The 2013 NFL MVP award will undoubtedly go to Peyton Manning. The honor would be an absolute farce if it were doled out to any other candidate this year, considering Manning’s elite statistics.
The Denver Broncos quarterback has already broken the single-season touchdown record by throwing for 51 scores and eyeing a potential 5,500-yard, 55-score campaign heading into Week 17.
Since he is going to run away with the hardware, let’s take a look at a few candidates who would be duking it out for the 2013 NFL MVP if Manning weren’t having such an incredible campaign.
|2013 NFL MVP Race|
|5||Nick Foles||QB||Philadelphia Eagles|
|4||Russell Wilson||QB||Seattle Seahawks|
|3||Tom Brady||QB||New England Patriots|
|2||Jamaal Charles||RB||Kansas City Chiefs|
|1||Peyton Manning||QB||Denver Broncos|
Tom Brady, Quarterback, New England Patriots
The Pats have surprisingly secured one of the best records in the AFC and have a chance to lock up a bye and at least one game worth of home-field advantage with a Week 17 victory.
Much credit for this is due to Brady, who has led a young, inexperienced, injury-prone offense to victory after victory. He’s not putting up the most impressive numbers in the process, throwing for 4,221 yards and 24 touchdowns through 15 games.
That is what will ultimately doom Brady as a legit MVP candidate, even if his team could hypothetically be undefeated.
Remember, the Pats have been in position to win the game in the final minutes of each of their four losses. Their biggest margin of defeat is a mere seven points, with two defeats coming by four points and one being by three points in overtime.
It is hard to imagine many quarterbacks finding the same success as Brady this year, considering the talent he is working with and the immense amount of changes in the offseason the roster underwent.
Brady’s top options in the passing game last year were Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Danny Woodhead. Only one—Gronkowski—suited up for the team in 2013, and he’s now on injured reserve with a torn ACL.
The Pats offense has hardly skipped a beat with Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Shane Vereen playing big roles this year.
ESPN’s Skip Bayless has even gone so far as to claim Brady deserves the MVP award more than Manning:
If the MVP award was given to the player most indispensable to his team, Brady wins by a mile. He’s the only reason the Pats are thinking Super Bowl this winter rather than looking forward to the upcoming draft and offseason.
Jamaal Charles, Running Back, Kansas City Chiefs
Charles will have to settle for being the MVP for fantasy football owners, as the Chiefs superstar put together a dominant season and helped many win their league championships.
However, his resurgent season also aided Kansas City’s meteoric rise from the worst team in the league to the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs after a potential 12-win campaign.
Through 15 contests, Charles has lit up the competition for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns on 259 carries, plus played an instrumental role in the passing game with 70 receptions for 693 yards and seven scores.
Charles became a one-man army for the Chiefs, evident by the fact that he’s putting up those eye-popping numbers in the face of opposing defenses that spent a week preparing to stop him.
The 27-year-old admitted that he’s not in the race—likely due to Manning’s incredible campaign—but thinks about it from time to time, as per Peter King of Sports Illustrated:
I’m not in the race. That’s not for me to decide if I deserve something like that. I deserve to work hard and get ready to play the best football I can. After that, it’s not up to me. But… I do think about it. But then I think about what I can control.
Charles should be thinking about it, as he would undoubtedly be the 2013 NFL MVP if it weren’t for the Broncos quarterback's absolutely insane numbers.
He’s sure to steal a few votes, but ultimately he will fall short barring an incredible, record-setting Week 17 showing against the San Diego Chargers. Considering the starters aren’t scheduled to play much, if at all, that simply isn’t happening.