Should Peyton Manning’s Name Get Thrown Into The NFL MVP Discussion This Season?
I love the argument that’s brewing over all over the Internet right now. Recently, a writer for ESPN—as well as several other writers and bloggers—proposed a simple question: “Does Peyton Manning deserve to be considered for the NFL’s MVP award this year?” Despite the fact that he hasn’t played a single snap because of a neck injury, does Manning‘s clear impact on that team mean that he is, in fact, the NFL’s Most Valuable Player? With him, the Indianapolis Colts probably would have been a playoff team this season. Even if he would have had a down year, it’s reasonable to think the Colts could have won nine or ten games. But, without him? Well, it’s obviously been a much different story.
So far this season, the Colts have been, in a word, terrible. They’re 0-7 and, most recently, they lost by a score of 62-7 to the New Orleans Saints. The Saints‘ 62 points were the most scored in an NFL game in 26 years. So, yeah, the Colts have been bad. Had Manning been involved in that game—or any of the other six losses—there’s a very good chance the Saints are 5-2 or 4-3 right now. They’ve been competitive in a few of their games and almost beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who both made the playoffs last season. But, does that mean that, without even playing, Manning deserves to be considered for the MVP award? Is he so valuable that we’re actually seeing it more judging his absence on the field than his presence on it? Should he get some MVP votes?
To answer all three questions, no. The best argument I’ve heard so far came from an ESPN reader who said that the letters MVP stand for Most Valuable Player and, as of right now, Manning hasn’t actually played anything this season. So, how then could he be considered for an award that’s given to players? However, I do think this is actually an argument worth having because we’re seeing just how important one guy is to his team.
For years now, we’ve been told that football is the consummate team sport. Unlike basketball, you can’t have a single superstar on your team and expect to make the playoffs. In fact, there are many NFL teams who have more than one superstar on their team and still don’t manage to make the playoffs. Unlike other sports, football relies on teamwork to accumulate wins and, if a team doesn’t have good chemistry, they can have all the superstars in the world. They won’t get very far.
That being said, Manning has basically thrown a monkey wrench into that entire argument. He’s performed so well for the Colts over the years that they’ve been able to win the division, go to the playoffs, and win a Super Bowl despite the fact that Manning hasn’t always been surrounded by superstars. He’s single-handedly carried the offense and given the defense something to fight for against the opposition. So when it was announced that Manning wouldn’t play at the beginning of this season and, possibly, for the rest of the season as well, the Colts were noticeably worse off as a team and have struggled to do much of anything this year.
In that regard, Peyton Manning is the NFL’s MVP this year—despite the fact that he hasn’t played a down for the Colts. As I said earlier, does that mean that he should actually win it? Not at all. At this point, Aaron Rodgers seems like the best choice for the MVP award, given all the statistics he’s been able to rack up so far this season. But the mere fact that we’re even having this argument speaks volumes about Manning’s importance to the Colts. His presence—or lack thereof—means everything to them.
Manning’s name should also be thrown into this MVP argument because, if he were playing this season, there’s a good chance that certain teams would be either a whole lot better of or a whole lot worse off than they are right now. At the end of the year, you’ll be able to see at least one or two teams sneak into the playoffs either because they played the Colts and beat them in a game that they probably wouldn’t have won if Manning was playing or because the Colts had a down year without Manning and, therefore, didn’t make the playoffs and left a spot open for someone else.
So while I don’t necessarily agree with crowning Manning the MVP in a year in which he didn’t play, I’m all for throwing his name out there and arguing about why he does or doesn’t deserve consideration. The guy is that important to his team, to other teams, and to the NFL as a whole. It’s just amazing that it took him not playing for all of us to realize it.