Giants vs Chargers: Manning vs Rivers For Possibly the Last Time
It's the 4th and most likely final round between the 2 current active NFL iron men at the quarterback position. Both from the same 2004 draft class and even traded for one another within the top 5 picks. Since either has taken their first start, both replacing future Hall of Famers (Kurt Warner/Drew Brees) neither has missed one since.
Phillip Rivers and Eli Manning. The debate continues even to this day on which team really won the trade. Of course the trade was far from "straight up". At time GM Ernie Accorsi was determined to get his man since missing out on John Elway when he manned the Colts.
Despite Eli Manning as well as the Manning family in general pleading with the San Diego Chargers to not draft him due to previous debacles with Ryan Leaf and with Drew Brees seemingly busting, the Chargers selected him with the first overall pick anyway. 3 picks later, Philip Rivers was selected by the Giants and immediately traded with a king's ransom with of draft picks to the Chargers in exchange for Eli Manning. This eternally linked these 2 quarterbacks despite playing from across the continent as well as being in different conferences.
The King's ranson worth of picks turned into kicker Nate Kaeding, linebacker Shawn "Lights Out" Merriman, and even another trade for left tackle Roman Oben.
Philip Rivers, Shawn Merriman, and Nate Kaeding would all make the 2006 Pro Bowl while Eli Manning struggled through the 2006 season. This left Chargers fans often saying that the trade was essentially 3 pro bowlers for a mediocre quarterback.
Of course, Giants fans would have the last laugh as 6 years later, Eli Manning would have brought the Giants 2 Lombardi trophies while the Chargers (especially Nate Kaeding) would famously struggle in the postseason. By 2013, both Kaeding and Merriman would both be out of the league from mostly injury related issues. Merriman would also be hit with PED issues as well as a domestic violence suit.
Although Eli would easily win the postseason success battle, he would overwhelmingly lose the career statistical battle as well as lose head to head to Phillip Rivers not once, twice, but three times leaving him 0-3 against the man he was traded for.
Often when it's comes to the Hall of Fame debate for either quarterback, many say that if Eli had Rivers' numbers, there wouldn't be a debate. The same is said about if Rivers has Eli's rings. Both have have played so poorly in certain points in their careers where they've been prematurely written off only to comeback and silence critics.
As of now though, both quarterbacks are obviously on the wrong side of 35 and both are currently off to a woeful and depressing 0-4 start of the 2017 season, all but ending any hopes for the postseason berth. With younger already successfully quarterbacks now filling up the league, it's only a matter of time that the careers of Eli and Rivers come to an end in favor of a young prospect.
Until that time comes and with not much else to look forward to in the 2017 barring some miracle, we can sit back and watch the final head to head matchup of two past their prime franchise quarterbacks, giving it their all to extend their careers.
Prediction: Eli Manning goes 0-4 against Philip Rivers and the Giants drop to 0-5 on the season leaving the scouting department to begin searching for Eli's eventual replacement if he isn't already on the roster.
Chargers 23 Giants 17