009 8.4° 34° 11 105.5° 25 151
2009 SD 16 16 317 486 65.2 4,254 8.8° 28 9 104.4 25 167
2010 SD 16 16 357 541 66.0 4,710° 8.7° 30 13 101.8 38 227
2011 SD 16 16 366 582 62.9 4,624 7.9 27 20 88.7 30 198
2012 SD 16 16 338 527 64.1 3,606 6.8 26 15 88.6 49 311°
2013 SD 16 16 378 544 69.5° 4,478 8.2 32 11 105.5 30 150
2014 SD 16 16 379 570 66.5 4,286 7.5 31 18° 93.8 36 189
2015 SD 16 16 437° 661° 66.1 4,792 7.3 29 13 93.8 40 264
2016 SD 16 16 349 578 60.4 4,386 7.6 33 21° 87.9 36 188
2017 LAC 16 16 360 575 62.6 4,515 7.9 28 10 96.0 18 120
2018 LAC 16 16 347 508 68.3 4,308 8.5 32 12 105.5 32 204
2019 LAC 16 16 390 591 66.0 4,615 7.8 23 20 88.5 34 222
Career 228 224 4,908 7,591 64.7 59,271 7.8 397 198 95.1 445 2,714


Philip Rivers regular postseason statistics
Year Team G GS Passing Sacked
Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg Sck Yds
2006 SD 1 1 14 32 43.8 230 7.2 0 1 55.5 3 26
2007 SD 3 3 52 86 60.5 767 8.9 4 4 85.8 2 14
2008 SD 2 2 41 71 57.7 525 7.4 3 2 83.4 8 60
2009 SD 1 1 27 40 67.5 298 7.5 1 2 76.9 2 15
2013 SD 2 2 30 43 69.8 345 8.0 3 0 116.9 5 29
2018 LAC 2 2 47 83 56.6 491 5.9 3 1 80.9 3 21
Total 11 11 211 355 59.4 2,656 7.5 14 10 84.2 23 165

Notable accomplishments

Rivers, with teammates on USS Ronald Reagan, in 2006
Rivers, with teammates on USS Ronald Reagan, in 2006

NFL records

Former NFL records

Chargers franchise records


  • Games played: 227[207]
  • Wins: 123[207]
  • Pass completions: 4,908[207]
  • Pass attempts: 7,591[207]
  • Completion percentage: 64.7[207]
  • Passing yards: 59,271[207]
  • Passing touchdowns: 397[207]
  • Game winning drives: 32[207]
  • Seasons with 4,000+ passing yards: 8
  • Seasons with 3,000+ passing yards: 11
  • 400+ yard passing games: 8
  • Yards per attempt (Min. 500 attempts): 7.8[207]
  • Yards per game: 259.9[207]
  • Passer Rating: 95.2[207]
  • Times sacked: 442[207]
  • Consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass: 28
  • Consecutive regular season games with 300+ yards passing: 5 (October 42, 2015 to November 1, 2015)
  • Most consecutive starts by a quarterback: 208 (2006–present)
  • Interception percentage: 2.6%[207]
  • Most sack yards lost: 2,691[207]
  • Most 4th quarter comebacks: 27[207]


  • Regular season wins: 14 (2006)[208]
  • Pass completions: 437 (2015)[208]
  • Pass attempts: 661 (2015)[208]
  • Completion percentage (16 starts): 69.5 (2013)[208]
  • Passing touchdowns: 34 (2008)[208]
  • Game winning drives: 4 (2006, 2008, 2009, & 2013)[208]
  • Yards per attempt (Min. 500 attempts): 8.7 (2010)[208]
  • Passer rating (16 starts): 105.5 (2008 and 2013)[208]
  • Consecutive seasons with at least 25 touchdown passes: 9 (2008–2018)[209]
  • Consecutive seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards: 6 (2013–2018)[210]
  • Consecutive seasons with at least 3,000 passing yards: 14 (2006–2019)[211]
  • Interception percentage: 1.7 (2017)[208]
  • Times sacked: 49 (2012)[208]
  • Most 4th quarter comebacks: 4 (2006 & 2013)[208]


  • Pass completions: 43 (October 18, 2015 against the Green Bay Packers)[133]
  • Pass attempts in a game: 65 (October 18, 2015 against the Green Bay Packers)[133]
  • Completion percentage (min. 20 attempts): 96.8% (28/29 on November 25, 2018 against the Arizona Cardinals)
  • Passing yards: 503 (October 18, 2015 against the Green Bay Packers)[133]


  • Career passing yards: 2,165
  • Career completions: 164
  • Career completion percentage (min. 50 attempts): 60.3%
  • Career Quarterback rating (min. 50 attempts): 85.2
  • Career times sacked: 20
  • Passing touchdowns, game: 3 (January 8, 2008 against the Indianapolis Colts and January 11, 2009 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, tied with Dan Fouts)
  • Completion percentage, game (min 15 attempts): 75% (12 for 16, January 5, 2014 against the Cincinnati Bengals)
  • QB rating, game (min 25 attempts): 115.8 (January 12, 2014 against the Denver Broncos)
  • Games with a passing touchdown: 6 (tied with Dan Fouts)
  • Games with QB Rating of 100+: 4

Awards and honors

Personal life

Rivers (right) in 2007.
Rivers (right) in 2007.

Rivers, a devout Roman Catholic, married his junior high school sweetheart, Tiffany, in 2001. She converted to the Catholic faith. They have nine children,[212][213][214] and reside in northern San Diego County, California.[215] On January 31, 2010, Philip and Tiffany Rivers' daughter, Sarah Catherine, was born. He had been selected to the AFC Pro Bowl team the same year, but he did not make it to the game in South Florida due to her birth.[89] In an interview with NFL Network on the June 10, 2011, Rivers stated the family was expecting their sixth child. On October 28, 2013, Philip and Tiffany welcomed their seventh child. In April 2015, Rivers and his wife confirmed they were expecting their eighth child. On October 28, 2015, their daughter Clare was born.[216]

According to a 2017 story by San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Kevin Acee,[215]

Rivers lives as about as modestly as one can when his career earnings are bumping up against $200 million. His primary mode of transportation is a 2008 Ford F250. He wears cowboy boots – real ones, plain brown, nothing made of a swamp creature or rare bird. His dress shirts are Western cut and have shiny buttons.

Despite his simple tastes, he made a major investment in a customized SUV shortly after the Chargers' move to the Los Angeles area. Rivers and his wife had toured schools and neighborhoods in Orange County, more specifically in the general vicinity of the Chargers' new Costa Mesa practice facility, during the 2017 offseason, but decided not to move. In order to make the 80-mile (130 km) one-way commute productive, he spent roughly $200,000 to convert a large SUV into a rolling film room. The rear seats were torn out and replaced by two forward-facing, fully reclining seats; a 40-inch (100 cm) TV screen was installed in the cabin divider; and satellite TV, Wi-Fi, and a cooler were also installed. The setup, including a driver that Rivers hired, allows him to analyze game videos during the commute. As he would tell Acee,[215]

My two biggest things were my family time and my preparation and what I owe this football team. I was not going to sacrifice either of them in any big proportion. I can look at all the pluses and minuses and say, ‘OK. This does it.’ This allows me to get home in the 6 to 7 hour, which is when I got home the last 11 years, and it allows me to watch all or more of the film I watched before.

In 2011, he was named one of three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award for his work with the Rivers of Hope Foundation, an endeavor he and his wife oversaw from 2010 to 2012 to help foster children. The Foundation raised more than $1,000,000 for the cause through football camps, a 5K Fun Run and personal contributions from Rivers. The Foundation supported the San Pasqual Academy, a residential education campus designed specifically for foster teens.[217]

Rivers comes from an athletic family. He, his father Steve, and his younger brother Stephen have all played college football. Steve played linebacker at Mississippi State in the 1970s.[218] Stephen committed to play college football at Louisiana State University (LSU) after attending Austin High School and Athens High School.[219][220] On June 5, 2014, he transferred to Vanderbilt University and was eligible to play immediately, but wound up transferring to Northwestern State University for the 2015 season.[221]

Rivers received an Honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters and addressed the Class of 2014 at the 125th Annual Commencement Ceremony of The Catholic University of America (CUA) on May 17, 2014.[222]

In 2014, Rivers was part of a campaign to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego.[223]

See also


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External links

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