Why Peyton Manning Should Win the MVP

Peyton Manning is to the Colts what cheese is to a pizza. Without one, the other falls apart. Does anyone realize what Manning has done with so little to achieve so much? The Colts had to pull multiple players off of the practice squad in order to field a team last year when injuries were a big part of their season. The only go to target Manning had was Reggie Wayne and defenses were beginning to double and triple team him because that is all the Colts had. Joseph Addai is nowhere near a top tier running back so it’s not like Manning can just hand the ball off to a dynamic playmaker and let him make something happen. Instead, Manning turned Austin Collie into a go-to receiver that puts up quality numbers week in and week out when he isn’t on the sidelines for a concussion or any other injury. Manning also was successful with the Blair White project and was able to get him the ball in crucial situations down the stretch of ball games. Despite a banged up offense, an already small and also banged up defense, and little time to prepare with his new receivers, Manning was still able to lead his team to not only a winning record, but a trip to the playoffs.

Sometimes I think we have to remember what MVP really stands for. It is not the award for the best player in the NFL who puts up the best stats; it is for the player that means the most for his team. The award simply means without this particular player, the team would have been significantly worse. That is why it is difficult to give an MVP to anyone on the New York Yankees or the Miami Heat, because if one guy were to go down, the teams have multiple other all-stars that can step right in and fill the gap. Not just anyone can do what Peyton Manning does. You can’t just throw in a guy who retired a few months ago and whose beard is the same color as everyone else on hair loss commercials, that scraggly untrimmed loss of life gray beard. No, there is not anyone who means to their team as to what Peyton Manning means to his team. Tom Brady is a fair argument, but may I remind you a few years ago when Brady went down in the first game of the year Matt Cassel came in and led the Patriots to a 10-6 season. (Cassel, by the way, is now starting for the Chiefs and Kerry Collins should still be retired)

Not only is Peyton Manning the quarterback of his Colts, but he is more so then not their offensive coordinator as well. I don’t know if you have ever watched a game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, but that place is silent when Manning is barking out signals to his offense. There is a mutual respect between the fans and Peyton, because they too realize that without their quarterback checking plays and calling out signals, their team does not stand a chance. Manning approaches the line and has probably 3-4 plays in his head at the moment ;( I wouldn’t be surprised if he had every play in the playbook in mind to tell you the truth) and as he goes under center or is in the shotgun, Manning shouts out the play to everyone on his side of the line of scrimmage. There is no going to the coach for the play call or waiting for the play to be called in based on what the coordinator sees in the booth, no, Manning calls the plays for the offense and is the vocal leader for the team. Even when watching games you can hear precisely what Peyton is saying as he identifies the mike linebacker, denotes what coverage the secondary is in, and slides his protection one way or another to account for the blitz coming. Yes, I know all quarterbacks do this, but Manning does this with perfection. He is also able to do this with a banged up offensive line, 3rd string tight end, and 4th string receivers.

The Colts were a playoff team may I remind you last year. Now, let’s move forward in time to the present. Because of the recent lockout, manning was unable to see team doctors about the rehabilitation of his neck he had recently gotten surgery on. The lockout prohibited any player from having any contact with team officials so Manning had to go to other doctors that weren’t to his liking as much as the one of the Colts’ organization and because of this, complications arose in his neck that proceeded him to have a second neck surgery just before the start of the season which will sideline Manning at least 2-4 months. Going into the first game, the Colts were to play the upstart Houston Texans who are a savvy pick to make it to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history this year. The matchups with the Texans are always very, very close, but the Colts more times than not come out on top usually thanks to a last minute Manning drive down the field. This year it was much different though. The Colts came out sluggish and seemingly unmotivated against a fired up Texans team out to prove that they are for real and not just an all hype team. The first couple drives went something like this. Colts: 3 and out, Texas: Touchdown. Colts: 3 and out, Texans: Touchdown. Colts: Turnover, Texans: Touchdown. Before anyone really realized what was going on, the Texans had jumped all over the Colts and put the game away. The final score read 42-7 as Kerry Collins connected with Reggie Wayne for a garbage time touchdown. The game wasn’t even that close. Without their vocal leader, the Colts couldn’t do anything against the Texans.

A healthy Peyton Manning could have led a group of division two players down the field to score more than just two touchdowns against the Texans. Albeit the Texans revamped their defense with new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, but, come on now, he was the defensive coordinator for the Cowboys too and we all remember how that turned out… Simply stated, the Texans can be scored on, but the Colts could not accomplish this. Their receiving corps is still nowhere near tops in the league and Joseph Addai is still nowhere near the playmaking running back most other teams have in their arsenal. The Indianapolis Colts are built around Peyton Manning offensively and defensively. Offensively, the receivers are good not great so they require Manning to call the right plays to put them in the right positions as opposed to just getting open in order to get the ball. The defense is small, but fast, and with pass rushers like Dwight Freeny, the Colts defense is built for the opposing offense to be put in passing situations (ideally when they are down because the Colts is a well oiled machine) When opposing offenses can just run the ball down the throats of the Colts’ defense and there is no offense to back it up, it sets up for disaster that the Colts witnesses first hand last Sunday.

Simply stated, with Peyton Manning the Colts are a playoff team, without him, they aren’t even above .500. Without Manning, the Colts are a sloppy mess on offense and on defense when the opposing defense can run all over them. Kind of like a pizza with no cheese and the sauce is dripping all over the place. There is nothing there to hold it together. The team has the potential to be great, just like the pizza has a chance to be delicious, but both are missing the most crucial part to be successful. The pizza is missing the cheese that holds the whole thing together, and the Colts are missing their leader at quarterback that defines the Colts for who they are.

So, if you were to hand out an MVP right now, most would say Tom Brady after his performance, but I would have to say Peyton Manning. We’ve all seen what the Colts can be with Manning and after Sunday, we’ve also seen what the Colts look like without him which is difficult to watch. Peyton Manning is the most valuable player on his team. Without him, the Colts are a dysfunctional mess, but with him they are one of the tops in the league. That sounds like an MVP winner to me.



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