All this hype about Peyton Manning winning his NFL record fourth MVP, the fact that the Colts would have gone undefeated had he played the last two games, his seven fourth quarter comebacks—ALL of that is overrated.
There are MANY reasons why Peyton Manning should not win MVP again this season, and they each fall into three categories—Statistical, Opposing Teams, and Other Quarterbacks.
Its All About Statistics
For starters, Peyton Manning did not lead the league in any categories this season, as he finished second in completion percentage and touchdowns behind Drew Brees, another MVP candidate, and finished second in yards behind Matt Schaub. He also finished eighth in the league YPA. These are not necessarily bad signs.
However, what makes him undeserving is the fact that he is not even in the top five in QB rating and doesn't even have a rating of 100. Ben Roethlisberger, who didn't even MAKE the Pro Bowl roster, has a higher rating than him.
His 16 interceptions are in the top five in the league, and the only other people who have more than him are Jay Cutler, the three rookie quarterbacks, Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, and Jake Delhomme.
All of these QBs are known as interception machines. To even be close to the same category as them is just poor play.
The Truth About His Opposing Teams
Many people comment on his fourth quarter comebacks constantly, as the Colts won four straight games by a combined 10 points, an NFL record. Let's break down these and the rest of his comeback wins:
Week 2 @ Miami (W 27-23) —Nope, Chad Pennington threw an interception in the end zone as time expired
Week 8 vs. San Fran (W 18-14) —Nope, he didn't even throw the game winning touchdown, it was the running back, and it came with 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Looks like his defense comes up big again
Week 9 vs. Houston (W 20-17) —Nope, Kris Brown choked as usual. Yes, Peyton Manning drove them down the field for a winning touchdown, but he didn't even throw it, and if he hadn't made a crucial interception late in the first half, they never would have been in that position to narrowly escape with a close win
Week 10 vs. New England (W 35-34) —Nope, the Patriots just choked by going for it on their own 28-yard-line. When you give the quarterback that two minutes to make a 30 yard drive, of course they'll score. If they don't then they just flat out suck
Week 11 vs. Baltimore (W 17-15) —Nope, the Ravens choked in multiple ways. First of all, his defense came up big with an interception inside their own 20 yard line. Second, they recovered a fumble on a punt return to seal the narrow win. Oh yeah, and Peyton Manning threw two picks that could have easily decided the game with a different outcome.
Week 12 vs. Houston (W 35-27) —I can give him credit for this win, he came up big in the fourth quarter with a drive to take the lead at the beginning. However, he also had help from his defense, who intercepted two passes, one which was returned for a touchdown, and the other which gave them great field position in Houston territory. Manning did throw two interceptions earlier in the game which almost cost them, but I'll still give him credit for bringing the team back from a 17-0 deficit.
Week 15 vs. Jacksonville (W 35-31) —This one is questionable. Manning did throw a touchdown to Reggie Wayne midway through the fourth quarter to give them the lead, but once again, it was his defense that stepped up in the clutch and intercepted David Garrard, who had a great game up to that point.
So basically, five out of Manning's seven "comeback wins" have to do with the other team choking and not Manning's play in the clutch.
No more comments about how Indy's defense sucks. If it did, the Colts would have lost almost all of those games. Instead, they made interceptions. I'm sick of hearing people say that Peyton Manning has no help defensively. The facts say otherwise.
Also, Manning only faced two top 10 defenses all season. He faced Tennessee and Jacksonville twice, which had the 27th and 31st ranked pass defense. That's four easy wins right there. He also faced Arizona, which had the best run defense at the time, meaning he pretty much had to throw, therefore inflating his stats.
So Who Deserves to be NFL MVP?
If you're going to say that a quarterback does not deserve something, you better damn well say who does. This is where Brett Favre comes in.
Favre, who is also a three time MVP winner, had unquestionably the best season of his career. He threw 33 TDs and only seven picks. That's an average of less than one every two games, which is amazing, and is less than half of what Manning threw.
People complain that Favre does not deserve it because he has a large supporting cast. Maybe, but there have been moments in the Vikings season where he has had to come up with big plays.
For example, the last-second touchdown pass against San Francisco in Week Three was probably the most crucial play of the season for the Vikings, as it sent both teams in different directions. If not for that play, the Vikings would have been an up-and-down team, and the 49ers would have probably been contending for a playoff spot.
Instead, it sent the Vikings to a 3-0 start, while the 49ers lost six out of their next 10 games from there. This provided the Vikings the spark they had needed all season, and they rolled to a 10-1 start and eventually, a 12-4 finish and a first round bye in the playoffs.
And who can forget the most memorable Brett Favre moments of the season, where he faced his old team twice? Not only did he win both times, he amazed, as he threw for seven touchdowns and no picks in both of those games.
Finally, Brett Favre appeared to be out of the race with two games to go. But during the last six quarters of the season, he revitalized a Vikings offense that had scored only seven points the previous six quarters and threw six touchdowns and no picks en route to earning the Vikings a first round bye in the playoffs.
So there you have it. Peyton Manning, while good this season, has certainly not been MVP level as people say he has been.
Peyton Manning? This season? Overrated?
I think so.