A cool Brees can’t mute the Rivers Rapids

Ashton O'Halloran

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Both Philip Rivers and Drew Brees have been number one ranked passers in the National Football League, selected for the Pro Bowl, a franchise player, and the quarterback for the San Diego Chargers; yet Rivers has been the only one closely scrutinized by a dense population of self-proclaimed football aficionados from across the nation.
While possessing arguably the loudest mouth and most polluted trash-talking attitude in the NFL, Philip Rivers’ quarterback capability commonly falls to the wayside. Constantly questioning the officials and never shying away from showing his emotions, the animated Rivers has become known as the cry baby of the NFL; but the vigor Rivers holds for the game and for his team is unchallenged. The Chargers thrive with their ferocious leader who stops at nothing to protect and provide for them. His hotheaded manner goes hand-in-hand with an intense desire to win, so Rivers plays with passion and carries all his emotions on his sleeve, virtuous and flawed.
On the other side of the country, Drew Brees is known to keep calm and collected on the field. He makes big plays, thanks the Lord after every game, and starts preparing for the next opponent shortly thereafter. No crowd taunting or player scuffles, no official bashing or head shaking; Brees carries him self in a methodical, robotic manner and has never shown traits strong enough to be the leader and captain of the San Diego Chargers.
After five years with the Chargers, Brees signed with the New Orleans Saints in 2006 following a denial for an increase in his five-year franchise contract salary. The Saints threw up a $60 million, six-year contract to Brees for the switch, just $32 million shy of Rivers’ contract now, and the largest guaranteed salary in the NFL.
Rivers’ stats alone demonstrate his supremacy over Brees in recent years. In 2008 he earned a 105.5 pass rating along with 34 touchdowns and 8.4 yards per pass attempt, all three the highest in the NFL. He took The Chargers to the playoffs for the third year in a row in 2008, and has four more wins in the playoffs than Brees, who has only taken The Saints past the regular season once.
Rivers takes advantage of the Chargers’ depth in wide receivers and running backs and has utilized nine different players for touchdowns this season. Brees, on the other hand, takes advantage of a different set of players. He sits in a safe and timely pocket bestowed upon him every game by his exceptional offensive line. But even the gawky Jamarcus Russell would gain a lift in his last place rankings with the Saints’ superior blocking at his disposal. So how much can really be said about Brees without mention of his safety net?
The purpose of comparing these two players is not to bash a vastly talented Brees, who ranks number one in every poll, but rather to state the not-so-obvious reasoning as to why Philip Rivers is also one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and the only one fit to lead the San Diego Chargers.

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