by Mario "The Game" Granata
On the debut of the "Pocket Presence" series, Hashtag Sports takes a look at two quarterbacks who love to shine when the sun is out, and in San Diego and Miami, there are rays and passes slicing through the air. See how Phillip Rivers measures up with Dan Marino.
In an age where people love to compare current players to former players, and who is the “Next Big Thing” there is a comparison out there that seems to have slipped by many people: Dan Marino and Phillip Rivers. Now, at first glance, comparing these two quarterbacks would be insane, but by taking a closer look at the numbers, one can see how this comparison has come to fruition.
Point #1: The Release. Both of these individuals have a very unique, albeit fast release that seems to come from nowhere, and gets to the receivers somehow. While Dan Marino’s release remains in football lore, Philip Rivers’ release might go down as the defining factor when he decides to hang up his cleats.
Point #2: Fiery Demeanor. One doesn’t have to look further than the recent Wild Card win that San Diego had versus the Cincinnati Bengals to know how passionate Rivers is for the game of football. If you look in the archives you can see Dan Marino with many facial expressions that look like Rivers. Both play the game with a brand of confidence bordering on cockiness, and for that, those Dolphin teams, and the current Chargers teams are always in games.
Point #3: College Days. Both were quarterbacks that we no longer see in the NFL: 4 year starters. Now, there are a few quarterbacks that stay 4 full years, which is the reason that there is the new 26-27-60 system for testing quarterbacks now that try to predict how they will perform in the NFL. (26 Wonderlic, 27 Starts, 60 Completion Percentage). This would be laughable in Marino’s day and we started to see a changing of the guard by the time Rivers was drafted, as Marino started 48 games in college, while Rivers started 49. Also, both, when they graduated were #1 in passing yards for the leagues they played in (Rivers in the ACC and Marino as an Independent).
Point #4: Numbers Never Lie. No, this is not a reference to the ESPN show starring Michael Smith and Jamele Hill, but better yet, the combined passing statistics of Rivers and Marino in their first 8 full seasons as a starter in the NFL. Hopefully you are sitting down for these. Marino had a record of 75-49 while Rivers has a 79-49 record. Completions: Rivers, 2629, Marino, 2625. Yards: Rivers, 32,221, Marino, 33,176. Touchdowns: Rivers, 220, Marino, 246. (Both have thrown for 30+ 3 of those years, while the least they have thrown for was 21, Marino in 1990, Rivers in 2005).
There are also some miscellaneous facts, that both of these individuals had very interesting draft days where they will ultimately be linked to another quarterback in their draft (Marino to John Elway, Rivers to Eli Manning) and the quarterback that they are linked to have 2 Super Bowl rings. Another interesting point is that the closest Marino got to a Championship was when he was defeated in Super Bowl XIX by Joe Montana, a quarterback that is many times compared to Tom Brady, who was the quarterback who defeated Rivers in the furthest he ever got to win a title. (AFC Championship in during the 2007 season).
So, if you are looking for the next Marino in the current NFL, Rivers is your man…now stay classy San Diego.