Brees' Super Bowl Win Puts Pressure on Rivers

When former Chargers QB Drew Brees took the Saints to a 31-17 win over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, the pressure cooker was ratcheted up a notch on Philip Rivers. It seems everyone associated with San Diego's quarterback position can win a ring except for the man still wearing lightning bolts.

At this point, the list is borderline ridiculous.

Eli Manning, whom the Chargers swapped for a package headlined by Philip Rivers, has won a Super Bowl.

Ben Roethlisberger, whom the Chargers passed up in favor of Rivers, has won two Super Bowls.

Heck, even J.P. Losman, the fourth QB selected in the first round of the 2004 draft, won a championship earlier this year by leading the Las Vegas Locomotives to the inaugural UFL title.

QB Philip Rivers
And now Drew Brees, whom the Chargers let walk so they could hand the keys to Rivers, has captured a Lombardi Trophy.

Rivers won't admit it, but he is feeling the pressure.

Recall San Diego's thrilling 21-20 win over the Giants earlier this season when Rivers hit Vincent Jackson for the game-winning score to defeat Eli Manning's squad. Rivers sprinted off the field like he had just won the Super Bowl.

Why? Because whether he likes to talk about it or not, Rivers still compares himself to the other QBs in his draft class. Just like he still compares himself to Brees.

Now, the threesome of Brees, Manning and Roethlisberger has combined for more Super Bowl wins (four) than Rivers has playoff wins (three).

This is not to imply Rivers is less than a premier quarterback. He is coming off one of the finest two-season stretches in Chargers history and will be a legitimate MVP candidate for many years to come. Nonetheless, the fact that he's thrown at least one interception in each of his seven career playoff games is a definite concern.

Some will argue Rivers is surrounded by less talent than the other quarterbacks in this discussion. But the Saints were 3-13 before Brees came to town in 2006. Since then, he has lifted them to two Conference Title Games and a Super Bowl win.

Brees had a similar rebuilding effect in San Diego. The Chargers were 1-15 the season before they drafted Brees, yet they posted winning records in each of his final two seasons as a starter.

Rivers inherited a team that was already clicking on all cylinders and has yet to drive that car across the finish line.

Now that Brees has added his name to the list of championed QBs connected in some way to Rivers, the pressure builds to astronomical levels for No. 17.

Chargers fans talk about Brees' Super Bowl victory inside the message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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