Image by: Jefferey Beall
By Thomas Stone
Just a few short years ago, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were perennially at the top of any MVP conversation in the NFL.
Manning was still leading the Indianapolis Colts to 12-win seasons and an annual playoff berth, while Tom Brady was doing the same for the New England Patriots (but he was winning Super Bowls, ahem).
These two men represented the best of what the NFL had to offer at the quarterback position. They were not only good on the field, but they were advertising darlings off of it, and were fantastic stewards for the league when it came to protecting the glorious shield.
But that all changed before the start of the 2011 season. Peyton Manning’s career was in serious danger after it was revealed that he went through a series of neck surgeries. Ouch. They would force Manning off the field for the entire year.
Manning’s absence was so bad for the Colts that they only won two games and missed the playoffs. Talk about one guy making a difference.
Once the off-season came, the Colts decided to go in another direction. There was no guarantee that Manning would return as healthy as he has been in the past because his neck wasn’t healing like doctors thought.
As a result, the Colts released the popular quarterback and drafted former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck to replace him.
Before the 2012 NFL season started, Manning decided to sign with the Denver Broncos. It has worked out to be a very good career decision.
With just one game to go in the season, Manning has returned to his form of old. He has thrown for more than 4,300 yards and tossed 34 touchdowns. In fact, Manning is having one of the best years of his career.
The same can be said for his friend off the field – but mortal enemy on it – Tom Brady. His numbers are just as good. Brady has 32 touchdowns to just 8 interceptions while throwing for almost 4,600 yards.
The battle for MVP will once again come down to two men who will one day have their busts in Canton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Brady is searching for his third NFL MVP. He has been named AP Offensive Player of the year twice before as well.
If Manning were to grab the MVP this season, this would be his fifth time winning the award.
The great thing about this battle is that we may end up seeing both teams play for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Broncos and Patriots have won at least 11 games each and have clinched playoff berths. There is no reason to believe that one of these team’s will represent the AFC in February’s Super Bowl.
In the end, this is a fight that is good for the NFL and good for Peyton Manning. Meanwhile, everybody gets to enjoy watching two NFL stalwarts having such a great season so late in their careers.