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Philip Rivers ‘Los Angeles Chargers nailed it with Justin Herbert’

Andrew Buller-Russ

Sometimes it’s hard to admit when someone else is right. When the Los Angeles Chargers decided to move on from their franchise quarterback of 16 years, naturally, there was a lot of emotion for everyone involved. Not only for the fanbase, the front office, coaching staff, but also obviously with Philip Rivers too, as at the age of 39, he wasn’t ready to call it quits just yet. He ended up playing for the Indianapolis Colts after signing a one-year, $25 million contract, which was the final year of his historic career.

Meanwhile, with Rivers sent out the door, the Chargers had an immediate need for a starting quarterback, and luckily, they struck gold, selecting Justin Herbert sixth overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. While the Chargers have yet to return to the playoffs, while Rivers helped drag the Colts to the playoffs in his final season, looking back, it’s hard to say the Chargers have any regrets about their string of decisions.

Even Rivers, two years after his retirement from playing pro football, he admits the same.

Like you, Philip Rivers is a big Justin Herbert fan

Pretty much from the moment Justin Herbert took the field in Week 2 of his rookie season, it was clear the Chargers had a franchise quarterback on their hands. Herbert immediately posted a 300-yard game, losing by just three points to their AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs, which was of course led by none other than Patrick Mahomes.

Herbert would go on to post ridiculous numbers for a 22-year-old rookie, playing well beyond his years.

  • Justin Herbert stats as a rookie: 66.6% completion rate, 4,336 passing yards, 31 TD, 10 INT

The Chargers have gone 15-17 under Herbert since he was drafted, and there’s real reason to believe the roster might be able to take the next step and push for a playoff spot as he enters his third season as a starter in 2022.

Now, when Philip Rivers looks back and sees what Herbert and himself has accomplished, he can’t help but smile and gush about what the future of Chargers football may look like.

“I pull like crazy for the Chargers and I pull for Justin Herbert in particular, just because I think it’s awesome that I was able to be there for 16 years, hopefully he can be there for another 16. I always thought it’s cool you look at the Packers, you can say, ‘Who’s been their quarterback the last 40 years? Favre and Rodgers.’ You don’t want it to go the Browns’ version, with 30 starters in the last 25 years. With Herbert, it was time for me to be done there, and then they nailed that pick.”

Philip Rivers to Crain & Company

While it’s hard not to pull for Herbert, if he can follow in the footsteps of Rivers, having that same type of longevity, the Chargers should have several playoff appearances in their future. And not to compare, because Rivers is a legend for the organization, but obviously the bigger objective for Herbert will be to chase the elusive Super Bowl that Rivers could never quite accomplish in his day.

That work continues in 2022.

Related: Los Angeles Chargers schedule: Justin Herbert battles Raiders in Week 1, 2022 Chargers roster