Rivers vs. Manning: The Great Debate

Rivers over Manning, or Manning over Rivers? It’s a question that will be asked for the rest of their respective careers. Chargers fans who hold a grudge don’t think twice before they side with Philip Rivers. Giants fans who hold a recent Super Bowl championship side with Eli Manning. At this point in time, who would you rather have leading your team? Never fear, BOLTHYPE breaks it down for you...


Because Manning has been starting longer than Rivers, it’s tough to simply compare career stats. What we will look at here is a break down of their performance since 2006, Rivers’ first year as a starter. Even though Manning was a more experienced QB at that point, the stats still measure out in Rivers’ favor.

(Reg. Season) Wins Yards TD’s Comp. % Int. QB Rating

Rivers 37 12585 88 62% 39 93.95

Manning 35 11673 81 51% 56 80.92

Rivers clearly holds a statistical advantage over Manning. Over that time period he has more yards, more wins, and a much better QB rating. It’s worth pointing out that River’s growth has come with the decline of the Chargers running game. Once, defenders had to focus on stopping the Chargers rushing attack, but that’s no longer the case. Now it’s Rivers (and his more than capable receivers) against the world, and he has responded like a champ.


What isn’t talked about enough in the Rivers vs. Manning debate is the overall performance of their respective teams. To think that Rivers can be the statistical elite that he has become without quality receivers around him is absurd, just as it is absurd to think that the Giants Super Bowl XLII championship was solely due to the performance of Eli Manning. But with that being said, I still think Manning is getting way too much credit for that win. Anyone who watched the game knows it was largely a defensive battle until the end, and that Manning had a pretty average day (although David Tyree had one of the best receptions in Super Bowl history).

The Chargers are not the New York Giants. They have been plagued by injuries, and their defense went from intimidating to soft in very short amount of time. I would argue that the Giants win games regardless of Manning (although his recent poor performance might change that opinion), but the Chargers, lacking a complete supporting cast, have won because of Rivers. If the roles were reversed, I think Rivers could win with the Giants, but I don’t know if the Chargers would be just as good with Manning- maybe, maybe not.

It is unfortunate that the 2007 Chargers fell apart the way that they did. Sure, they won their last 8-games, but the players that they relied on to get to the post-season broke down when it counted most. If the Chargers had a healthy Rivers, LT, Gates, Hardwick, Merriman, etc., it would have been a much different post-season in 07-08. The Chargers very well could have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl. And in my opinion, they would have went on to end the Rivers vs. Manning debate, because not only would Philip have the statistical edge over Eli, he would also have a ring.

November 6, 2009

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Nahum said... Nov 6, 2009, 10:43:00 AM

you're completely right. philip rivers would most likely be the next tom brady with the giants. and eli manning would be the next ryan leaf. i'm thankful for that trade that happened in 2004. rivers in my mind is the greatest quarterback in history. or just maybe in charger history. but it's hard to compare him to payton manning and tom brady, because they have won championships, and it's even harder to compare him up to big ben. because he's won 2 championships. but if the steelers drafted manning, rivers with the giants and big ben with the chargers. it's still tough to say that big ben can be successful in san diego. in my mind. only rivers can do that job in san diego, and possibly with any other team in the nfl.. i believe he's THAT good.

Anonymous said... Nov 6, 2009, 12:59:00 PM

F Eli Manning!

I hope Merriman pile drives him.

Go Chargers!

Rob Zepeda said... Nov 6, 2009, 2:10:00 PM

Even though Rivers has not won a championship, I think ultimately he'll end up being the best QB of that 2004 draft class. Rivers is quietly on pace to have one of the best careers (statistically) of all time. That's impressive. As long as he's leading this team, the Chargers will always have a chance to win any game. We just need to keep him standing.

Anonymous said... Nov 6, 2009, 4:00:00 PM

Rivers is definitely better than Manning.

The real debate is between Rivers and Big Ben. So far Rivers has been more productive and Big Ben just like Eli has been a bi-product of a good team. Big Ben more recently has carried his team at times - he has also had a ridiculous defense in both super bowl years and steelers won despite him in the 1st win.

If the Bolts can continue to get better in the running game, Rivers can definitely take the Chargers all the way.

I believe!

LACharger said... Nov 6, 2009, 9:30:00 PM

Rivers all the way. I'm totally over the whole "I hate Eli" situation. Seriously, would you rather have Eli Manning or Philip Rivers, Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding? Superbowl or not, AJ pulled out a steal with this situation. They're both great QB's but I like Rivers ability to stay cool under pressure and make plays but get fiery and excited as well.

Anonymous said... Nov 6, 2009, 10:09:00 PM

I've been pretty harsh on Rivers, noting (I still think correctly) that he's slow-footed and ackward with a less-than-lightning fast release. But I'd still take Rivers ANY day over Eli Manning, and knowing that the trade got us Merriman AND Kaeding makes it a bonafide Godsend. Rivers, like Brees nowadays in New Orleans, has that rare "extra gear" that all the great competitors have, and we're deeeeep in dangerous receivers.
We'll know so much more about our Chargers when this upcoming game is over, but unless an O-linemen misses a blocking assignment, Rivers wins.
Philip Rivers ROCKS! Go BOLTS!!!

Anonymous said... Nov 7, 2009, 12:47:00 AM

Rivers has been held back by a bad coaching staff. The Chargers should have at list one SB ring and a couple of AFC Championships.

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