Depending on who’s asked, the Philip Rivers versus Ben Roethlisberger debate to some degree is not even close. Comparing numbers and body of work, then yes there are some strong similarities in production and success.
But, what Roethlisberger has, which seems to be the end all be all in this discussion is championships. Yet, in the modern game of football, both quarterbacks have found renewed success in the AFC, which makes the head-to-head matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday so unique.
The 2004 Draft
Losman’s career never took off. Manning’s career has been quite the opposite. With Manning having two Super Bowl victories on his resume, he is virtually guaranteed a spot in the Hall of Fame. But what Manning is lacking now is longevity and sustainability as an elite quarterback in the latter portion of his career.
Paths To Success
Roethlisberger’s NFL career started off strong. While coming in as a starter in 2004, he was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year. That Steelers team was coached by Bill Cowher and finished the regular season 15-1 making them one of the hottest teams heading into the playoffs.
Unfortunately, they came up short in the Conference Championship, losing to the New England Patriots. Rothlisberger in that short time span, even as a rookie brought some attention to the quarterbacks drafted in 2004.
Rivers, on the other hand, had to play a bit of a waiting game. The San Diego Chargers in 2004 were led by Drew Brees. So, for the start of Rivers NFL career, he was a fantastic clipboard holder.
Unlike Roethlisberger, Rivers has to wait for his opportunity, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The brief time as a backup behind Brees allowed Rivers the chance to develop all the skills needed to be successful in the NFL.
Clash Of The Titans
Anytime two really, really good quarterbacks play against each other it’s always a great showing. Sure, Rothlisberger and Rivers have had a few bad games in their career, but no one is questioning their ability to light up a scoreboard making any game exciting.
To some degree, what makes this Week 13 matchup so intriguing is the success of the Los Angeles Chargers led by Rivers. This upcoming Chargers and Steelers showdown has serious implications in the AFC and both quarterbacks know it.
Closing The Debate
Overall, the debate between Rivers and Rothlisberger narrative has changed over the years due to the sustainability of both quarterbacks. Rivers has had a ton of talent around him and has had a lot of success.
He, just like so many other quarterbacks have not held up the Lombardi Trophy. Which, shouldn’t take away from his legendary status as a Bolt. Rothlisberger, in this debate, benefited early from a stellar defense and great management courtesy of the Steelers front office.
Either way both of these AFC quarterbacks are making it look easy and are showing no signs of slowing down. The 2004 draft, in regards to quarterbacks, was and still is an epic draft. Now, in this debate of Rivers and Rothlisberger, there is no real answer on who would be preferred as a starter. They are both that good and are still capable of winning in the NFL. A matchup between these two future Hall of Famers will be a pleasure.