Skip to main content

Chargers Official Site | Los Angeles Chargers -

An In-Depth Look at Philip Rivers

Top photos of Philip Rivers through the years from NC State to today.

Over the coming days, we'll highlight a few notable Chargers with their 2016 Media Guide profile.  Up first is quarterback Philip Rivers.

One of the NFL's most accurate and prolific passers over more than a decade, Philip Rivers' statistics will one day merit Pro Football Hall of Fame consideration.

Less than a month before the start of the 2015 season, Rivers signed a four-year contract extension that will keep him in Lightning Bolts through the 2019 season. It will also in all likelihood allow him to end his career in the same place in which he started it in 2004.

There was no letup in Rivers' game in 2015 as he led the NFL and set new franchise marks for single-season completions (437) and attempts (661). The team's Most Valuable Player for the seventh time in his career and a Pro Bowl alternate, Rivers also finished the 2015 season with 4,792 passing yards, second-most in the NFL and the second in a season in team history. He fell just 10 yards shy of matching Dan Fouts' 1981 franchise record of 4,802 yards. 

Along the way, Rivers had a number of outstanding performances in 2015.

  • Sept. 13 against Detroit, he passed for 404 yards, most by a Chargers' quarterback in a season opener. He threw two touchdowns against the Lions to raise his career total to 254, tying Fouts for most in franchise history. And he closed out the Lions' game by completing a team-record 20-straight passes. The following week in Cincinnati, Rivers completed his first two passes, extending his completion streak to 22. That tied Joe Montana, Mark Brunell, David Carr and Matt Ryan for the third-longest streak in NFL history.
  • Oct. 18 at Green Bay, Rivers registered the first 500-yard game in franchise history and set team single-game marks for attempts (65), completions (43) and yards (503).
  • Nov. 1 at Baltimore, he recorded his fifth-straight 300-yard game, a new team record. He would go on to finish the year with eight 300-yard games, tying Fouts (1980) for the most in a season in team history.
  • And Nov. 29 in Jacksonville, he became the 17th quarterback in NFL history to eclipse 40,000 passing yards, doing so in the fourth-fewest games (159).

Rivers heads into 2016 as the franchise's all-time leader in regular-season wins (92), consecutive starts (160), completions (3,462), completion percentage (64.8), touchdown passes (281), passer rating (95.5), 400-yard games (eight) and three-touchdown games (44). This season he'll most likely also take over the franchise's all-time marks for pass attempts, passing yards and 300-yard games. He's currently second in all three categories with 5,339 attempts, 41,219 yards and 45 300-yard games. He'll need just 266 completions, 1,594 yards and seven 300-yard games to overtake Fouts in all three categories.

In addition to his superior standing in the Chargers' record books, Rivers will embark on the 2016 season ranked in the NFL's top 20 in every major passing category. This includes ranking 18th in attempts (5,339), 14th in completions (3,462), seventh in completion percentage (64.8), 14th in yards (41,447), 11th in touchdown passes (281) and eighth in passer rating (95.5).

On his way up the touchdown and passing yardage charts in 2015, Rivers passed some of the NFL's all-time greats. On the touchdowns list, the quarterbacks he passed included Fouts, Sonny Jurgensen, Dave Krieg, Joe Montana and Vinny Testaverde. On the yardage list, he moved past Donovan McNabb, Boomer Esiason, Krieg, Montana and Kerry Collins.

Rivers is 92-68 (.575) as a starter during his career. He's led the Chargers to four AFC West titles and taken the team to the playoffs five times. His win-loss ledger includes a 53-27 (.663) mark at home and 36-24 (.600) in AFC West games.

One of the NFL's fiercest competitors on the field, Rivers is one of the League's kindest souls off the field. While wife Tiffany and the couple's eight children come first in his life, Rivers has a large community presence, especially when it comes to foster children and those suffering from life-threatening illnesses. More often than not, Rivers dotes on these youngsters away from the glare of the camera. One such example took place the day before the Chargers faced the Baltimore Ravens last October when he visited Baltimore's Children's Hospital and surprised a young man named Grant Shouse, who was battling a rare form of blood cancer. A month later, the day before the Chargers faced the Jacksonville Jaguars, Rivers spoke to a group of juvenile offenders in the Florida city.

Rivers was one of three finalists for the 2011 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award for his work with the Rivers of Hope Foundation, an endeavor he and Tiffany oversaw from 2010-12. The Foundation helped unwanted, abandoned and orphaned children, and raised more than $1,000,000 for the cause through football camps, a 5K Fun Run and personal contributions. The Foundation also supported the San Pasqual Academy, a residential education campus designed specifically for foster teens. In 2014, Rivers lent his support to another cause called "Passing it On," where he helped raise more than $112,000 for San Diego's Ronald McDonald House.

Rivers is a devout Catholic. In May 2014, he was invited to deliver the commencement speech to graduating seniors at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. The University also presented him with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. It was the second time he was asked to deliver a commencement speech. In May 2012, he returned to North Carolina State University, to speak at his alma mater's graduation ceremonies.

Rivers and his wife, Tiffany, grew up together in Alabama. They were married after his freshman season at NC State. The couple has eight children - six girls and two boys. A common sight is to peer down on the field at Qualcomm Stadium after games and see Rivers on the field playing catch with his kids.

Rivers' brother, Stephen, played college football as a quarterback at LSU and Vanderbilt before finishing his career at Northwestern State, La., in 2015.

Rivers grew up in Decatur, Alabama. His dad, Steve, a former linebacker at Mississippi State, was the head football coach at Decatur High School and Philip was a water boy for the team. Rivers found his passion for the game by watching his dad up close and from backyard games in which the future Chargers signal-caller would mark out a field using chalk and pylons borrowed from the equipment room at Decatur High.

Shortly before Philip was set to enroll at Decatur, Steve took the head coaching job at nearby Athens High School and Philip followed. He played linebacker as a sophomore and moved to quarterback as a junior. After graduation, he enrolled at North Carolina State where he led the Wolfpack to four bowl games and a 34-17 record, including 3-1 in bowl games. A five-time MVP in Bowl games, including the 2004 Senior Bowl, Rivers is still the Wolfpack's all-time leader for career passing yards (13,484), attempts (1,710), completions (1,087), touchdowns (95), completion percentage (63.6%), and 300 (19) and 400-yard games (seven). His passing yardage total still ranks seventh all-time among Division-I quarterbacks.

This April, Rivers returned to the N.C. State campus in Raleigh for alumni weekend and while he was there, Rivers delivered a fiery pep-talk to the Wolfpack prior to their annual Kay Yow Spring Game.

Rivers originally came to the Chargers in 2004 in a blockbuster trade with the New York Giants. Less than an hour after the Bolts selected Eli Manning with the No. 1 pick in the '04 NFL Draft, Manning was on his way to the Big Apple in exchange for Rivers and a slew of draft picks.

Rivers spent most of his first two years on the bench behind Drew Brees before taking the reigns in 2006. That season, Rivers was voted to the Pro Bowl after leading the Chargers to a team-record 14 wins, including 10-straight to close out the season. The Chargers finished undefeated at home for the first time in team history and scored a team-record 492 points. That November, Rivers became the first quarterback in NFL history to rally a team from 17-point deficits in consecutive weeks and he led 19 straight scoring drives that ended in touchdowns, a team record and the fifth-longest streak in NFL history.

Rivers led the Chargers to the AFC Championship Game in 2007. Rivers' toughness, both mental and physical, was put on full display in the final weeks of the regular season and the playoffs. During a December victory in Tennessee, he had to leave the game briefly after spraining his knee in the first half. He returned in the second half and led the Chargers to a come-from-behind victory in overtime. Rivers continued to play the final month of the season in severe pain. Things got worse five weeks later when Rivers suffered a torn ACL during the Bolts' Divisional Playoff game in Indianapolis. Backup Billy Volek replaced Rivers and led the Chargers to an improbable win over the Colts. Rivers, meanwhile, had arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn ACL the day after the win over Indianapolis, and just six days later he started and took every snap on a frigid day in the AFC Championship Game at New England.

In 2008, Rivers threw a team record 34 touchdown passes, tied for most in the NFL. He recorded his first 4,000-yard season and led the league with a team-record passer rating of 105.5. Rivers threw an NFL-best 15 touchdown passes on third down and helped the Chargers score an NFL-leading 152 points in the fourth quarter. He logged six 300-yard games, the most by a Chargers quarterback since 1985 and he became the first Bolts quarterback since 1991 to do so in consecutive games. Rivers capped off 2008 with a sensational December, leading the Chargers to the playoffs with a 4-0 mark to improve his career record in December to 14-0.

In 2009, Rivers was selected to the Chargers' 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. He was one of five quarterbacks that season to pass for over 4,000 yards, throw 25 or more touchdowns and record a season passer rating above 100.0. Four times — tied with Brett Favre for most in the NFL — Rivers posted a single-game passer rating of 130.0 or better. During an 11-game win streak to close out the regular season, Rivers threw 21 touchdown strikes and completed 69.0 percent of his passes. His cumulative passer rating during those 11 weeks (112.0) was tops in the NFL. By the end of 2009, Rivers had thrown 105 touchdown passes to only 44 interceptions, the best-ever touchdown-to-interception ratio by an NFL quarterback in his first four years as a starter.

In 2010, Rivers threw for a career-high and NFL-leading 4,710 yards. It was the 10th-most yards in a season in NFL history and the third-most in team history. Rivers had a career-high six 300-yard games, including a team-record 455 yards against Seattle. His third 4,000-yard season tied Fouts for most in team history. At the midpoint of the season, Rivers had thrown for 2,649 yards, an NFL record for the first eight games of a season, breaking yet another mark which Fouts (2,580) had set (1982). Rivers led the NFL with 66 completions 20 yards or longer, including 12 that went for touchdowns. Those were the second-most in the NFL. Rivers completed a team-record 66 percent of his passes and ranked second in the NFL in passer rating (101.8). It capped a 2008-10 stretch in which he was the only quarterback in the league to post a season passer rating over 100.0 each season. Rivers joined Steve Young and Peyton Manning as the only passers ever to post a rating of 100.0 or higher three straight years. Rivers threw 30 touchdown passes in 2010 and became the first quarterback in team history with 25 or more in three-straight seasons. It included a team-record stretch of 23 straight games with a touchdown pass, breaking Fouts' mark of 20 straight (1979-80). During the streak, Rivers joined Fouts (1985) and Brees (2004) as the only Chargers' quarterbacks with back-to-back four-touchdown games.

Rivers completed a then-team-record 366 passes and threw for 4,624 yards in 2011, joining Dan Marino (1980-81), Warren Moon (1990-91), Manning (2009-10) and Brees (2010-11) as the only players in NFL history with back-to-back 4,500-yard seasons. Rivers also joined Manning (1999-04 and 2006-10) and Brees (2006-11) as the only quarterbacks with at least four-straight 4,000-yard seasons.

In 2012, Rivers passed for 3,606 yards, ending a run of four straight 4,000-yard seasons. He threw 26 touchdown passes extending his streak of 25-touchdown seasons to five.

Rivers was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year after leading the Chargers to a 9-7 mark in 2013. He was selected to the Pro Bowl and named team MVP, both for the fifth time in his career. Rivers completed a team-record and NFL-leading 69.5 pct. of his passes for 4,478 yards with 32 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions for a team-record-tying 105.5 passer rating. He completed a team-record 378 passes. Rivers set a team record with three 400-yard passing games, he became the first quarterback to throw for more than 400 yards in consecutive games, and he passed for more than 390 yards four times, tying Marino (1984) and Joe Montana (1990) for the most in a season in NFL history. Rivers also made history joining Favre (2009) and Brees (2011) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to complete at least 20 passes and 80 percent of their pass attempts three times in a season.

Rivers performed at an all-star level again in 2014. He led the Chargers to nine wins, including an early-season victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. That win over the Seahawks launched an NFL-record run of five straight games where Rivers posted a passer rating above 120, besting the previous mark of four games set by Johnny Unitas (1965) and Kurt Warner (2009). A Pro Bowl second-alternate, Rivers was named the team's most valuable player for the sixth time in his career after passing for 4,286 yards and 31 touchdowns. Along the way, he moved into 16th place on the NFL's all-time list for touchdown passes (252) and 20th place on the league's all-time list for career passing yards (36,655). In 2014 alone, Rivers moved past some notable greats on both lists, including Steve Young, George Blanda, Jim Kelly and Len Dawson.

TRANSACTION HISTORY: First-round pick (4) by New York Giants, April 24, 2004…traded to Chargers, April 24…signed six-year contract, Aug. 24...signed six-year extension thru 2015, Aug. 24, 2009...agreed to four-year extension thru 2019, Aug. 17, 2015

Related Content

From Our Partners