Why Manning Should Be MVP

MVPeyton

1/3/13 in NFL   |   adamsprech   |   28 respect

Dec 30 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) prepares to pass in the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY SportsI'm going to keep this short, because I'm fully aware that I'm in the minority. Peyton Manning should be the runaway MVP winner, well ahead of a second place Aaron Rodgers. I'd like to clarify that I'm a huge fan of Adrian Peterson, and think his ability to return from a gruesome knee injury and perform the way he has is nothing short of legendary. Unfortunately for him, a great comeback does not make his case for MVP any stronger. He had an excellent season, and without him the Vikings likely would have been watching the playoffs from the couch, but the award goes to the player who is the most valuable to his team. If you removed Adrian Peterson from the Vikings, they'd be 7-9. If you removed either Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning from their respective rosters, those teams would be lucky to finish 4-12. A quick thought on Aaron Rodgers, he performed admirably this season despite a number of injuries on offense. He turned James Jones into Jerry Rice in the red zone, played without Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson at different times, and still managed to lead the league in QB rating. What hurt his case was a strange midseason stretch where just looked out of sync, and unlike his usual stellar self. I've seen people handicapping this race and many of them have Tom Brady and JJ Watt ahead of Rodgers which to me is ludicrous, but I promised to keep this short so I won't go there. Back to the point.

Manning took a team that had no identity, a team that miraculously went 8-8, (and happened to be in a division so bad that the same 8-8 record earned them a Division Crown) to the #1 seed in the AFC, a 13-3 record, and is considered by many to be the favorite to lift the Lombardi trophy. He resurrected a franchise, made them instant contenders, and complied stats good enough for arguably his second best season, behind his 49 TD campaign of 2004. I'm of the opinion people are simply just tired of seeing QB's, and specifically Manning win these types of awards. It is true that QB's have dominated this award in recent times, but with good reason. How many free agents at other positions have teams picked up in the offseason that have had the effect that Manning has had? 

Manning's detractors have been pointing to the fact that he took over a "playoff" team, and that he has only slightly improved their stature. That's a laughable argument, and it's weak. The 2011 Broncos were probably the luckiest, and more importantly, the worst 8-8 team in NFL history. They'll also point to his schedule, saying that the Broncos didn't beat anybody all year. It is true that the Broncos benefitted from a lighter schedule, and that they had early season losses to Houston, New England, and Atlanta. Firstly, those teams finished with a combined record of 37-11, one of them is #1 Seed in the NFC, while the others are #2 and #3 seed in the AFC. Digging a little deeper into the numbers, if you take away that disastrous first quarter against Atlanta, Manning had 6 TD's and 0 Int's in those three games, and had a chance to win all three games at the end with 4th quarter rallies that came up just short (thanks in large part to Willis McGahee's inability to hold on to a football). 

He's been just as good as he ever was and in some ways, he's been better. He has moved to a new franchise and brought everything he established in Indianapolis with him. That, to me anyway, is an MVP. I would bet a lot of money that Adrian Peterson will win the award, and I'll be as happy for him as the biggest Vikings fan, but the true MVP plays in Denver.
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1/6/13   |   Pat   |   5229 respect

"If you removed Adrian Peterson from the Vikings, they'd be 7-9."

This is where you went wrong. Allow me to illustrate my point:

9/9/12 -- Vikings 23, Jaguars 23 (OT) -- Peterson: 84 yards, 2 TD. Without him, they lose.
10/21/12 -- Vikings 21, Cardinals 14 -- Peterson: 153 yards, TD. Without him, they lose.
11/11/12 -- Vikings 34, Lions 24 -- Peterson: 171 yards, TD. Without him, they probably lose.
12/9/12 -- Vikings 21, Bears 14 -- Peterson: 154 yards, 2 TD. Without him, they lose.
12/16/12 -- Vikings 36, Rams 22 -- Peterson: 212 yards, TD. Without him, they probably lose.
12/30/12 -- Vikings 37, Packers 34 -- Peterson: 199 yards, TD. Without him, they lose.

By my count, that brings them down to 4-12 without Peterson. And really, that only counts the games where his impact undeniably won them the game. It doesn't account for the other games where Ponder had WAY more success than he would have, simply because Peterson's presence affected how the opposing defense had to make adjustments.

Without the elite rushing attack that Peterson brings to the table, Ponder would have had a historically bad season. He already had a bad year, but without defenses focusing 95% of their energy on Peterson, he'd be completely lost and hopeless, and throwing more interceptions than Mark Sanchez on a bad day.

Peterson is the clear MVP. Peyton was barely better than Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, if at all, and he did it against VERY weak opponents. The Broncos didn't beat a single legit Super Bowl contender all year.

1/4/13   |   pakirkpatrick1   |   8 respect

MVPeyton all the way. I agree with this man.

1/4/13   |   Trokspot   |   65 respect

I understand and appreciate your argument, but I have a few things to quibble with...  First of all, I'm a huge Manning and Colts fan.  I'm not bitter or upset that he left - it had to happen, and I'm still rooting for him to win another couple of super bowls. 

Like the rookie of the year award, this is simply a tough year to be in the hunt for mvp because there are so many players competing at such a high level.  That being said, Peterson edges out Manning.

MVP: "most valuable to his team" - not sure if I completely agree with that.  But let's use it for the sake of argument.  Manning took over an 8-8 team with a playoff win.  Yes, I agree that that team along with Tebow was a fluke.  But he had a few solid receivers, a very good defense, and a couple of solid running backs.  You take away Manning and plug in a decent QB (not Tebow) and they go at least 9-7 if not better. 
Last year's Vikings were 3-13.  You discount a mediocre Broncos team at 8-8 but don't even mention the Vikings at 3-13...  They were terrible.  And Ponder isn't going to get you much on offense, especially after Harvin went down.  Everyone knew Peterson was coming, yet they couldn't stop him.  Game after game.  Without Peterson, it's really difficult to see that team winning 6 games - probably more like 4.  He fell 9 yards shy of an NFL record that has stood for nearly 30 years.  Peterson managed all of this in a league that is structurally (i.e. through explicit rules) set up to advantage and privilege qb's over every other position.  I think he deserves some credit.  Manning's year was great, but not record-breaking (or even approaching) great.

Regardless, they are both great stories and both have strong cases.  In a lot of other years they would each have won it with little debate.  They just happen to be doing great things in the same year, which makes it a shame that only one can win the award.

Honorable mentions: Rodgers, JJ Watt (I know he is a defender), Calvin Johnson (broke Rice's record - albeit a bit meaningless since it was for an irrelevant team).