Philip Rivers (2006–2019)
Philip Rivers (2006–2019)

These quarterbacks have started at least one game for the National Football League (NFL)'s Los Angeles Chargers or its predecessor, the San Diego Chargers. They are listed in order of the date of each player's first start at quarterback for the team.

Starting quarterbacks

Dan Fouts (1973–1987)
Dan Fouts (1973–1987)

The bracketed figures to the right of each name show their record as a starter that season: (wins–losses) or (wins–losses–ties).

Regular season

Season(s) Quarterback(s) Notes Ref
Los Angeles Chargers 1960
1960 Jack Kemp (9–3) / Bob Clatterbuck (1–1) Clatterbuck started in Weeks 4–5 due to Kemp injury (shoulder). [1][2][3]
San Diego Chargers 1961–2016
1961 Jack Kemp (12–2) [4]
1962 Jack Kemp (1–1) / John Hadl (1–9) / Dick Wood (2–0) Kemp was waived after breaking his finger in Week 2. Wood and Hadl split time until Week 8, after which Wood was waived. [5][6][7]
1963 Tobin Rote (11–3) Rote, a free agent signing, was named the starter ahead of Hadl due to his greater experience. [8][9]
1964 John Hadl (6–2) / Tobin Rote (2–3–1) Hadl was named the starter after playing well in relief in Week 4. Rote started one more game in Week 14, intended as a farewell game before retirement. [10][11][12]
1965 John Hadl (9–2–3) [13]
1966 John Hadl (7–4–1) / Steve Tensi (0–2) Tensi was twice named the starter after playing well in relief. He started in Week 6 and Week 13, but struggled and Hadl replaced him during both games, resuming the starting role each time. [14][15][16]
1967 John Hadl (8–5–1) [17]
1968 John Hadl (9–5) [18]
1969 John Hadl (5–5) / Marty Domres (3–1) Domres started in Week 9 (due to a Hadl elbow injury) and 11-13 (to test his abilities). [19][20][21]
1970 John Hadl (4–5–3) / Marty Domres (1–1) Disappointing performances by Hadl led Domres to start in Weeks 5 and 12. Hadl replaced him during both games and resumed the starting role each time. [22][23][24]
1971 John Hadl (6–8) [25]
1972 John Hadl (4–9–1) [26]
1973 Johnny Unitas (1–3) / Dan Fouts (0–5–1) / Wayne Clark (1–3) Hadl was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in favor of free agent Unitas during the offseason, because of the Chargers' switch to a run-oriented offense. Unitas was benched after four games due to a sore shoulder and disappointing play, replaced by Fouts, a rookie. When Charlie Waller replaced Harland Svare as head coach, he installed Clark at quarterback for Weeks 9–12; when Clark struggled, Fouts came back in for the final two games. [27][28][29]
1974 Dan Fouts (3–8) / Jesse Freitas (2–1) Freitas started the final three games while Fouts was injured (broken thumb). [30][31]
1975 Virgil Carter (0–1) / Dan Fouts (2–7) / Jesse Freitas (0–4) Carter started in Week 1, but was benched after attempting only five passes, and waived without playing again. Freitas started in Weeks 6, 10–11 and 14 due to three separate Fouts injuries (ankle, shoulder, concussion). [32][33][34]
1976 Dan Fouts (5–8) / Clint Longley (1–0) Longley was named the starter after playing well in relief in the in Week 12, but was benched in Week 13 for Fouts, who resumed the starting role. [35][36]
1977 James Harris (4–5) / Cliff Olander (1–0) / Dan Fouts (2–2) Fouts missed the first ten games, as he was holding out to try and force the team to release him. Harris started Weeks 1–9. Olander played Week 10 as Harris was injured (foot). [37][38][39]
1978 Dan Fouts (9–5) / James Harris (0–2) Harris started in Weeks 4 and 13 due to two separate Fouts injuries (thumb, ankle). [40][41]
1979 Dan Fouts (12–4) [42]
1980 Dan Fouts (11–5) [43]
1981 Dan Fouts (10–6) [44]
1982 Dan Fouts (6–3) [45]
1983 Dan Fouts (5–5) / Ed Luther (1–5) Luther started in Weeks 8–12 and 16 due to two separate Fouts injuries (shoulder, ankle). [46][47]
1984 Dan Fouts (6–7) / Ed Luther (1–2) Luther started in Weeks 14–16 due to a Fouts groin injury. [48][49]
1985 Dan Fouts (7–5) / Mark Herrmann (1–3) Herrmann started in Weeks 5–7 and 16 due to two separate Fouts knee injuries. [50][51]
1986 Dan Fouts (3–9) / Tom Flick (1–2) / Mark Herrmann (0–1) Fouts missed Weeks 8–10 with concussion and Week 12 with a shoulder injury. Herrmann started the first of these, but he also sustained a concussion, and Flick started the remaining three. [52][53]
1987 Dan Fouts (5–5) / Rick Neuheisel (2–0) / Mark Herrmann (0–2) / Mike Kelley (1–0) Neuheisel (Weeks 4 and 6) and Kelley (Week 5) started while the regular NFL players were on strike. Herrmann started in Weeks 11 and 16 due to two separate Fouts injuries (calf, shoulder). [54][55]
1988 Babe Laufenberg (2–4) / Mark Malone (2–6) / Mark Vlasic (2–0) Fouts retired during the offseason; Laufenberg was named the new starter in preseason. Laufenberg was replaced with Malone after six games due to disappointing play and a rib injury. Malone was replaced with Vlasic after a further four games due to disappointing play and a toe injury. Vlasic started two games before sustaining a knee injury, and Malone returned for the rest of the season. [56][57][58]
1989 Jim McMahon (4–7) / Billy Joe Tolliver (2–3) McMahon was brought in as a free agent during preseason, and became the starter. He was benched for rookie Tolliver in Week 8 due to bad play and various injuries. Tolliver struggled, and McMahon returned for Weeks 9–12. Tolliver started again in Weeks 13–16 to test his abilities. [59][60][61]
1990 Mark Vlasic (0–1) / Billy Joe Tolliver (6–8) / John Friesz (0–1) Vlasic was named the starter in preseason. Tolliver replaced Vlasic after he struggled in the opener; Tolliver started the next fourteen games, but he had some weak performances late in the season and rookie Friesz replaced him for the finale. [62][63][64]
1991 John Friesz (4–12) Friesz won the starting job in a preseason contest with Tolliver. [65][66]
1992 Bob Gagliano (0–1) / Stan Humphries (11–4) Friesz missed the entire regular season after injuring his knee in a preseason game. Gagliano was named the starter for Week 1, but played poorly and Humphries took over for the rest of the season. [67][68][69]
1993 Stan Humphries (6–4) / John Friesz (2–4) Humphries was replaced after four games due to bad performances while playing through a shoulder injury. After Friesz was ineffective over the next six games, Humphries was judged by head coach Bobby Ross to have recovered enough to reclaim the starting job. [70][71]
1994 Stan Humphries (11–4) / Gale Gilbert (0–1) Gilbert started in Week 10 due to a Humphries dislocated elbow. [72][73]
1995 Stan Humphries (9–6) / Gale Gilbert (0–1) Gilbert started in Week 7 due to a Humphries shoulder injury. [74][75]
1996 Stan Humphries (7–6) / Sean Salisbury (1–2) Salisbury started in Weeks 9–10 and 15 due to two separate Humphries injuries (shoulder, concussion). [76][77]
1997 Stan Humphries (3–5) / Jim Everett (0–1) / Craig Whelihan (0–7) Everett started in Week 2 due to a Humphries dislocated shoulder. Whelihan started from Week 11 onwards due to a Humphries concussion and Everett elbow injury. [78][79]
1998 Ryan Leaf (3–6) / Craig Whelihan (2–5) Humphries retired during the offseason. Leaf, the #2 overall pick the 1998 NFL draft, started the first nine games but was benched for Whelihan after posting a passer rating of 39.9, the worst in the league at that point. [80][81][82]
1999 Jim Harbaugh (6–6) / Erik Kramer (2–2) Leaf injured his shoulder during the offseason and did not play, while Whelihan was cut. Harbaugh opened as the starter, but struggled and was rested after sustaining cracked ribs and a bruised elbow during the Chargers' third game. Kramer was ineffective over the next four games, and Harbaugh returned for the rest of the season. [83][84][85]
2000 Ryan Leaf (1–8) / Moses Moreno (0–2) / Jim Harbaugh (0–5) Leaf was named the starter after impressing in preseason. Leaf was replaced with Moreno after performing badly in the first two games. Moreno injured his shoulder the following week, and Leaf returned for one more game before picking up a wrist injury. Harbaugh started the next five games before injuring his abdomen. Moreno started the next game and injured his knee. Leaf started the final six. [86][87][88]
2001 Doug Flutie (5–11) The Chargers either released or didn't re-sign each of their three quarterbacks from the previous season. Flutie was a new signing, while Drew Brees was drafted in the 2nd round. [89][90]
2002 Drew Brees (8–8) Brees won the starting job from Flutie in preseason. [91][92]
2003 Drew Brees (2–9) / Doug Flutie (2–3) Brees was benched for poor form after starting the first eight games. Flutie started the next five, then Brees was reinstalled to test his progress as a quarterback. [93][94]
2004 Drew Brees (11–4) / Doug Flutie (1–0) 1st-round draft pick Philip Rivers was brought in to replace Brees, but held out for a month in training camp, and Brees retained the job. He started the first fifteen games, and was replaced by Flutie in the regular season finale only because the Chargers were resting starters for the playoffs. [95][96][97]
2005 Drew Brees (9–7) [98]
2006 Philip Rivers (14–2) Brees was allowed to go to the New Orleans Saints in free agency, having dislocated his throwing shoulder in the 2005 season finale. [99][100]
2007 Philip Rivers (11–5) [101]
2008 Philip Rivers (8–8) [102]
2009 Philip Rivers (13–3) [103]
2010 Philip Rivers (9–7) [104]
2011 Philip Rivers (8–8) [105]
2012 Philip Rivers (7–9) [106]
2013 Philip Rivers (9–7) [107]
2014 Philip Rivers (9–7) [108]
2015 Philip Rivers (4–12) [109]
2016 Philip Rivers (5–11) [110]
Los Angeles Chargers 2017–present
2017 Philip Rivers (9–7) [111]
2018 Philip Rivers (12–4) [112]
2019 Philip Rivers (5–11) [113]
2020 Tyrod Taylor (1–0) / Justin Herbert (6–9) Rivers was allowed to go to the Indianapolis Colts in free agency, as keeping him would have made it difficult for the Chargers to keep under the salary cap. He had stared 224 consecutive games for the team. Taylor started in Week 1, but a team doctor inadvertently punctured his lung while giving him an injection shortly before the Week 2 games; Herbert, the #6 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, took over and kept the role. [114][115]
[116][117]
2021 Justin Herbert (9–8) [118]

Post-season records

Season Quarterback(s)
1960 Jack Kemp (0–1)
1961 Jack Kemp (0–1)
1963 Tobin Rote (1–0)
1964 Tobin Rote (0–1)
1965 John Hadl (0–1)
1979 Dan Fouts (0–1)
1980 Dan Fouts (1–1)
1981 Dan Fouts (1–1)
1982 Dan Fouts (1–1)
1992 Stan Humphries (1–1)
1994 Stan Humphries (2–1)
1995 Stan Humphries (0–1)
2004 Drew Brees (0–1)
2006 Philip Rivers (0–1)
2007 Philip Rivers (2–1)
2008 Philip Rivers (1–1)
2009 Philip Rivers (0–1)
2013 Philip Rivers (1–1)
2018 Philip Rivers (1–1)

Most games as starting quarterback

Sortable table. As a default, players are ordered by the date of their first start for the Chargers.

Table key
Indicates the player has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Period Span from first Charger start to last Charger start
GS Games started for the Chargers
W Number of wins as starting quarterback
L Number of losses as starting quarterback
T Number of ties as starting quarterback
% Winning percentage as starting quarterback
Los Angeles Chargers starting quarterbacks
Name Period Regular season Postseason
GS W L T % GS W L %
Jack Kemp 1960–62 28 22 6 .786 2 0 2 .000
Bob Clatterbuck 1960 2 1 1 .500
John Hadl 1962–72 123 59 55 9 .516 2 0 2 .000
Dick Wood 1962 2 2 0 1.000
Tobin Rote 1963–64 20 13 6 1 .675 2 1 1 .500
Steve Tensi 1966 2 0 2 .000
Marty Domres 1969–70 6 4 2 .667
Johnny Unitas 1973 4 1 3 .250
Dan Fouts 1973–87 171 86 84 1 .506 7 3 4 .429
Wayne Clark 1973 4 1 3 .250
Jesse Freitas 1974–75 7 2 5 .286
Virgil Carter 1975 1 0 1 .000
Clint Longley 1976 1 1 0 1.000
James Harris 1977 11 4 7 .364
Cliff Olander 1977 1 1 0 1.000
Ed Luther 1983-84 9 2 7 .222
Mark Herrmann 1985-87 7 1 6 .143
Tom Flick 1986 3 1 2 .333
Rick Neuheisel 1987 2 2 0 1.000
Mike Kelley 1987 1 1 0 1.000
Babe Laufenberg 1988 6 2 4 .333
Mark Malone 1988 8 2 6 .250
Mark Vlasic 1988–90 3 2 1 .667
Jim McMahon 1989 11 4 7 .571
Billy Joe Tolliver 1989–90 19 8 11 .421
John Friesz 1990–93 23 6 17 .261
Bob Gagliano 1992 1 0 1 .000
Stan Humphries 1992–97 76 47 29 .618 6 3 3 .500
Gale Gilbert 1994–95 2 0 2 .000
Sean Salisbury 1996 2 1 2 .333
Jim Everett 1997 1 1 0 .333
Craig Whelihan 1997–98 14 2 12 .143
Ryan Leaf 1998–00 18 4 14 .222
Jim Harbaugh 1999–00 17 6 11 .353
Erik Kramer 1999 4 2 2 .500
Moses Moreno 2000 2 0 2 .000
Doug Flutie 2001–04 22 8 14 .364
Drew Brees 2002–05 58 30 28 .517 1 0 1 .000
Philip Rivers 2006–19 224 123 101 .549 11 5 6 .455
Tyrod Taylor 2020 1 1 0 .549
Justin Herbert 2020– 32 15 17 .469

Team career passing records[edit]

(Through the 2021 NFL season)

Name Comp Att % Yds TD Int
Philip Rivers 4,908 7,591 64.7 59,271 397 198
Dan Fouts 3,297 5,604 58.8 43,040 254 242
John Hadl 1,824 3,640 50.1 26,938 201 211
Stan Humphries 1,335 2,350 56.8 16,085 85 73
Drew Brees 1,125 1,809 62.2 12,348 80 53
Justin Herbert 839 1,267 66.2 9,350 69 25

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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