Oxford dictionary defines valuable as such: A, worth a great deal of money or B, something extremely useful or important. It’s hard to imagine any player personifying either meaning more than Peyton Manning.
Throughout NFL history, the MVP award has been awarded to the player who has performed better than the rest. Special consideration is given to players on teams with an opportunity to win a championship. Chances are that players’ performance is the reason for their success. I have a stick to throw in that wheel. Is Peyton Manning not the most important player to his team of all time? This season has been worse than the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first season without LeBron James. At least the Cavs won some games.
It seems my years anointing the team from Indiana as the Indianapolis Peytons wasn’t far from being a true statement. Three quarters into the 2011 season, and the Colts are 0-12. Even if they won their last four games, it still would not be half of the 10-win total from last season.
The quality of the lesser known Colts players has been suspect for years. I have joked that the Colts are a 3-13 team without Peyton Manning for as long as I can remember. I didn’t realize that I was paying them a compliment. I believe there are two possible explanations for the drop in wins. The first possibility is that they are deliberately tanking the season for the right to draft Stanford QB Andrew Luck. Anybody from the Colts organization will state that this is not true. Well if that isn’t true then the reason for the poor season is due to the other possibility: the Colts management. Coaches, president, GM, all the way up to owner Jim Irsay have done an absolutely terrible job of assembling an NFL team. How many high profile free agents have landed in Indy in the past 10 years? How many of their first round draft picks since Dallas Clark have made Pro Bowls? When you don’t dominate drafts or sign free agents, the team suffers. When the team suffers, the fans suffer.
I have a few questions about the Colts’ 2011 roster. Who are the other two defensive linemen in the Colts base 4-3 defense? If Pat Angerer wasn’t second in NFL tackles this year, could you name a linebacker? Is Bethea the only familiar name on a defensive back’s jersey? Who is the starting running back this week? How about the no.3 receiver? Or maybe the fullback? You have no idea without looking it up right now. Don’t feel bad, I didn’t know who Pat Angerer was until I looked up the roster.
In 2007, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots broke the single season record for TD passes (50) while leading an undefeated Patriots team to the Superbowl. He won the MVP award for his prolific regular season performance. The following season, he was injured in the week-one match up with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots inserted Matt Cassel and managed to record an 11-5 record in 2008, the first 11-5 team to miss the playoffs since the 1985 Denver Broncos. I bring this up to illustrate how a good team will pick up the slack when they lose their franchise MVP quarterback. There is nobody stepping up in a Colts uniform.
|Colts 2011||Peyton Manning|
Yards per game
Yards per attempt
4th quarter comebacks
0 – 12
141 – 67
The proof is in the pudding. Putting it as plain as can be, Manning is the team. Without him, they are garbage. With him, they had at least 10 wins in 11 of their last 12 seasons, including a streak of 9 straight that was snapped this year. Personally, I think the biggest off season will involve the Colts trading Peyton, or the number one overall pick in the draft this off season. Either way, it will be the topic for discussion once the season ends.
Go get him Dolphins!