Lets take a look at the career numbers of these two QB legends. Rivers is still adding to his resume, and Fouts did play in a different era so the numbers are very difficult to compare. If you notice, Rivers is only three touchdowns away from breaking Fouts career TD record. He eventually should own all the Chargers passing records, provided the team signs him long-term and does not allow him to leave following the 2015 season.
DAN FOUTS 15 years, 171 Games Started
- 3,297-5,604 for 43,040 yards
- 254 Touchdowns 242 Interceptions
- 58.8 Completion Percentage 80.2 Quarterback Rating
- 1982 NFL MVP
- 6 time Pro-Bowl (79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 85)
- 1st team All-Pro 1979 and 1982
- Hall-Of-Fame 1993
PHILIP RIVERS 12 years, 150 Games Started
- 3,462-5,339 for 41,447 yards
- 281 Touchdowns 135 Interceptions
- 64.8 Completion Percentage 95.5 Quarterback Rating
- 2013 NFL Comeback Player of the Year
- 6 time Pro-Bowl (06, 09, 10, 11, 13, 14)
- 1st team All-Pro 2009
Rivers clearly has the better numbers. He has been far more accurate and has had far fewer picks. Though you must take in consideration that cornerbacks are not allowed to touch wide receivers down field. In the 70’s and 80’s, throwing the ball down field was not embraced like it is now. Many rule changes have taken place to both protect the quarterback and allow the wide receivers to roam down field untouched. It is hard to imagine how great the 80’s Chargers could have been with the modern rule changes.
Before crowning Rivers the best quarterback of the two, you must definitely take in consideration the different eras in which they played. Fouts most definitely had the stronger arm of the two, perhaps that strong arm is what led Fouts to force more balls into coverage than Rivers. Not to say Rivers has no arm strength, but of the two he is more of a touch passer than Fouts.
Comparing the two and crowning a better quarterback is something that can truly be debated for ages. The numbers should not be the only factor in determining the winner. Rivers has the advantage that he is still playing and if he were to hoist that Super Bowl trophy one day with a lighting bolt on his shoulder, then he would unanimously be the best quarterback in franchise history. So who do you believe is the best quarterback in franchise history? The debate should be interesting.