Brees: Rivers is an elite passer

The contrasting opinions about Philip Rivers are understandable, considering he has yet to lead the San Diego Chargers to a Super Bowl.

Meanwhile the three quarterbacks directly linked to him have combined to win five titles. One of those signal-callers is New Orleans Saint Drew Brees, who recently came to the defence of Rivers, his team-mate in San Diego in 2004 and 2005.

“Philip is an elite quarterback,” Brees said after throwing for four touchdowns in a 31-24 defeat of the Chargers last Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. “I know at the end of the day quarterbacks are judged on wins, losses and championships.

“But there have been Hall of Fame quarterbacks who’ve played this game and not won Super Bowls: Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, Dan Fouts. There are certain circumstances that sometimes come into play.

“Philip’s in the prime of his career and he could be in the prime of it for the next eight to 10 years. The story is still to be written on him.”

The same can’t be said when it comes to Rivers as a person. A large number of football fans closed that book years ago after TV cameras caught him jawing with opponents or fans in separate sideline incidents. He was immediately written off as being bratty and petulant, a trash-talker whose antics overshadowed occasionally brilliant performances.

Perception couldn’t be further from reality in this case. Rivers isn’t a boor. He’s a devout Catholic who married his middle-school sweetheart; they have six children together. He doesn’t curse or carouse and is firm in his priorities: faith comes first, then family, then football.

Rivers will get another chance to show that side of his persona on Monday, 15 October. The Chargers face the Denver Broncos for first place in the AFC West at 7.30pm Cayman time on ESPN.

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