I’m starting this now, and I will be mocked. Ruthlessly. And many people who are Tom Brady fans will want to eviscerate me in public. With a spoon.
Peyton Manning for 2011 NFL MVP.
Hear me out before you bring out your soup spoons.
In the history of the NFL, we’ve heard the term “most valuable player” so many times that we’ve been immunized against the true meaning of the word. We believe (rightly or wrongly) that the best player on the best team should win the award, despite the fact that the best team means just that — the best team. Now, a guy like Brady has an amazing talent and is a great player, but he plays with the benefit of having the best coach in the league, as well as one of the best offensive lines out there. I remember when the Patriots lost him for the season. Do you remember?
September 2008. Fantasy football teams owners remember that as well as World War Two vets remember Pearl Harbor. Depending on who you played for, it was either great news or horribly gut wrenching.
But what happened? The Patriots just shrugged, let an unknown backup start the rest of the season and the Patriots went 11-5 behind Matt Cassel. They missed out on the playoffs that year (the cutoff was 12-4, which was an absurd year to be a wild card) and Brady came back the next year and led them to 16-0 regular season (yes, the Giants beat them… shut up already, I watched it). A respectable win improvement but, excepting the 16-0 record, not all together impossible feat. Look at the Lions, the Buccaneers, etc. Brady is an important piece to the Patriot puzzle, but still just a piece.
Peyton Manning is the entire box.
Never have I ever seen a team melt down with the loss of their leader and best player as the Colts have after Manning had neck surgery this year. For years I’ve watched as Manning single-handedly carried the Colts to 11-5, 12-4 and such records without the benefit of a defense or running game. He always made it look so easy that now, as you watch the Colts offense struggle to break out of the huddle, you have to wonder just how great Manning truly is. I knew he was good, but the Colts ineptitude without him leading them shows just how great he is.
He is the Most Valuable Player for his team and, as one watches everyone else play across the league, the most valuable in the league as well.
Baseball has a stat called Wins Above Replacement. It’s a mathemetical statistic that breaks down just how many more wins a player is worth than the average player. The great players are about a 5.2 WAR rating.
I’d say Manning’s WAR is at about 8.
As evidenced from past records, Brady’s WAR is about 5. That’s very, very good, but not nearly as impressive as Manning’s.
So here it is, my conviction that Peyton Manning is the 2011 Most Valuable Player, despite never playing a down (more than likely) this season.
Let the hate mail begin.