Peyton Manning has a new neck, but he’s the same, old all-world QB.
The future Hall of Famer with four MVPs is well on his way to another and the Comeback Player of the Year award. Yes, Adrian Peterson is in the conversation for each honor as well. What he’s done is staggering, but they're Manning’s awards to lose.
First off, Peterson’s return from injury isn’t nearly as impressive as Manning’s.
While returning from ACL and MCL surgery is impressive, it isn’t like it’s never been seen before. In 2010, Wes Welker tore his knee up—later in the season than AP did, in fact—and he still started in Week 1 of the next year too.
Name a player besides Manning who eluded retirement after four neck surgeries.
But not only did Manning overcome a rarer injury—or in his case, injuries—but he pulled it off despite being a subpar athlete. Peterson is a freak of nature. Did you really expect anything less?
You couldn’t have even imagined such a thing from this jaw-dropping athlete.
Despite a lack of physical gifts to aid him in his return to the gridiron, Manning is still dominating the NFL.
He boasts the best passer rating in the entire league at 108.0, a number that, if the season ended today, would be the second-highest of his career. His completion percentage of 69.7, which also leads the league, would indeed be a personal best, though. He’s also fifth in passing yards, only trailing passers with 44 to 94 more attempts.
And don’t expect those numbers to fall.
The Denver Broncos will conclude their 2012 campaign against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (the worst pass defense in the NFL), Oakland Raiders (the worst defense in the NFL), Baltimore Ravens (the 25th-ranked pass defense), Cleveland Browns (the 22nd-ranked pass defense) and Kansas City Chiefs twice (the 27th-ranked defense).
Throw in the fact that the Broncos are competing for a first-round bye and look like a Super Bowl contender while the Minnesota Vikings are slumping and could easily miss the playoffs, and Manning vs. Peterson is a no-brainer. Players who fail to lead their teams to the postseason don’t win MVPs.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.