Why 2020 presents Colts’ Rivers distinctive likelihood to cement Corridor credentials

Late-30s seasons for quarterbacks have hardly ever confirmed consequential for Corridor of Fame consideration. Nearly each enshrined passer who performed into this age vary didn’t want twilight-years success to safe entry.

By this lens, the Colts are about to embark on a captivating season. Arguments for and in opposition to Philip Rivers’ Corridor of Fame induction are legitimate -– an uncommon backdrop to a quarterback’s 17th season. Discarded by the Bolts, Rivers headlines a promising Colts roster that lacked a lot quarterback upside following Andrew Luck’s retirement. 

If Rivers, who turns 39 by season’s finish, rebounds from a tough 2019 and makes the central distinction in one other franchise’s resurgence this late into his profession, it might signify a singular resume merchandise. 

Tom Brady additionally making a late-career crew change will overshadow Rivers’ Colts contributions, however the latter’s work can be each related for an atypical Corridor of Fame quest and will play a task in arranging the AFC playoff bracket. The Colts, who make use of a formidable offensive line and added a top-five defensive deal with through commerce (DeForest Buckner), function an intriguing car for the brash quarterback to finalize his Corridor candidacy -– if he’s as much as the duty.

Regardless of imminent introduction because the sixth member of the 400-touchdown move and 60,000-passing-yard golf equipment, Rivers lacks signature achievements in comparison with his prime friends. He quarterbacked the Chargers to 4 10-win seasons in 14 tries as starter and has performed in just one convention championship recreation. Nevertheless, Rivers has eight Professional Bowl nods – seven coming as an unique invitee, which bests Corridor of Fame lock Ben Roethlisberger’s six – and his 224 straight begins rank second all time amongst QBs. 

Statistically, Rivers has nothing to show; he can move Dan Marino on the TD move and yardage lists this season. However he got here alongside in a transcendent quarterback period that can see a number of passers inducted. This pass-crazed interval has inflated numbers to the purpose Matt Ryan already has 21 extra landing passes than John Elway in 4 fewer seasons, whereas Eli Manning retired with 10,000 extra yards than Fran Tarkenton –- who held the passing yardage report for over 15 years. As passing frequency and effectivity climb, the golf equipment Rivers will quickly belong to will imply much less.

Along with Roethlisberger, Brady,  Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are Corridor of Fame locks. Every surpasses Rivers’ six seasons ranked within the prime 10 in Complete QBR. So does Ryan (10). Eli Manning, with simply two Professional Bowls as a non-alternate, shouldn’t be Rivers’ statistical equal and can incite debate when Corridor-eligible. However the two-time Tremendous Bowl MVP laps his 2004 commerce counterpart in postseason accomplishments — in opposition to a higher diploma of problem. The QB-wins route shouldn’t be overly traversed for Canton consideration, however 21 of the 28 Corridor of Fame quarterbacks gained championships. 4 others certified for Tremendous Bowls or NFL championship video games. Rivers’ resume is … completely different.

The Chargers completed the 2010s with one 10-win season and two playoff berths, wrapping the last decade as innovators in shut losses. Three of Rivers’ 5 playoff victories got here in opposition to the Vince Younger-quarterbacked Titans, the 2013 Bengals and the 2018 Ravens — in a recreation that noticed then-rookie Lamar Jackson enter the fourth quarter with 25 passing yards. Rivers’ two 300-yard playoff outings (in 11 video games) got here in double-digit defeats, and due to the best way his 30s have gone, the Chargers’ 2006 and ’09 divisional-round residence losses to inferior Patriots and Jets groups dock Rivers greater than they might had the Bolts not tumbled into mediocrity.

Conversely, boding nicely for Rivers’ induction probabilities: Warren Moon and Dan Fouts gained first-ballot HOF entry regardless of no Tremendous Bowl appearances. Each submitted regular-season dominance – in snazzier offensive programs than Rivers was gifted – at their peaks. However Moon’s groups by no means superior to a convention championship recreation in his 15-season starter run. Fouts solely quarterbacked within the playoffs in 4 seasons.

The NFL options few examples of quarterback success after altering groups this late in a profession. The record for post-38 manufacturing after switching uniforms consists of Brett Favre’s Jets and Vikings debuts – the latter particularly – together with Moon on an 8-Eight Seahawks crew in 1997 and Earl Morrall’s caretaker reduction effort on the ’72 Dolphins. Rivers is poised to affix this group.

Though he ranked 22nd in 2019 QBR, Rivers remained a superior deep passer to Jacoby Brissett, the participant he’s changing. And the Colts newcomer may have extra to work with than Brissett did. Rivers additionally landed seventh in QBR as not too long ago as 2018, regardless of being outfitted with a bottom-tier offensive line.

Rated third by Professional Soccer Focus final season, the Colts’ offensive entrance returns intact. The quintet must be a staggering improve for the motionless Rivers; PFF slotted the previous 5 Charger O-lines 29th, 30th, 24th, 31st and 32nd. In a well-recognized system –- as a result of having labored with head coach Frank Reich and Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni with the Chargers –- Rivers has a key shortcut within the COVID-19-marred offseason. The Colts, who used second-round picks on 6-foot-Four USC wideout Michael Pittman Jr. and 6,000-plus-yard Wisconsin rusher Jonathan Taylor, are positioned to offer important supplementation for a beforehand top-heavy offense.

Whereas the Colts might use one other edge rusher, Buckner’s presence will improve his teammates’ capabilities. Full seasons from All-Professional linebacker Darius Leonard and standout slot cornerback Kenny Moore, who every missed chunks of final season, must also assist Indianapolis’ protection creep nearer to the top-10 DVOA group its playoff-bound 2018 version deployed.

If Rivers has not achieved sufficient to warrant Corridor of Fame induction, he’s extremely shut. He has an opportunity to observe Kurt Warner in utilizing a late-30s stretch as a Canton springboard. Warner retired after his age-38 season in Arizona, nevertheless, including uncharted-territory attraction to Rivers’ age-39 marketing campaign.

After three seasons main a Chargers crew that fell off the radar upon relocating to Los Angeles, Rivers is again on the map with super alternative. Few gamers within the NFL’s 101-year historical past have entered a 17th season with extra to realize.

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