Unless you're a Peyton Manning fan, the Associated Press voters got the NFL MVP award right. That's not meant to take anything away from the Denver Broncos veteran QB, who got 19.5 votes to Peterson's 30.5.
During most seasons, a 68.6 completion rating, 4,659 passing yards, 37 touchdowns and a QBR of 84.11 would easily be good enough for the league's most prestigious award.
That's not to mention Manning being just a year removed from potentially career-ending neck surgeries. Don't discount that; voters love the narrative.
BREAKING - @AdrianPeterson named 2012 NFL Most Valuable Player. http://t.co/kVmYmmJs2/3/2013, 1:55:04 AM
First, let's flash back to December 2011.
The Minnesota Vikings were playing the Washington Redskins, and Peterson went down with a scary injury. It didn't take long for ESPN to confirm the inevitable: He had torn both his ACL and MCL.
"A torn ACL will likely sideline Peterson for some nine months and make it difficult for him to return for the start of next season," said the report.
Nine months, you say? Difficult to return for the start of the season? Maybe for normal people, but not for robots.
Just over eight months after undergoing major knee surgery in late December, Peterson returned for Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He rushed for 84 yards on 17 carries and scored two touchdowns on a day in which 99.9 percent of the people with the same injury would still be laying in bed watching Entourage reruns.
Peterson would only get stronger.
He finished the regular season with a league-leading 2,314 yards from scrimmage, 2,097 rushing yards, 6.0 yards per carry, 13 total touchdowns, seven games with more than 150 yards and two with more than 200.
Peterson didn't just come back from one of the most notoriously crippling injuries in football history in record time, but he turned in one of the most dominant individual seasons ever in the process.
Peterson's return from injury isn't supposed to have anything to do with his case for MVP, but it does. Voters think about that stuff.
His record-breaking season, which saw him carry the Vikings on his back, was MVP-worthy on its own. But his rise from a potentially career-ending injury took away Manning's only possible advantage in the race.
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