Three quarterbacks were chosen in the first 11 picks of the 2004 NFL draft and two, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, have won two Super Bowls apiece. The other one, Philip Rivers, is still trying to claim his first ring. With each failed attempt at reaching the Super Bowl, the shadows of Manning and Roethlisberger grow longer over Rivers and the Chargers’ franchise. Particularly because unlike them, the former N.C. State star has yet to put his signature on a memorable playoff win (page 46).
Rivers preaches patience and says his primary motivation is helping his Chargers teammates achieve a big win together, but as Manning and Roethlisberger have both two-upped him in the Super Bowl ring department, Jim Trotter wonders: Can Rivers really believe the journey is as enticing as the destination?
The four quarterbacks on the regional covers of Sports Illustrated’s NFL Playoff Preview—Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, New England’s Tom Brady, New Orleans’s Drew Brees and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger—have combined to win seven of the past 10 Super Bowls, including four Super Bowl MVP awards. Senior NFL writer Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) predicts that Brady and Brees will square off in a duel of record-breaking quarterbacks in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, with the Saints beating the Patriots 34–24. King’s complete predictions are listed below: