SAN DIEGO – Quarterback
He’s just 29 years old and has never missed a start in five seasons as San Diego’s starter, but the debate about Rivers’ place in history already has begun after No. 17 completed his third consecutive season with at least 4,000 passing yards and a triple-digit passer rating.
Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. believes Rivers has a good chance of making it to the Hall of Fame, particularly if he wins a championship.
“He’s on pace in my mind,” Horton told ESPN. “The guy has everything. He’s a son of a coach. He’s a gym rat. He has great skills. He showed last year he can succeed with street free agents because all of his guys were hurt.”
The debate about the importance of winning a championship continues. Rivers also plays in an era with more than a handful of statistically-dominant quarterbacks with Super Bowl rings.
“I think he is very much in the same class as (Jim) Kelly or (Warren) Moon for sure – and maybe even (Dan) Marino,” Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. told ESPN. “Longevity will be key, but his lifetime numbers should be off the charts.”
Rivers seems as unlikely as any quarterback to miss time due to injury and his mindset hasn’t vacillated from season-to-season despite some gut-wrenching moments.
He understands sports culture, which tends to attach championships to individuals, particularly quarterbacks and coaches. As much as he desires that validation, he believes a championship would mean more for the Chargers and San Diego than it would for himself.
“It takes everybody in this building to win a championship,” Rivers said in October. “There’s no one guy that wins it. Quarterbacks, head coaches … they get the credit for championships. But it takes every guy in the locker room.”
Hall of Fame career or not, chasing an NFL championship continues to be what elevates Rivers to his dazzling individual seasons.
“(Winning the Super Bowl) is the ultimate goal,” Rivers said. “You can be proud of some of these past seasons even though we didn’t win one, but I think it’s the chase to get to the top that keeps you driving.”
SOUTH SWINGS CLASSIC: The South won the 21st-annual Alex Spanos All-Star Classic on Friday, accelerating to an early lead and cruising to a 27-7 victory at Mesa College.
The game pits San Diego’s best high school seniors in a North-South regional battle sponsored by the Spanos family and the Chargers. The North leads the overall series, 10-7, but the South now has won four of the last six.
The South scored on its first four possessions and stormed to a 20-0 lead. Granite Hills placekicker Gilbert Perez kicked two field goals and Montgomery’s Diego Rodriguez converted a fourth-and-inches into a 45-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.
Olympian High School quarterback Corbin Humphrey threw touchdown passes in the second and third quarters for the South.
Scripps Ranch High linebacker Chris Campano contributed seven tackles, two sacks and deflected a pass for the South. Vista linebacker Jeremiah Kose added nine tackles for the North.