We often get caught up in the semantics of the acronym “MVP.” You’ve heard the world-famous cry: “It’s not best player, it’s most valuable player!”

For that reason, there’s momentum building for Peyton Manning’s inclusion in the annual MVP debate.

Without Manning in the lineup, the Colts have gone from Super Bowl contender to first overall pick contender. Remove any player from any team, and you probably won’t see a drop-off quite like the one we’ve seen this year in Indianapolis.

So there is some merit to the argument that, despite not taking a single snap, Manning should technically be an MVP candidate. But even if No. 18 sits the entire season and the Colts continue to embarrass themselves through December, Manning shouldn’t reasonably receive any actual MVP votes.

Two reasons why:

1) It would be far too cynical. ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky summed it up nicely, stating that “the award is about someone’s performance, not the failure of a team to perform without someone valuable.” There are too many quality candidates out there to give the award to a guy who might have been the MVP had he played. That wouldn’t be fair to Aaron Rodgers, who’s having one of the best seasons in football history (seriously).

2) Manning didn’t play defense. Had the Colts been losing games 20-10 or 17-7, I’d be more inclined to give Manning MVP love. But Indy gave up 62 points last week in New Orleans. I’m not saying they would’ve surrendered that many points under regular circumstances with Manning in the lineup, but they still would’ve lost that game. The 30th-ranked Colts defense has given up more points than any team in football, and it isn’t even close.

From Kuharsky:

While this would be a far better team with him, I’m not certain this team would have been one of the AFC’s best. Ten wins? Maybe. Nine? Also very possible.

Manning has won four MVPs since 2003, but keep in mind that he didn’t win the award in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010. Even if he were on the field, there’s only a 50/50 chance his talents would’ve earned him MVP honors. It’s a good debate, but that’s as far as it should go.

Comments (6)

  1. Granted, the defence isn’t good, but I don’t think it would be this bad if Manning was playing. Manning keeps the offence on the field and gives the defence time to rest. With Collins/Painter, defence is constantly on the field after all the 3 and outs. Also, we all know Indy’s rush defence is terrible and with the Colts not putting up points, opposing teams are more inclined to run the ball to use the clock.

    I realize Manning isn’t the main difference that their defence has been horrible this season, but it’s certainly a factor.

    • agree 100% on this. the way manning contributes to the defence is with his time of possession. dont have the stats in front of me…but i imagine if you look at the colts time of possession this year vs last…you’ll see it swings 180 degrees.

      • “I’m not saying they would’ve surrendered that many points under regular circumstances with Manning in the lineup, but they still would’ve lost that game.” Clearly, I agree. And the Colts are possessing the ball for five fewer minutes per game without Manning, so that’s a factor.

        But the defense has probably been the worst in football. Without Manning, the numbers would be better. The question is: How much better>

        • on a defence based on speed and pass rush….and elimination of the rushing yards by scoring points on the other side of the ball as wesley pointed out….you gotta thing it’d be QUITE a bit better.

          • So is that enough to get your MVP vote? It seems as though you’re strongly considering him as a candidate? My issue is I don’t think Indy was going to have a great year regardless. Yeah, that’s easy to say in hindsight, but the offensive line sucks, the running game is mediocre and the defense is still only average at best. Considering the injuries they’ve also suffered on D, I don’t think they’d be a lock to get past Houston and keep that playoff streak going.

  2. well its not really a fair question. i’m a huge peyton/indy fan…so my obvious answer is yes.

    not this year…i do think you have to play to get the nod.

    but…i think the season would be much different. indy has never had a great running game, but they’ve always used dump off’s into the slot or quick slants to replace that. always. so the lack of running game and poor showing by the O-line i just dont see as being as big of factors.

    the defense…they lost some for sure. they dont look good…at all…can’t tackle to save their lives. i think they’d likely still own the division…but no clear cut league favorite or anything, it’d be a battle.

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