On Peyton Manning as an MVP candidate

October, 26, 2011
10/26/11
12:05
PM ET
He could get a vote, maybe more than one.

Peyton Manningas an MVP candidate in absentia was a semi-clever joke very early on in the Colts’ miserable season. It does little for me now, however.

Sure Manning’s value has been evident. In the coaching booth and now on the sideline, he’s chimed in to help Curtis Painter as much as possible. We know he covered up a ton of issues on both side of the ball and even on special teams.

Some players, like tight end Dallas Clark and receiver Austin Collie, are absolutely pedestrian without Manning doing the throwing for the Colts. Defensive misplays that used to be covered up when the offense could score much more and more quickly are completely exposed.

My case against Manning getting any real MVP consideration is two-fold:
  • While this would be a far better team with him, I’m not certain this team would have been one of the AFC’s best. Ten wins? Maybe. Nine? Also very possible.
  • More significantly, the award is about someone’s performance, not the failure of a team to perform without someone valuable. If Aaron Rodgers finishes the season with numbers anything close to what he’s on pace for, if the Packers roll to the top seed in the NFC, how could anyone in good conscious cast a vote for Manning over Rodgers?

Same for Tom Brady or Drew Brees.

Colts center Jeff Saturday aligns with me.

"I hadn't heard that," he said, laughing when asked about Manning as an MVP candidate this season. "I didn't know that that was even a consideration. ... I think that's kind of silly when you've got guys who are having great years. To have that kind of conversation, I don't think is worth discussing."

Manning is a great player, and we’ve learned more about him while he’s been away.

It’s ridiculous to suggest he’s proving himself more valuable not playing than Rodgers, Brady or Brees are proving themselves valuable while playing.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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