Where Does Philip Rivers Rank Among NFL's Great Quarterbacks? His Career in Numbers

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers has announced his retirement, bringing down the curtain on his NFL career after 17 seasons.

The eight-time Pro Bowl selection revealed his decision via an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune on Tuesday night, stating, "It's just time," and confirming that he plans to become a high school football coach.

Rivers turned 39 last month and took the Colts to the playoffs, playing what turned out to be his final game as Indianapolis lost 27-24 to the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card round.

"I can sit here and say, 'I can still throw it. I love to play,'" the veteran quarterback told the Union-Tribune. "But that's always going to be there. I'm excited to go coach high school football."

In a statement released on Wednesday to ESPN, Rivers added: "I am grateful to the Chargers for 16 seasons and the Colts for the 17th season.

Thank you to all my coaches that helped me grow as a player and person. Thanks to the support staff. I appreciate the opposing defenses making it challenging physically and mentally every week. [...] I also enjoyed the banter. I appreciate the referees for putting up with all my fussing.

"Thanks to the fans in San Diego and around the nation that both cheered and booed. Special thanks to my teammates. Without a doubt my favorite part of the game, being a teammate. Thank you for being mine."

Drafted with the fourth overall pick by the New York Giants in the 2004 NFL Draft, Rivers was traded to the San Diego Chargers on the day of the draft in exchange for No. 1 pick Eli Manning.

Rivers spent all but his final season with the Chargers, leading the franchise to the playoffs six times, but the Super Bowl remained frustratingly elusive and the Chargers never made it past the AFC Championship Game.

Rivers, however, amassed impressive statistics and ranks fifth in NFL history with 63,440 passing yards, behind only Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.

The quartet are the only four players ahead of Rivers in the list for the most touchdown passes in NFL history, as the Colts quarterback retires with 421 touchdown passes, one more than Hall of Famer Dan Marino.

The NFL's comeback player of the year in 2013, Rivers led the league in passing touchdowns and passing yards in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

Rivers also ranks fifth all-time in terms of passes completed. His completion percentage of 64.9 is the 14th best in NFL history, as is his average of 260 passing yards per game.

Rivers started 240 games in his career, the 18th most of any NFL player, and his 95.2 career passer rating is the 12th best in NFL annals.

After the Chargers missed the playoffs in 2019, Rivers signed a one-year, $25 million deal with the Colts.

In his only season in Indianapolis, Rivers led the Colts to an 11-5 record and a wild card berth after throwing for 4,169 yards, 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in the regular season.

Rivers' retirement speeds up the generational change in the NFL and particularly in the AFC, where Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Ryan Tannehill and Derek Carr are the only starting QBs who were drafted before 2017.

Last weekend marked the first time in NFL history that all four starting quarterbacks in one conference were yet to turn 26 before taking the field in the Divisional Round.

All four were on AFC teams. Baker Mayfield was the senior of the quartet at 25 years and 278 days when the Cleveland Browns took on the Kansas City Chiefs— including Patrick Mahomes, who was 25 years and 122 days on Sunday.

A day earlier, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was 24 years and 240 days when his team played the Baltimore Ravens—including Lamar Jackson, who was the youngest of the group at 24 years and 9 days.

Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers #17 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, on January 9. Rivers announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday. Timothy T Ludwig/Getty

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