Sunsetting Careers – Philip Rivers Football Cards – The 2004 NFL rookie card year is remembered as one of the best in hobby history, thanks in large part to a stellar quarterback crop. Among those names, few are left standing in the NFL. Eli Manning and Matt Schaub retired in recent years, and now another joins themPhilip Rivers.

Rivers announced his retirement earlier today by way of an interview with Kevin Acee of The San Diego Union-Tribune while dually announcing the next phase of his professional life. “I can sit here and say, โ€˜I can still throw it. I love to play,โ€™ โ€ Rivers said. โ€œBut thatโ€™s always going to be there. Iโ€™m excited to go coach high school football.โ€

The announcement brings to close a spectacular career in the NFL. Across 17 seasons, Rivers played in 244 games, including an unheard of 240 consecutively as starting QB. Only Brett Favre has a longer uninterrupted streak. Currently, Rivers sits fifth all time in passing yards (63,440), passes completed (5,277) and passing TDs (421).

RiversNFL career started with a bit of controversy, thanks to fellow 2004 draftee Manning. After starring with North Carolina State, Rivers was selected fourth overall by the New York Giants. Manning, who had been drafted first overall by the then San Diego Chargers, made it very publicly known that he would not play for that team, and as a result a swap was made that same draft day, with Rivers headed to the Sunshine State.

With his career approaching close, the Chargers and Rivers mutually agreed to part ways following the expiry of his final contract with the team in February 2020. Feeling he still had juice left in the tank, Rivers signed on with the Indianapolis Colts and had one of the most impressive seasons of his career, earning a 68.0% completion percentage, an eighth consecutive season of plus-4,000 yards and a QB rating of 97.0. Part of his success can be attributed to the stellar Colts roster as Rivers and his line only allowed 19 sacks, the second fewest of his career as a starter.

As good as Rivers was, he was never able to reach the peak of team performance – the Super Bowl. Four times, Rivers arguably carried the Chargers on his arm to the AFC Championship Game, but he and the club were never able to advance farther. His hard work was recognized several times over, however, with eight Pro Bowl selections, the NFL Alumni Quarterback of the Year Award (2010), the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award (2013) and other accolades.

Collectors have had a multitude of options over the years when it comes to Philip Rivers cards, including from his rookie campaign. At the time, the NFL had agreements with multiple manufacturers, and as a result, RCs from Playoff (Panini’s predecessor), Topps, Fleer and Upper Deck are available.

Congratulations to Philip Rivers on an outstanding football career!

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Jon Waldman
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