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Saturday, January 9, 2010
MVP: It's Manning

By Paul Kuharsky

Mike Chappell was first to report that Peyton Manning won his fourth MVP award.

Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning won his fourth MVP in a landslide.
No player has ever won it four times before.

The AP story, now out as well, says he got 39.5 of the 50 votes, with Drew Brees getting 7.5.

In a season in which Manning relied on two inexperienced receivers to go with Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, he had his best year with accuracy ever (a 68.8 completion percentage) while throwing to rookie Austin Collie and second-year man Pierre Garcon.

He led the Colts to a 14-0 record and a super-early clinching of the division title, the bye week and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs while making fourth-quarter comebacks look routine.

It’s hard to imagine him leading more and doing more to set the tone for the franchise, but he made gains in both departments during Jim Caldwell’s first season as head coach.

I was fortunate enough to see the Colts in person nine times this season and gained even more of an appreciation for Manning's play and precision.

During the Colts' 35-31 win at Jacksonville on Dec. 17, I never felt any doubt about who was going to win, even though the Jaguars did some great work and made plays that helped create a thriller.

I compared it to the movie "Apollo 13." You knew the astronauts were going to make it back, but it was still compelling and entertaining to see how NASA and the guys in the capsule were going to find a way. Manning and the 2009 Colts had much the same feel.

I think he’s the best player in the league right now, and he would have gotten my vote.