Earlier this year, I was ridiculed by readers and told “you’re wrong and here’s why” by Peter King for placing Peyton Manning at No. 5 of all MVP candidates during an episode of NBC SportsTalk, based on the struggles of the Colts without him.
In making my case, I argued that at least one of the 50 Associated Press voters will decide to cast a ballot for Manning based on the reasoning that his true value has been demonstrated by his absence. (After all, one of the AP voters deemed running back LeGarrette Blount the right choice for comeback player of the year in 2010, even though he was, you know, a rookie.)
But something even more bizarre has happened. In the inaugural issue of the new NFL Magazine, the league-owned publication picks Peyton as the MVP.
‘Look, we all know who would win if we took a poll right now,” said Mike Dunphy, publisher and editor-in-chief of the freshly-christened venture, via the Los Angeles Times. “Aaron Rodgers would absolutely kill it. But if the Colts end up going the way they’re headed, the more it proves that Peyton really is the franchise. . . . Is he really the MVP? Everybody has an opinion on that, and this is ours.”
Though it appears to be an outlandish take aimed merely at generating interest in the latest entry into a dying industry, it confirms that some genuinely believe that a man who didn’t play at all has more value than everyone who has.
Plenty will disagree. Including Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney.
“It is disrespectful and it’s ridiculous across the board, to all of the guys who are actually playing the game,” Freeney said, per the Associated Press. “To the guys who are playing hard, it’s unfortunate that they’re doing something like that. They will and they do look ridiculous doing that.”
He’s right. Again, I never said Manning is or should be the MVP. I merely put him at No. 5 on the list, based on the reality that others will indeed conclude that he should be No. 1.
Regardless of whether that reasoning constitutes enough No. 2 to fill up Biff’s car, and then some.