Will Adrian Peterson's 'MVP Pity' Cost Peyton Manning at NFL Honors?

Ryan MichaelSenior Writer IIIFebruary 2, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 14:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts and runningback Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings talk following the game at the Metrodome on September 14, 2008 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Colts defeated the Vikings 18-15.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

A lot has been said in recent weeks about who should win the 2012 NFL league MVP award.

Most agree that the award will come down to Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

Manning already holds the NFL record for having won the award on four separate occasions.

Whereas Peterson is yet to ever win the award and seems hell-bent on continuing to campaign for himself.

It has me thinking: Will Peterson's creation of "MVP pity" end up winning him the award?

For the purpose of this article, I am going to refrain from quotes made by Peterson and other running backs around the league. They tend to echo the same simplistic rhetoric.

  • They always give the award to a quarterback.
  • There ain't no love for the other positions.
  • If Peterson's year in 2012 can't win a running back the award, nothing ever will.

I'm sick of hearing it.

Maybe for the same reasons that non-quarterback enthusiasts would like to see the award be given to someone new, for something different, to freshen up this year's "NFL Honors."

Child please.

For all the griping about running backs being short-changed of the MVP award, few care to mention that never in NFL history has the award ever been given to a wide receiver, tight end, offensive lineman or defensive back.

Running backs have brought home the award 17 times.

It's the second-most important position in football—other positions are the ones getting short changed.

But hey, what's fair is fair.

Running backs are more important than guards in the same way quarterbacks are more important than running backs.

If the nonsensical "Peyton's already won the award four times, so we gotta give it to someone new this year" philosophy ends up costing the league's rightful MVP the sports' greatest honor, that would be a travesty.

Manning has been quiet about his chances of winning the award for a record fifth time.

His past excellence should have absolutely nothing to do with his chances of winning the award this year. It's irrelevant seeing as his performance with the Broncos this season speaks for itself.

It's validated by statistics, team support and impact upon his team's chances of winning football games.

Still, I have a terrible feeling that the pity Peterson has been able to elicit out of the masses and the voters may end up swaying the decision in his favor.

He should not win the MVP award this season, but he might in spite of Manning deserving it.

The irony is that giving the MVP to Peterson—great season though he has had—may end up lessening the significance of the award itself.

Seeing as it's supposed to be recognized as an honor given to the most valuable player in all of football, giving it to someone who had less of an impact on his team's chances of winning (by pure virtue of position limitations) may end up sullying the award.

Peterson averaged just under 18 more yards per game than the last running back to win the MVP (LaDainian Tomlinson).


Tomlinson contributed to 33 touchdowns (two passing) in 2006 compared to Peterson's 13 in 2012.

Points scored: Tomlinson's 198 in 2006 > Peterson's 78 in 2012.

If a running back is going to win the MVP award, he needs to end up in the end zone early and often.

It's not to "take away" from Peterson's great season in 2012—enough of that nonsense.

It's a matter of understanding what it takes for a running back to contribute enough on the football field to beat out a quarterback to win the award.

The positions are not valued equally.

Since 1986, teams have drafted 16 quarterbacks No. 1 over all in comparison to only one running back.

Still feel the positions are equally valuable?

Too bad NFL general managers don't share that philosophy.

The award should go to the player who contributes the most to a team's chances of winning. Generalities do little to help substantiate a quality argument on Peterson's behalf. Yet, the "it's a quarterback award" mentality has many nonsensical spectators actually believing that there is some unfounded bias behind why lesser valuable positions continue to not win an award given to a player that's "most valuable."

It's Peyton Manning's award in 2012.

Only, I feel Peterson may have garnered enough pity to be named MVP.

It's an unpopular opinion and I understand that. I just don't care—I'm being realistic.

Ryan Michael is a Senior Writer for Bleacher Report. Any questions, comments or professional inquiries can be directed to his email at: bleacherreporter@yahoo.com.

Follow him on Twitter at: @theryanmichael


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