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One of the awards that will be presented on Saturday night is that for 2013's Most Valuable Player. Who gets your vote for NFL MVP?
I tried to think outside the box here. For about six seconds. Come on: Peyton Manning is obviously the MVP, and I can't seriously think of anybody else in the conversation.
Manning had the best season any quarterback has ever had, and incredibly, I think he might even be underappreciated right now. It's remarkable enough to set the touchdown and yardage records. To do it at 37 is crazy. To do it at 37, on his second team, after undergoing four surgeries for an injury that might have ended his career, is transcendent.
I don't think there is any way around it: Peyton Manning is the no-brainer pick here. He was nothing short of spectacular, all season long. Plus, you can tell his teammates don't want to make mistakes because they know if they don't, he'll lead them to wins.
Shady McCoy should get some consideration here: 1,607 rushing yards, 539 receiving yards, 11 total touchdowns. That is sick production, but still way short of Manning.
I know there are a number of terrific candidates, but you don't want to outthink yourself on this one. When a QB piles up 55 touchdown passes and 5,477 yards while headlining the highest-scoring offense in league history and leading the team to an NFL-best 13 wins, how could he not be the season's most valuable player? Peyton Manning is my choice.
Peyton Manning is the winner here, but Tom Brady at least deserves your consideration. Given that Brady lost the majority of his targets from 2012 to 2013, it's nearly a football miracle the Patriots had a winning record, much less earned the No. 2 seed in the AFC. While Manning had Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas, Brady threw to a motley crew of undersized and/or undrafted players.
It has to be Peyton Manning. Whether or not it's the boring answer, it is the correct answer.
Manning has posted what is arguably his best statistical season to date, setting numerous records in the process. Yet, going a step beyond that, what is perhaps most impressive about Manning's season is the fact that he was never the reason the Broncos lost and almost always the reason they won. Think about it: Denver's defense struggled with injuries and allowed far too many big plays this season (particularly in the passing game).
Manning was the great elixir, and despite his being in Denver just two years, it's tough to imagine where the organization would be without him.
We always like to say, "Take so-and-so away from the team and where would they be?" And usually, we have to just project. But with Nick Foles, we know.
When Michael Vick was the quarterback, Philadelphia struggled to a 1-3 record out of the gate. Foles comes to the rescue and throws 27 touchdowns with just two interceptions, leading Philadelphia to the NFC East title. Two picks. That's Aaron-Rodgers-in-his-best-season type of production. In 10 of the final 12 games, Foles' passer rating was over 100. (The two sub-100 games? 1) When he suffered a concussion against the Cowboys, and 2) when he played in a foot of snow against the Lions.)
Peyton Manning will get all the love, but Foles is really special.
The greatest offensive season the game has ever seen earns Peyton Manning the MVP award. But it's not just the eye-popping numbers for Manning. It's that he was so valuable to the other parts of the team.
Star left tackle Ryan Clady missed almost the entire season, yet Manning's quick release and smarts allowed him to be sacked just 18 times. And his prowess helped make up for a defense that suffered numerous losses, playing without Von Miller and Champ Bailey for much of the season.