NFL

Why Does Philip Rivers Throw the Football So Weird?

Philip Rivers has been one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history throughout his career. He has thrown for a ton of yards and a ton of touchdowns. However, while watching him, many people have noticed that he has a pretty odd way of throwing the football, especially when compared to other all-time great quarterbacks. So, why does Philip Rivers throw the football so weird?

Philip Rivers became a star quarterback at NC State

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Prior to joining the NFL, Philip Rivers was a star quarterback at North Carolina State. During the 2000 season, he really proved his potential, as he threw for 3,054 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. NC State had a nice season, too, as they went 8-4 and won a bowl game.

Rivers then had another excellent season in 2001, as he threw for 2,586 yards, 16 touchdowns, and seven interceptions, but he played really well in 2002. During that season, Rivers threw for 3,353 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. NC State had a great year, too, as they went 11-3, won in the Gator Bowl, and finished No. 12 in the AP poll.

However, in his final season in 2003, Rivers helped his draft stock in a big way. He threw for 4,491 yards, 34 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also won the ACC Player of the Year award and finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting. For his career, Rivers set the NCAA record with 51 consecutive starts at QB, according to NC State’s site. He also ranked No. 2 in NCAA history at the time that his college career ended with 13,484 career passing yards.

This all helped him become a top pick in the 2004 NFL draft.

He has had an incredible NFL career

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The New York Giants selected Rivers with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft, but they ultimately traded him to the Chargers.

Rivers then had an excellent career with the Chargers. In his first year as a starter in 2006, Rivers earned a Pro Bowl selection, as he threw for 3,388 yards, 22 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He then had some more great seasons throughout the years, as he led the NFL in passing touchdowns in 2008 with 34, and in passing yards in 2010 with 4,710. Rivers also won the 2013 AP Comeback Player of the Year award, as he threw for 4,478 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions that year.

For his career, Rivers — who has since moved on to the Indianapolis Colts — has earned eight Pro Bowl selections and is in the top five in NFL history in passing yards. Rivers is also in the top 10 in NFL history in passing touchdowns and in the top five in completed passes.

Why does Philip Rivers throw the football so weird?

Philip Rivers has been a great quarterback in his NFL career. However, why does he throw the football in such a weird way?
Philip Rivers of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass during the first quarter of a game against the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 12, 2020. | Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

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Rivers has had all of that success despite having a very unconventional throwing motion. Many people describe it as if he is throwing a shot put.

So, why does he throw so weird? According to Boston.com, as a kid, Rivers was a ball boy for Decatur High School’s football team, which his dad, Steve, coached. He would often retrieve the football and throw it back, which led to his odd throwing motion, as he was throwing a full-size football as a child.

“We’ve got to thinking about it, and one of the reasons he has such an odd throwing motion, especially when he was younger, was he’d have to throw that big varsity football around,” Steve Rivers said in 2017, according to Chargers.com. “There was only one sized ball, and he’d throw it when the kids would play. He was throwing the regulation football that was too big for his hand for him to throw, so that’s why he would push it. They used to say it looked like he was throwing shot put. So that is probably where that motion comes from.”

Rivers has changed his throwing motion some throughout the years, but it is still basically the same motion that it has always been.

“For the most part, it was ‘stick with what got me here,'” Rivers said on NFL Total Access in 2010, according to Boston.com. “But you want to do whatever gave you the best chance to get your shot in the NFL, so I tweaked things here and there, mainly just to tighten it up. One thing I’ve always tried to live by is be quick and accurate with [the football]. It doesn’t really matter what it looks like, as long as it’s getting to the right guy.”

Philip Rivers might throw the ball in a weird way, but he has always been a great thrower of it. He has ultimately become one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, and his odd throwing motion has gotten him there.

Stats courtesy of Sports Reference and Pro Football Reference