By now you surely know that former Chargers and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers has retired after 17 seasons in the NFL. Rivers never got to the Super Bowl and only played in one Conference Championship, but his stats will certainly merit some consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame down the line.
One of the more amazing things about Rivers’ playing career is the fact that he never missed a single start. From the day he replaced Drew Brees in 2006 through his lone season with the Colts in 2020, he neither missed a game due to injury nor skipped out on starting a meaningless game. Fans may recall that he went the distance in the 2007 AFC Championship Game on a torn ACL. His 240 consecutive (regular season) starts trails only Brett Favre for longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history.
So with Rivers off to go coach high school football in Alabama, who has the active mark for most consecutive quarterback starts in the NFL right now?
You guessed it.
Russell Wilson has started 144 out of a possible 144 regular season games. The closest we’ve seen to him potentially missing a game occurred in 2016 when he sprained his ankle on opening day and then sprained his MCL two weeks later. Wilson played through those injuries for virtually the rest of that year. His iron man streak given the hits he’s absorbed and the sacks he’s taken makes this feat that much more astonishing.
The current active leader for consecutive starts across all positions is Ndamukong Suh (who injured Wilson in 2016). Much to my amazement he has only missed two games in his entire career, which you just don’t see out of defensive tackles. Cameron Jordan of the New Orleans Saints also has Wilson beat by one game.
Getting back to Rivers, the Seahawks are scheduled to play the Colts in Indianapolis next season. With Rivers hanging up the cleats, Wilson won’t be able to get one last crack at beating him head-to-head. Rivers didn’t commit a single turnover against the Seahawks in either of his wins in 2014 or 2018, and both of those Chargers wins broke lengthy Wilson era streaks: Not losing by multiple scores (2014, 30-21) and not losing at home to an AFC team (2018, 25-17).
Enjoy retirement, Philip! Now we don’t have to see this anymore.