July 15, 2024

Projecting three future Hall of Famers for the Los Angeles Chargers

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2024 will officially be inducted on Aug. 3.

With less than a month until the annual event in Canton, Ohio, we’re examining which players — past and present — on the league’s 32 teams we think will one day receive the honor.

Here are three Los Angeles Chargers who should receive football immortality:

Antonio Gates 

It was a bit surprising that Gates—a member of the HOF All-2000s Team—wasn’t nominated in his first year on the ballot in 2024. In 16 seasons with the Chargers, the former undrafted free agent became the franchise’s all-time receiving leader (955 receptions for 11,841 yards and 116 TD catches).

What’s even more remarkable is that Gates never played college football. He initially accepted a football scholarship at Michigan State but left the program after head coach Nick Saban refused to let him play basketball. After one season at Eastern Michigan, he transferred to Kent State, where he led the Golden Flashes to the Elite Eight in the 2001-02 season.

Gates admitted he was upset he didn’t make the cut but remains confident that he’ll eventually receive a gold jacket.

“The people who understands what’s beneath the surface, all the work you put in, the coaching staffs, the players who played with you. They’re like, ‘What?'” Gates told USA Today’s Josh Peters in February. “So, I think that’s one of those things where you think, man, in due time we’ll get there, man.”

Philip Rivers

Rivers — who retired in 2021 — will be eligible for the HOF in 2026. He’s one of the most prolific passers in league history, ranking sixth in all-time passing yards (63,440) and passing TDs (421).

Despite his eye-popping numbers, Rivers never won a Super Bowl, which hurts his case. His Pro Football Reference HOF monitor score (98.06) is slightly below average for a quarterback (108).

However, Rivers played in the same conference as HOFers Tom Brady and Peyton Manning for most of his career, making it much harder for him to win championships. He also displayed elite toughness in 17 seasons with the Chargers and Colts, playing through a torn ACL in the 2007 AFC Championship game. 

Plenty of QBs who never won a Super Bowl are in the HOF, including Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Warren Moon and Dan Fouts. Why should Rivers be excluded when he holds a similar résumé?

Justin Herbert

Herbert has produced outstanding numbers since being drafted No. 6 overall in 2020. Per Stathead, the former Offensive Rookie of the Year has thrown more TD passes (114) than Manning (111) through his first four seasons.

The 26-year-old QB is still looking for his first playoff win and has posted a 30-32 regular-season record. He should win more games under new Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh, who guided Michigan to its first national title in 26 years last season.

In his introductory news conference, Harbaugh said Herbert is “a crown jewel in the NFL.” The compliment bodes well for the organization. It shows that the HC believes in the QB and wants to help him improve his game.