Two Players Retiring from NFL

Philip Rivers (Left) and Drew Brees (Right) Teammates, rivals, NFL Idols.

K.C Alfred

Philip Rivers (Left) and Drew Brees (Right) Teammates, rivals, NFL Idols.

You’re probably wondering, Why is everyone making such a big deal over two Quarterbacks retiring? The two players that announced that they are retiring are Drew Brees and Philip Rivers.

Drew Brees
Brees played college football at Purdue. While there only for four years he put up 11,792 yards with 90 TD’s and and 45 Int’s on 1,026 completions. After the 2000 season, Drew declared he was entering the 2001 NFL Draft. He was ranked somewhere in the 1st round. However, Drew slipped because of his short stature for being an NFL QB (6 foot). He was the second QB taken and the 33rd pick in the 2001 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers.

Drew was the backup for the San Diego Chargers QB Doug Flutie. In week 8 of the 2001 season, Brees got his shot against the Chargers rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. He came in after Doug Flutie suffered a concussion. He finished the day with 221 yards passing and his first career TD. Sadly, they lost 25-20 to the Chiefs. This was his only appearance as a rookie.

In the 2004 season, Brees had his best year. Passing for 3,159 yards and 27 TDs and only 7 Int. He was also named Comeback player of the year. Brees would go on to make his first Pro Bowl. The Chargers record that season was 12-4, won them their division. However, they were knocked out in the first round by the New York Jets.

The 2005 season, playing against the Denver Broncos in the season finale, Brees tried to dive on a losse football and was smacked by Denver safety John Lynch. It was later announced that Drew had torn his labrum in his throwing shoulder. His shoulder required surgery and 4 months of rehab. The Chargers tried to low ball him on a contract. So, Brees declined and walked into Free Agency.
In free agency, Brees had two teams wanting him to come play for them. The New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins ended up having some concerns about Brees’ shoulder so they ended the negotiations and traded for the Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper. Brees went on to sign a contract with The Saints for 6 years for 60 million on March 16, 2006.

From 2006-2020 Brees played for the Saints, breaking multiple records and in New Orleans. In his first season, Brees took the Saints from 3-13 to 10-6. Brees, that season, was named to another Pro Bowl and was a co-winner of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award with former teammate, LaDainian Tomlinson. Brees was also a first team all-pro in 2006.

In 2008, The Saints went 8-8. Brees made another Pro Bowl, was named Offensive Player of the Year and named second Team all-pro. However, 2009 would be the game changing season for the Saints. The Saints started 8-0 and ended the year 13-3. Brees won the MVP (Most Valuable Player), and was named second team all-pro. They went all the way to the Super Bowl to play against the Colts. The Saints would go on to win the Super bowl 31-17, and Brees would go on to win Super Bowl MVP. Brees was also voted to a Pro bowl. However, he had to miss it because he was playing in the Super Bowl

From 2010-2016, the Saints fell apart. However, from 2009-2014 Brees made 5 straight Pro Bowls. In 2010, he won Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year and Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. In 2011, Drew was named Offensive Player of the Year again and named second team all-pro again.

From 2017-2020 when the Saints were making the playoffs, Brees made 3 Pro Bowls. In 2018 He was again named Second team all-pro.
Now at the end of his career, Brees holds several NFL Records such as: most career passing yards, most career pass completions, highest career completion percentage, most pass completions in a season, highest single-season completion percentage, highest single-game completion percentage, most touchdown passes in a game (tied), and most consecutive games with a touchdown pass.

Philip Rivers

Philip Rivers played college football for N.C. State for 4 years, putting up 13,484 yards with 95 TD’s and 34 Interceptions. Rivers was drafted by the New York Giants with the 4th overall pick in the 2004 draft. However, the first overall pick Eli Manning refused to play for the Chargers, and for the first time ever, two drafted rookies were traded on the same day. Rivers was traded to the Chargers for Eli Manning.

Rivers would serve as the backup to Drew Brees because he held out during training camp. In his rookie year, he only played in 2 games. He threw his first Touchdown to Rookie wide receiver Malcom Floyd in the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs.

2005 was somewhat of the same as his rookie season. He sat on the bench and held a clipboard. Until Brees was injured against the Broncos in the season finale, he had a horrible game completing 12 passes in 22 attempts as well as throwing an interception and losing two fumbles.

2006 was different. With Brees off to New Orleans, Rivers was the starter. That season the Chargers went 14-2, winning their division and getting a first round bye. Rivers threw for 3,388 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 9 picks, making it a decent season for Rivers. The Chargers went all the way to the division round and played Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Patriots upset the #1 seed Chargers in a 24-21 win, sending the Chargers home. Rivers ended up making his first Pro Bowl.

In 2007, the Chargers went 11-5. They went to the wild-card to play the Titans and won. Then they went to the Colts and won in the divisional round. Unfortunately Rivers tore his ACL and would play through it and the rest of the playoffs. He would have surgery during the off season.

In 2008 it started to look like a total collapse with the Chargers going 4-8. However, Rivers and the Chargers won the final 4 games to win the division and go 8-8. They would be on to face the Colts in the wild-card. The Chargers won the game 23-17. They went to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers and lost, but Rivers would lead the NFL in passing yards and would tie for most touchdowns in a season.

The next season (2009), Rivers signed a six-year, $92 million contract extension with the Chargers. This would lead the Chargers to a 13-3 record, winning them the second seed. In the Divisional round, the Chargers lost 17-14 against the Jets. From 2009-2011, Rivers would make 3 straight Pro Bowls. In 2010, Rivers won NFL Alumni Players of the Year.

In 2013, the Chargers played hard. In the final week of the season they played the Chiefs and they won, clinching the #6 seed. He led the Chargers to a 27-10 victory against the Bengals, but lost to the Broncos in the divisional round. Rivers won Comeback Player of the Year. That was the last time Rivers and the Chargers made the playoffs— until 2018.

In 2017, the Chargers left San Diego for L.A. The Chargers missed the playoffs, but Rivers did make a Pro Bowl.

In 2018, The Chargers came blazing onto the scene, going 12-4 making and the playoffs as the 5th seed. They made the playoffs for the first time since 2013. The Chargers went to Baltimore to play the Ravens, beating them 23-17. The Chargers went on to face their playoff nemesis: the Patriots. The Patriots steamrolled over the Chargers in a 41-28 game. Rivers would be named to his final Pro Bowl.

2019 was the last season Rivers would play with the Chargers. He finished the 2019 season with 4,615 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions—which was the third most in the NFL. The Chargers went 5-11 that season earning the 6th overall pick and selected Oregon Quarterback, Justin Hurbert. Rivers and the Chargers agreed to part ways

In 2020, Rivers signed a one-year, $25 million deal with the Colts. Rivers would have a great rebound of a season as he helped the Colts go on 11-5, making the playoffs and the #7 seed. He finished the 2020 season with 4,169 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. The Colts played the Buffalo Bills and lost 24-27. At the end of the 2020 season, Rivers was 5th all time for passing yards and 5th all time for passing touchdowns.

Unlike Drew, Rivers announced he was retiring on Jan 20, 2021. He is now the head coach for St. Michael Catholic High School’s football team in Fairhope, Alabama.

Both quarterbacks will make it into the Hall of Fame, Until then, all fans can do is watch their highlights and enjoy the two player’s legacy.