Neither player fell far enough, based on their 2011 performances. Those rankings are the residue of past success. Vick and Rivers are rightly respected as elite quarterbacks, but they didn't play at that level last season.
Both men thought they were past that kind of decline. This should be the prime of their careers.
Vick was an MVP candidate in 2010, but his old foibles showed up in 2011. He missed three games entirely, threw 14 interceptions, and fumbled 10 times. His rushing production fell (one touchdown compared to nine the year before) and his passing numbers didn't make up for it. Vick is turning 32 years old this season. Another mediocre campaign will call into question his future in Philadelphia.
Rivers, 30, looked like a top-four quarterback heading into last season. But guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning don't go into slumps for half a season like Rivers did last year. It was a season in San Diego that begged for Rivers to carry the rest of the team. The AFC West was there for the taking. He threw 15 touchdowns to 18 interceptions in the season's first 10 weeks before looking like Rivers again down the stretch.
Along with Tony Romo, these are the two best quarterbacks without a Super Bowl title. What kind of legacy will they leave?
Rivers and Vick still have potential to go down as legends. We believe they will rebound. But if they play like they did in 2011 once again, they will start to look like very good talents that peaked too early.