Drew Brees, Blake Bortles, and Philip Rivers don’t often get lumped together, but those three are the only quarterbacks in the NFL to (1) start at least 8 games in each of the last 3 years, (2) miss the playoffs in each of the last 3 years, and (3) return as their team’s starter in 2017 (this kicks Colin Kaepernick off the list).
You don’t have to go back in time too far to find a quarterback to start half of their team’s games for at least four straight seasons and miss the playoffs each year: Eli Manning and Ryan Tannehill pulled off that trick from 2012 to 2015. Also that year? Jay Cutler and the Bears missed the postseason for the fifth straight year, although Cutler’s Bears arguably would have made the playoffs once or twice with a better backup quarterback when Cutler missed time due to injury.
Prior to Cutler, Marc Bulger (2005-2009 Rams), David Carr (2002-2006 Texans), and Aaron Brooks (2001-2005 Saints) were the last three quarterbacks to miss the playoffs in five straight years with the same team.
How about six? Neil Lomax was the last do to that, from ’83 to ’88 with the Cardinals, the last six seasons of his career.
The record is 7: since 1960, it’s been done by Jim Zorn with the Seahawks (’76 to ’82), Dan Pastorini with the Oilers (’71-’77), John Hadl with the Chargers (’66-’72), and Sonny Jurgensen and Norm Snead from 1964 to 1970 with Washington and Philadelphia, respectively.
As for Rivers? If not for a missed chip shot field goal and an overtime win against Kansas City’s backups in week 17 of the 2013 season, Rivers on the 2017 Chargers would be in the running for seven straight seasons of missing the playoffs.