PACK PRIDE: Philip Rivers vs. Russell Wilson


Sunday’s NFL game in San Diego showcased what the Wolfpack Nation has known for years:  NC State has had some darn good quarterbacks throughout the years.  When the San Diego Chargers hosted the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks, a spotlight was shined on two confident field  generals with completely different playing  styles.  Seattle’s  Russell Wilson has already  experienced football’s Holy Grail during his short 3 year tenure in the NFL and Philip Rivers has had great success in some very potent offenses during his 11 seasons in the league.

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback U?

Last year no other college program could say they had 3 quarterbacks starting in the National Football League.  I’m not sure if any team has ever had this happen.  Admittedly, Tampa Bay Buccaneer QB Mike Glennon was probably thrown into the fire too soon and has taken a step back this  year, but there  are only 32 NFL starting quarterbacks in  the world and Glennon was one of them.  For a  rookie  Glennon  held his own  finishing last season  with 19 TD’s and 9 INTS in 13 games.  In fact, some observers  felt the Bucs would be  better served  if they allowed Glennon the opportunity to grow and mature at the position this season as the starter.  However, after a regime change, new coach Lovie Smith had other ideas.

“PR” as Rivers is affectionately known by  Charger faithful, stands 6’5″ 228 lbs.  Wilson is 5’11” and 206 lbs.  Rivers  is 32 years of age and Wilson is 25.  Aside from their NC State pedigree there are little similarities.  However, if you watched them play in college you recognize the fact that they are both the same quarterback they were in school that commanded respect and praise from opponents and teammates alike. 

They both were conductors of some of the most magical offensive football one has ever laid eyes on.  Red and white never looked so good.  Yes  I know, Russell wore the colors twice (ugh).  I must admit it still irks  me a little when Wisconsin continues to get the lion’s  share of credit even though Wilson only played one season there versus 3 seasons and an additional redshirt year at State. In my book 4 trumps one any day of the week.

In a testament to the type character that Wilson has, he routinely refers to his college during NFL pre-game introductions as “Russell Wilson from  a whole Pack of Badgers” paying  homage to NC State and Wisconsin.   

Likewise, Rivers  has  never  shied away from  his NC State background and like Wilson has displayed nothing but professionalism and excellent character.  A lot of schools cannot say this.  I wonder what Virginia Tech’s brass said behind closed doors when the Michael Vick saga was playing out.  Or Miami of Ohio when Ben Roethlisberger was dealing with his 2 or 3 rape allegations.

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When at the helm for the Wolfpack, both Rivers and Wilson each possessed rare leadership abilities that allowed them to succeed at the next level.  It isn’t all about talent.  Both of these men also have it between the ears.   GMs and coaches recognize that this is what separates the good   quarterback  from  the  great  ones.  If  you  don’t  believe  me  watch them  on  the  field.  Of, course  a lot  of what  a QB  can  do  is dictated  largely by  what type  offensive scheme  or system he plays in.

However, both  Rivers and Wilson  display a command  presence, knowledge and awareness in the direction of personnel ala Peyton Manning.  Especially Rivers.  The longer Wilson is in the league he too will be afforded  the audible  freedoms that seasoned  veterans get.  However, Wilson  has been  so good he skipped the traditional “lumps” that young QB’s take and jumped to the playoffs in his first year. Wilson won it all in spectacular fashion in his second year.  After a stellar career that has been void of significant postseason success, Rivers can only hope to  add a Super Bowl Championship to  his repertoire.  Until then we in the Wolfpack Nation will continue to cheer and appreciate the special qualities that both men provide on Sundays.

By the way, Rivers’ Chargers won the ball game 30-21. Rivers was 28 of 37 for 281 yards, 3 TD’s and no interceptions. Wilson finished 17 of 25 for 202 yards, 2 TD’s and no interceptions.

Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Will current redshirt sensation Jacoby Brissett satisfy expectations and continue the trend?

NFL Quarterbacks from NC State:

  • Mike Glennon (2008-12)
  •  Russell Wilson (2007-10)
  • Philip Rivers (2000-03)
  • Erik Kramer (1985-86)
  • Johnny Evans (1974-77)
  • Roman Gabriel (1959-61)


  • Shane Montgomery (1987-89)
  • Jamie Barnette (1996-99)
  • Jim Donnan (1965-67)

More from North Carolina State Wolfpack

Career Stats:

Including the two games this season Rivers has amassed 32, 891 yards, 225 TD’s an 105 INTS.

In only his 3rd season, Wilson has 6,868, 56 TD’s and 19 INTS and one Super Bowl.