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San Diego Chargers’ Philip Rivers, not Terrell Thomas, Named PFWA Comeback Player of the Year

January 18th, 2014 at 11:00 AM
By Dan Benton

The Pro Football Writers of America named their 2013 Comeback Player of the Year Award on Friday, and the recipient may not be who many expected. Despite an impressive comeback by Tampa Bay Buccaneers CB Darrelle Revis and an even more impressive, and highly improbable comeback by New York Giants CB Terrell Thomas, the award was given to San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers.

The reason Rivers was given the award, says PFWA, was the following:

"Rivers, with the help of head coach Mike McCoy, offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, who won the PFWA’s 2013 Assistant Coach of the Year award, and position coach Frank Reich, improved his completion percentage to a career-high and NFL-leading 69.5 percent (378 of 544) for 4,478 yards, 32 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. The 32 TDs was his second-highest total in a season, and the 4,478 passing yards was the third-highest of his career. He set a club record with 378 completions and tied the club record for passer rating with 105.5."

Although Rivers deserved credit for a quality season, the real question is: what did he come back from? Yes, 2012 was not kind to Rivers statistically, nor his team based on record, but he still played average football in 2012 with his team (a group accomplishment that should not play into an individual award) only improving by two games.

Thomas, meanwhile, had not played football in two seasons following two separate ACL tears and a microfracture surgery. His comeback, which the award is named for, was unprecedented. He is the only person in NFL history to ever return from both a microfracture surgery and three career ACL tears. The next closest person to accomplish such a feat is Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, who also returned from three ACL tears.

By definition alone, Thomas' incredible bounce-back season warranted the award. The fact that he even played in 16 games is remarkable, let alone winning a Defensive Player of the Week Award during the season and then ending the year by leading the Giants in both tackles and defensive stops in two of their final three games.

It is worth noting however, that the PFWA award is not the official NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. So, as foolish as their decision may appear to be, Thomas still has hope of winning the official award that he not only deserved, but has absolutely earned.

Photo credit: Marianne O'Leary / / CC BY


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Tags: Darrelle Revis, Football, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Philip Rivers, San Diego, San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Terrell Thomas

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5 Responses to “San Diego Chargers’ Philip Rivers, not Terrell Thomas, Named PFWA Comeback Player of the Year”

  1.  rlhjr says:

    Jen Polashock says:
    January 18, 2014 at 9:43 AM
    Eric, thanks for taking time to post today. Realize this: Articles aren’t written solely on or about anyone personally in particular– especially about posters /SUPPORTERS here on the site. Fans are ALL OVER, not just here. Giants 101 research and experience goes well beyond this site, even though some of you may not. Please don’t take every sarcastic word to heart. It’ll kill ya!

    rlhjr says:
    January 18, 2014 at 11:15 AM
    Jen you regularly produce really good articles.

    Just my two cents but many here did not feel Tom Coughlin would ever be forced into ejecting his coordinators/coaches. Don’t get it twisted, TC is an excellent coach. But his expertise is in crossing the “T’s” and dotting the “I’s”.

    Many loved his no nonsense semi military way of doing things. And indeed when Coughlin first joined the Giants his attitude was very much needed. He set the required behavioral standard that any player wanting to call himself a pro needs to adhere to. In short, Coughlin demanded that you conduct yourself like a man with responsibility and accountability. Being ex military I saw this right away.

    Not all young and quite a few older folks understand that if you cant follow, you will never be able to lead. That concept goes right over their heads. Coughlin brought those and other principals to the Giants. And the team indeed the organization needed that.

    That said, todays NFL requires communication with your young players and the ability to move with evolving trends and understanding what does not change.
    In todays NFL “Freshmen” play. And due to financial concerns, they need to be given every opportunity to insert themselves into their teams lineups.
    That takes ability on the young players part, and encouragement and REAL coaching on the part of the head coach and the coaches under him.
    Another item to be taken into account is sometime the youngster is not able to play on the pro level his first year. Yeah, it really does happen……………

    It is in this area that Coughlin and thus the team was sorely lacking.
    You have to work with these youngsters to tap their potential. And you do need to get the very best out of them. And no matter how hard line you might be, it’s in your best interest (and the teams) to understand this and proceed accordingly.
    One point that is not up for concession is the manner in which players conduct themselves as a person, and NY Giant both on and off the filed.

    Standby for more change, because I don’t think for a minute that Coughlin is stubborn to the point of stupidity. The hand writing is indeed on the wall.
    And change is good.

    •  Jen Polashock says:

      Repost (this is gonna be all day, lol)

      Jen Polashock says:
      January 18, 2014 at 1:27 PM (Edit)
      rlhjr, I couldn’t agree with you more. Realize that the McAdoo signing has a great deal to do with these releases, not TC being forced a hand here from above. The problem, in part, with TC’s military-like ways is that he fears putting a rook/incompetent on the front line if he can’t protect the fellow troops/team. One slip can cost a mission in his eyes. This isn’t Navy Seals, coach it’s football and learning has to occur in order for experience to be earned. Just as change in 2007 came about & brought GOOD, so shall this.

  2.  jfunk says:

    Isn’t this kind of insulting Rivers? You were so bad at playing football previously that your “come back” was even more impressive than those who were physically unable to perform previously?

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