?Philip Rivers? has decided to hang it up after 17 NFL seasons, 16 with the Chargers and this past campaign with the Colts. And there is no doubt that, a decade from now, we'll see photos of the quarterback from the 2020 season and be all, "Oh yeah, I remember that one year when Philip played in Indy." Happens with a lot of quarterbacks, even the greats.
I was in the camp rooting for Rivers to make his first Super Bowl appearance this season. He's been one of my favorite players in the NFL for quite a while. His good-natured trash talking would have made him a perfect wrestling foil. And really, I'll always assert that if the 2004 NFL Draft had played out differently and Rivers had stuck with the New York Giants (or landed with the Pittsburgh Steelers), he'd have multiple rings and we'd be talking about him among the best of the best.
Instead, he lands on a different list: The best quarterbacks to never win a Super Bowl. A dubious distinction. Kind of like being the only one of your friends to grow up without an NES. (Not me -- mom was a gamer.)
So where does Rivers land in the realm of the ringless? Let's count it down, starting with the underappreciated signal-caller who was the toughest omission from my top 10 ...
Just missed: Ken Anderson was a damn good quarterback. The 16-year Bengal led the NFL in passing yards in 1974 and '75 with Bill Walsh as Cincinnati's quarterbacks coach. Anderson's best season came in 1981, when he was named NFL MVP and led Cincy to the first of their two Super Bowl appearances -- before losing, of course, to Walsh's 49ers. So he earns honorary mention in this article.
10) Jim Everett
Surprised seeing this name on the list? Don't disrespect it -- I'll throw hands on this one. Like Ken Anderson, Everett was a damn good quarterback people need to appreciate more. He led the NFL in touchdown passes in 1988 (31) and '89 (29). His 1989 Rams were just one of two teams to beat the 49ers that season -- and L.A. nearly defeated San Francisco twice in the regular season, but the Rams' defense faltered. And while I'm spitting truth here ... If the Rams would have kept Everett and Eric Dickerson together -- ED was traded during Everett's first full season as a starter in 1987 -- the Rams could have forged a dynasty.
9) Michael Vick
I'll just come right out and say this: Vick was one of the best quarterbacks I've ever seen. I know he is a polarizing figure to some people. That's fine and understandable. But honestly, Vick was one of the biggest game-changers and most exciting athletes I've ever seen in my life. I mean, this goes beyond Madden 04. Vick was the first visiting quarterback to win a playoff game at Lambeau. (Yes, I roasted Packers fans for years.) And while his career is littered with "what ifs" -- on and off the field, obviously -- I really do wonder how much different Vick's NFL tenure would have been if he'd spent the entirety of it with Andy Reid.