How Super Bowl XLIV Affects Phillip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers

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Photo from Jan Ransley via Flickr

Photo from Jan Ransley via Flickr

The San Diego Chargers had a crucial decision to make at the end of the 2005-06 season, whether or not to hold on to Drew Brees.

Due to a severe right shoulder injury, when some doctors gave him a 1/100 shot of coming back successfully, and missing the playoffs in 2005, the organization decided to go with the young slinger from NC State.

Whether it was due to contractual issues, GM favoritism, or the idea that Phillip Rivers gave the Chargers the best chance, Brees was signed by the New Orleans Saints to revive the team and its city.

During the past four seasons, Brees has thrown for more than 4,000 yards in four consecutive seasons (5,069 yards in 2008) compiling more passing yards, touchdowns and a better completion percentage than Phillip Rivers since leaving the Chargers.

The stats might be a bit misleading because Brees threw the ball on average 100 times more than Rivers (393 pass attempts per year to 297 pass attempts per year) in a season. What is not misleading was his historical performance in Super Bowl XLIV tying the Super Bowl record of 32 completions while throwing for 288 yards and two touchdowns.

The Super Bowl MVP played like one throughout the playoffs, throwing eight touchdowns, no interceptions, and averaging a passer rating of 115 in three games — including a passer rating of 114.5 in the Super Bowl.

The Saints also became the latest team to scratch their names off the list of teams who have yet to win a super bowl — 14 teams remain.

Now that Brees has won the Super Bowl, Rivers now has the pressure of reaching the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, and Breet Favre are names of elite quarterbacks who have won a Super Bowl. Even though Phillip Rivers is a good regular season quarterback, he has never made it pass the AFC Championship game. And if you were to ask me who I would want to start at quarterback in the super bowl, Rivers wouldn’t be in my top five (Brees, Manning, Roethlisberger, Warner, Brady).

Rivers must understand that both Brees and Manning won their first Super Bowl in their ninth year and that he must pay his dues before giving San Diego fans something never experienced—a championship victory.

The Chargers and Rivers saw Brees give one of the best individual performances in the biggest game of the year and now must regroup for a run at the title next year.

At the moment it would seem to add a bit more pressure and another incentive for Phillip Rivers and the Chargers to advance to the Super Bowl. But by the time next season starts, all will be forgotten and a new road will be ready to pave.

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