Jump to content

Peter King on the MVP


Recommended Posts


There are few things in this job I take more seriously than my National Football League MVP vote for the Associated Press. I value my Hall of Fame vote a little more, but being one of 50 voters for the all-pro team and postseason awards, including the MVP, is big because it goes down in history. The MVP winner doesn't get bronzed, as Hall of Famers do, but there's no single-season award that means more to a player. To be part of anointing one man as the most indispensable, the most important, the most valuable for a season in the biggest sport in the country is a cool task.

We voters are human, so we're going to approach the voting differently. My criteria have never changed. The inclusion of the word "valuable'' differentiates this from a player of the year award. If I'm voting for Offensive Player of the Year, for example, I'm likely voting for the individual who had the best season of anyone on offense; if a player on a 6-10 team set the single-season rushing record, I'd likely vote for him for the offensive player award. But it's highly doubtful I'd vote for him as MVP. For MVP, I ask myself this question: Which player, removed from his team, would have the biggest impact on the team's record?

That's a tough call this season on premier teams like the Giants, Tennessee and Pittsburgh because they each had so many outstanding players. By season's end, I might have voted for Brandon Jacobs over Eli Manning on the Giants, and maybe Kerry Collins over Albert Haynesworth or Chris Johnson as Tennessee's MVP, and James Harrison over Roethlisberger (though that would be close) or Troy Polamalu in Pittsburgh.

I liked Pennington immensely because he was the clear keystone to a team improving from one win to 11; but the Dolphins got big contributions from the defense (they won five games scoring 17 points or fewer) and the Wildcat Formation. DeAngelo Williams made a late charge for Carolina, scoring 11 touchdowns in four late-season games, but check out the pedestrian first half of his season: The Panthers went 6-2, and Williams rushed for 468 yards and three touchdowns in the six wins.

Matt Ryan? I love him, and I love his candidacy. I can't argue with a soul who'd name him MVP. Imagine stepping into Team Turmoil for Michael Vick, with the racial division of Atlanta to overcome as well, and having to learn to play quarterback at the NFL level, which rookies never do well. I'll never forget being in Atlanta on draft weekend and listening to veteran sports anchor Gil Tyree, who is an African-American, tell me about the Vick shadow that would be so hard for Ryan to escape. "Michael's a messiah here. No matter what Matt Ryan will do, he'll never be accepted,'' Tyree said. Talk about a tough road for a young kid.

But Ryan led the Falcons to the playoffs, with only 25 negative plays out of 480 pass-drops -- nine interceptions, 16 sacks. He walked into the NFL throwing superbly downfield, which is always one of the last traits a young quarterback perfects. His 7.9 yards-per-attempt was better than good downfield throwers Jay Cutler, Kurt Warner and both Mannings.

I'm going with James Harrison at five, DeAngelo Williams four, Chad Pennington three, Matt Ryan two. And Peyton Manning one.

I have been leaning toward Manning for the past four or five weeks, because I've felt the Colts would have been well below .500 without him, particularly if he hadn't rallied them from 15- and 17-point late-game deficits to beat Minnesota and Houston, respectively. Manning never had a running game all season to help him; the Colts' 3.4-yard average per rush was their lowest this decade. He started the season more hurt than we knew (at least until now) and without his redoubtable center. The Colts went 3-4 through the end of October, but it would have been 1-6 without those comebacks over the Vikes and Texans. Then, with Manning finally getting his legs under him, the Colts rode a classic 9-0 Manning stretch to finish 12-4 and earn the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs.

The story of Manning's 11th season is a good story, one he hasn't told this season to anyone else in my business -- to the best of my knowledge. As usually happens with Manning, the conversation was going to be 10 or 20 minutes, and then one thing led to another, and by the end, I had enough stuff for a couple of chapters of a book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sorry but how does Michael Turner not get any consideration? His first year as a starter in a new team with a new coach, new OC, rookie QB and an OL that looked horrible last season and all he does is set Falcon records for rushing yards in a game, in a season and for total touchdowns? Wow. Manning has done what he has done before. Turner and Ryan should be the only two serious candidates for MVP in my book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...