Result shouldn't diminish Manning regular season

January, 5, 2009
1/05/09
2:45
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

A number of readers had a similar reaction following the Colts' loss in San Diego Saturday night.

Allow me to paraphrase:

"Peyton Manning should give the MVP back,"

"Some MVP."

"That's the MVP?"

PEYTON MANNING
Quarterback  Indianapolis Colts

2008 Season Stats

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I am compelled to reply.

First off, the Colts didn't lose because of Manning. Yes, the playoff record of one of the two best quarterbacks of his era should be better than 7-8. Yes, Manning's Colts have bowed out in their first game four times too often. But while Saturday wasn't Manning's best game and while his one big pass play came on a busted coverage, his work was sufficient for a win. He deserves a share of the blame, but he's not responsible for the insufficient run game, the Colts' struggles slowing Darren Sproles, the failed block by Gijon Robinson on a crucial sack that killed Indianapolis' chance to ice it or a number of other issues.

Secondly, the MVP Award is for the regular season. If you thought Manning didn't play MVP football against the Chargers, so be it. But that game doesn't erase the work he did from September through December that earned him the award in a landslide vote.

This is the reverse of something I see constantly. Player X, let's say he's a receiver, will have played poorly for a month and then he has a breakout game. He says, "That was for everyone who gave me all the grief. Take that. See?" And his supporters and emotional fans pick that up and run with it, calling in for hours on talk radio and firing e-mails to bloggers.

But while he may have had a wonderful game, guess what? He still had a lousy month before that. He didn't change history.

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 Re-live the sights and sounds from the Colts' 2008 regular season.

Neither did Manning in San Diego.

A performance that may not have met the high standards he's set for himself in the playoff opener was a disappointment. It didn't all of a sudden make someone else worthy of MVP.

And if you think Manning was disappointing, how about we take a close look at the guys who tied for second in the MVP vote? Chad Pennington threw four picks as Miami lost while Michael Turner averaged 2.3 yards a carry as the Falcons lost.

One e-mailer suggested the MVP voting be moved until after the postseason.

Bad idea.

The 16-game grind of the regular season deserves an MVP. There is already a second award for a guy who leads his team to the Lombardi Trophy. It's called the Super Bowl MVP.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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