Philip Rivers, Eli Manning meet again as NFL’s most durable quarterbacks
By Jack Wang
COSTA MESA — Emmitt Smith punched in a game-winning touchdown. Mike Sherman coached against Mike Tice. Billy Volek threw for 334 yards.
These were all events that transpired on the second weekend of November 2004 — the last time the NFL regular season went without either Eli Manning or Philip Rivers as a starting quarterback. Since being traded for each other more than 13 years ago, they have put together a couple of impressive streaks: Manning has started 203 consecutive games for the Giants, not counting playoff appearances; Rivers, who sat behind Drew Brees for two seasons, has started 180 for the Chargers.
Barring catastrophe, they will stretch their respective records Sunday at MetLife Stadium, taking turns on the field in their third meeting as professionals.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Rivers said. “You’re not playing the other quarterback, but this could be the last time we’re both out there playing each other.”
In terms of quarterback durability and longevity, Brett Favre — who started a 297 consecutive games for the Packers, Jets and Vikings — stands in his own stratosphere. But step down from those lofty heights, and few can compare to Manning and Rivers.
Only one other quarterback — Manning’s older brother, Peyton — stands above them, and Eli could pass him next month. No active quarterbacks are within 50 starts of tying Rivers’ current mark.
“Everyone wants to say it’s because I’m tougher than guys, and I don’t think that’s true,” Rivers said. “There’s an element of that, though. I think just growing up, that’s just the way it was. My dad used to always say, ‘Don’t lay out there on the field. If you have any kind of injury, you get off unless you can’t walk.’”
“Any time you can play that many consecutive games and starts, you’re doing something right,” Chargers cornerback […]