Who Won The Trade: Eli Manning vs. Phillip Rivers


Eli Manning was originally drafted by the San Diego Chargers with the first overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. The Chargers traded Manning to the New York Giants for Phillip Rivers, who they selected with the 5th overall pick and a couple of draft picks. Who won the trade?

There is one easy way to end this debate. All you have to do is point to the two Super Bowl rings of Manning and Rivers and the Chargers ultimately lose. There is no fun in that though, because I am a sportswriter and therefore am supposed to present both sides of the debate.

The real questions should be:

1.) Which team got the better quarterback?

2.) Would the Giants have had more success with Rivers?

Dec 22, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Giants quarterback

Eli Manning

(10) gives a play in the huddle during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Giants beat the Lions 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Manning has thrown for more yards as he has 39,755 yards while Rivers has 36,665. Manning has 259 touchdown passes. Rivers has 252 touchdown passes. Continuing to compare statistical performance, Rivers has several edges on Manning.

Rivers has a career completion percentage of 64%. Manning’s career completion percentage is 59%. Manning has thrown 185 career interceptions, Rivers has thrown 122.

From a statistical angle it is easier to call Manning the better quarterback. He has thrown for more yards and more touchdowns; these are the stats that define a quarterback. From a results angle Manning also wins, having the two Super Bowl MVP trophies on his mantle.

While you can make valid points in favor of Rivers, Manning is the clear cut winner. In the NFL you measure success by production and wins, two categories where Manning trumps Rivers.

There is no way of truly knowing what would have happened if the QB’s had never been swapped in the draft. Rivers probably had more talent around him in San Diego with less to show for it.

Rivers got to hand the ball off to LaDainian Tomlinson for 5 years. Antonio Gates has been there, pretty much the whole time. The truth is that Rivers was given every opportunity to win a championship, but he has failed to do so every time.

Winner: Eli Manning and the New York Giants

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