The Most Valuable Player award has come down to four players who are deserving of it: Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Brett Favre, and Chris Johnson. Lets take a look at these four players and what they bring to their team to determine who should get the award.
Peyton Manning: Peyton Manning’s performance this season has been nothing short of amazing. Some expected a drop in his performance because of the loss of longtime coach Tony Dungy and longtime target Marvin Harrison. But this season has just been Manning being Manning
If Manning wasn’t a Colt: This would be a team struggling to reach the .500 mark. He makes the entire offense better and has made guys like Austin Collie & Pierre Garcon guys that defensive coordinators have to gameplan for. This would not be the case if someone else was under center for Indianapolis. He makes the offense better and he makes the defense better because they know if they can get stops, Peyton & Co. can get points.
Drew Brees: After his Maddenesque 2008 campaign, Drew Brees hasn’t had to pass nearly as much this season with the new found balance of the New Orleans Saints offense. But his distribution of the football and accurate passes has been the key factor in the Saints 13-0 start. Every receiver on the field had better be looking for the ball when he’s passing it, because it just might come their way.
If Brees wasn’t a Saint: With this turnover creating defense and a myriad of talent on offense, this would still be a decent team if Brees wasn’t the quarterback. They have arguably the best group of receivers in the league, and that is with them getting pretty much no contribution from last year’s leading receiver (Lance Moore). With Brees, they’re a Super Bowl contender. Without him, they’d be a 6-8 win team, because no matter how talented your skill players are, if the QB can’t get them the ball, it’s a waste of talent.
Brett Favre: The 40-year old signal caller has looked like the Favre of old and not an old Favre. More importantly than anything, he has not been the Delhommian interception machine that he has been the last couple of seasons. He has also been a key factor in the development of young receivers Bernard Berrian & Sidney Rice.
If Favre wasn’t a Viking: There’d definitely be a lot less angry Cheeseheads. But the Vikings managed to win 10 games without Favre last year. If you don’t have Favre, you still have decent receivers, a strong defense, and a potent running game, which can get you 8-10 wins. But as we saw, it can only take you so far in the playoffs
Chris Johnson: Johnson is as about complete a back as there is. He has blazing speed, he has great hands out of the backfield, and he can lower his shoulder and power through defenders (just ask Brian Russell). His chase of Eric Dickerson has been fun to watch. He’s been able to accomplish all these things with teams keying in on stopping him.
If Johnson wasn’t a Titan: The season before Johnson was drafted, the Titans were a playoff team, with LenDale “Patron” White leading their rushing attack. Some Titans fans weren’t all too pleased to see the Titans drafted the East Carolina running back when they desperately needed receivers, and they already had White & Chris Henry on the roster. This proved to be a wise decision as Johnson has become one of the best backs in football, and in some peoples view, the best. Without CJ28, they’d probably be a lot like their AFC South brethren the Houston Texans – pushing towards the edge of success only to faint at the last minute.
With all this being said, the player that I would give the MVP award to is: Peyton Manning. Of the four players, no player is more valuable or vital to the team’s success. If Manning was to be lost due to injury, they’re going to have to go with Jim Sorgi Curtis Painter, which is an obvious decrease in talent. Drew Brees’ backup is veteran Mark Brunell, who could at the very least be a decent game manager. Favre’s backup is T-Jack/Sage: T-Jack has been somewhat serviceable as an NFL quarterback, so has Sage, except when he has those Delhommian moments when he turns the ball over. But you could probably lean on Peterson a little more, until he fumbles of course. Johnson’s backup, LenDale White, has the ability to eat up yards when he gets the ball (pun intended) so they’d be kind of okay there. But subtract Peyton from the Colts and this team will be strugg-a-ling.