Peyton Manning is a Super Bowl MVP, third all-time in touchdown passes and a three-time league MVP. He has seemingly done it all and is he is only 33. Yet, the current season he is having is the best of his career.
It is almost shocking to comprehend that last statement, especially considering the season is only four weeks through and Manning has had magical seasons in years past. But statistics usually do not lie, and neither do the personnel around a star player on a team. Let’s examine why Manning’s crafty quarterback play is arguably the most superb of his career.
First off, Tony Dungy left the Indianapolis Colts and the coaching world to be an analyst for NBC. Dungy consistently led the Colts to winning seasons, including a win over the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl in 2007. He is widely regarded as one of the best coaches to ever stand on the sidelines, but has since been replaced by Jim Caldwell.
As a former assistant under Dungy, Caldwell has let Manning do his usual routine under center. Calling audibles and coaching on the field is Manning’s forte, and Caldwell has let him continue being the player he is. Having offensive coordinator Tom Moore around is still quite vital as well.
Secondly, Manning replaced the likes of future Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison and talented receiver Anthony Gonzalez with names like Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie, seemingly unknowns in the football world before the season began.
Yet, Manning has implemented these young players into the offense without skipping a beat. Reggie Wayne has mentored Garcon into becoming an offensive threat, most noticeable when Garcon had a big touchdown catch against the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football.
My third point revolves around the stats. Being a numbers guy, Manning currently leads the league with a 114.5 passer rating, has thrown for over 300 yards in each of his team’s first four games, is tied for the league lead in touchdown passes with nine, is second in the league with 70.8 completion percentage and has been sacked the least (twice) among quarterbacks who have started every game.
My fourth and final point is 4-0. Yes, that’s right. After the coaching change, implementing young wide receivers into the offense and a lackluster running game, the Colts still have not lost a game through the first quarter of the season. It is quite astounding when one bears in mind that many sensed this would be a down year for the team after all the changes.
However, Manning is still playing like an elite player and the team just keeps on rolling year after year. When one coincides the Colts’ 4-0 start with the Titans’ appalling 0-4 start, who is going to catch Indianapolis in the AFC South? My best bet is nobody.
Even though the season is still very young and there is a lot of football left to play, Manning currently gets my vote for league MVP. Doing so much with essentially very little compared to past years is quite a feat in itself, and Manning keeps proving why he is the best player in the NFL year after year.