Peyton Manning has won four NFL MVP awards. The Denver Broncos quarterback is no stranger to what it takes to win the NFL MVP. In fact, although he did not play a single snap during the 2011 NFL season, which turned out to be his final one with the Indianapolis Colts, many felt as if Manning still deserved a few votes for MVP as it proved just how important he was to his team and the league.
That did not happen, although it could very well take place in 2012. Only this time, it would be because Manning is proving that he is still one of the best players on the planet, even after missing all of last season following at least three surgeries to repair his neck and back. Even through all of that, Manning continues to play the most inspired football of perhaps any player in the NFL at around the midseason point. He has been that impressive.
Manning has led the broncos to a 5-3 start, which is made more impressive by the fact that Denver had a brutal start to the season in terms of their schedule. Through their first eight games, Denver has only faced an opponent who currently has a losing record twice. Throw in the fact that Manning is still getting used to his new teammates and a different offensive scheme, new coaches and a new city coming off of surgeries and playing his entire NFL career with one team, it is hard to argue against giving Manning the NFL MVP award at this point.
In fact, it may only continue to get easier for Manning and the Broncos.
Most of the teams that the Broncos will face are either at or below .500 at the halfway point in the 2012 NFL season. Those games include two games against the lowly Kansas City Chiefs, who may be more interested in securing the top pick in the 2013 NFL draft, as well as other AFC West matchups against the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers plus out of division meetings with the Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns. I am not saying it will happen, but the Broncos could easily finish the second half of the season with a 7-1 record, or perhaps, more likely, 6-2. That will be enough for Denver to wrap up the AFC West shortly after Thanksgiving.
It could also be enough for Manning to help distance himself from the rest of the pack as it relates to NFL MVP voting. As of right now, Manning has the highest rating of any starting quarterback at a whopping 108.3, placing him slightly ahead of Aaron Rodgers with the Green Bay Packers. His 2,404 passing yards are good for third in the NFL, and his 20 passing touchdowns are second only to Rodgers, who has played one more game than Manning to date.
We still have a long ways to go in the 2012 NFL season. Rodgers is coming on strong in Green Bay. Matt Ryan is having a fantastic season for the Atlanta Falcons. If a defensive player is ever to win the award this season, it would have to go to J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans. You also have to give mention to Eli Manning of the New York Giants, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Percy Harvin of the Minnesota Vikings, just to name a few. With seven or eight games remaining for most teams, the race is still open.
But in my opinion, the award is Manning’s to lose going forward.
Truth be told, we should enter every new season under that same thought. Until someone proves otherwise, Peyton Manning is the Most Valuable Player in the National Football league until he decides it to no longer be true. He is that good.