Look, I'm not knocking Kurt Warner. He is a major reason why the Cardinals will get to the playoffs this year. He has re-invented himself and won the respect of his teammates by continuing to work hard, stay focused, and lead by example. His success story in the NFL is one that will inspire future players for years to come: Unknown former-Arena league player who used to bag groceries goes on to win two league MVPs, a Super Bowl, and a Super Bowl MVP. Amazing. Inspiring. His second (or third) act as a player is yet another reason to cheer for Kurt.
But he is in no way, shape, or form the 2008 NFL regular season MVP.
More so than any other year, the regular season MVP award will truly be a watershed mark for sports writers. It will show us (the fans) if these idiots truly do watch and understand the game they are paid six figures a year to write about and comment on. How? By seeing whether or not these people vote for Kurt Warner or Peyton Manning for league MVP.
I've met several key sports writers who work for established media. I've seen how they work and how they approach the NFL. So, when you see me rant and rave as to how collectively stupid many of these people are, know that I speak from first-hand experience in dealing with them. Many of these guys watch maybe a few games of one player, look at their overall stats on NFL.com, and then select their MVP choice.
So, knowing how many of these schmucks evaluate games, it seems there will be a few people who will throw votes at Kurt Warner, a player who has yet to QB his team to a win against an opponent with a winning record on the road. The Cardinals have only 3 wins against opponents that currently have winning records. One of those teams is the Dolphins. The three quality teams Warner and the Cardinals have faced on the road (Washington, NY Jets, and Carolina) handed the red birds loses.
Warner, for his part, played very poorly in those games, tossing 6 TDs, 5 INTs, and committing 5 fumbles. On the road, against quality opponents, Kurt Warner has committed 8 turnovers in three games. On the road against everyone else (all with losing records) Warner has only 2 turnovers in three games. Last Sunday, against the NY Giants in Glendale, Warner had an INT and 2 fumbles (losing one). His QB rating was 79, and both his lost turnovers resulted in Giants points. Yet, despite Warner's putrid play in a big game in his home stadium against a quality opponent, established media morons like Peter King brush off the turnovers and sloppy play and look at only one stat when they judge who the best player in the NFL is: Yards.
1. Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona. Ho-hum. A 351-yard day, and he didn't play very well. Not enough to move him out of the lead, though.
I've given up on trying to understand Peter King's buffoonery. The guy has covered the NFL for a gazillion years and seem to still get a woody for player who throws for over 300 yards no matter how many times they turn the football over and kill their team's chance to win games by taking sacks at inopportune times (things Warner has done in spades this year).
Oh Well. Ho-hum. Golly gee. I'm still going to rank Warner #1 in the MVP race even though he has yet to QB his team to a win on the road against a quality opponent, and he fumbles more so than any other starting QB active right now.
Sadly, I'm thinking King's take on the MVP race is shared by more than a few influential media people. They don't look at what the player has actually done and look solely at the numbers: 70% completion percentage, 3,506 yards, 21 TDs, 8 INTs, team going to win division. They look at those blind figures, mark a check in the box next to Warner, Kurt, and then sit back in their easy chairs and write about the kind of coffee they like to drink in airports.
Someone shoot me.
For the rest of us, the people who actually watch the football games and know something about the game, Peyton Manning is the 2008 MVP so far. When Kurt Warner goes into Pittsburgh and tosses 3 TDs and no turnovers in a victory, you can call him an MVP. When Kurt Warner converts a 4th down, mid-field play with 24 seconds left to get his kicker in range to beat the Chargers in San Diego, you can call him MVP. When Kurt Warner leads his team back down 15-0 in the fourth quarter to beat the Vikings in Minnesota, he is the MVP. When Kurt Warner blasts the Baltimore Ravens defense, he is the MVP.
Since Warner has not even come remotely close to accomplishing any of these feats, and has spent much of the year beating up on the putrid NFC West, the MVP discussion starts and ends with Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning has also had to deal with tremendous adversity to get his team back into the playoff discussion, much more than Warner:
- Injuries to his o-line (only one player has started every game, and that one player is the worst o-lineman of the bunch)
- Injuries to his running backs
- No Bob Sanders for his defense
- Injuries to himself (recovering from staph infection in knee)
- A holy-friggin-crap schedule that had road games in Minnesota, Tennessee, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and San Diego.
And despite all the big wins, great comebacks victories, and insanely spectacular clutch play, people like King still rank Peyton #2 behind Kurt Warner. Heck, even if you put Manning's numbers in front of them (62% completion, 2,823 yards, 19 TDs, 10 INTs, 1 rushing TD, zero fumbles) I get the sense that many of these established media morons would still hand Kurt Warner his third MVP award over Peyton Manning.
Again, this year's MVP race will be a watershed mark for these established media writers. I'm not writing this to bash Warner or take his 2008 accomplishments lightly. I just think these media guys are looking to give the award to Warner because it is a better story than giving it to the more deserving Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning getting the award is boring. I admit that. He is great and we know it. Giving it to Warner will make people feel good and remind everyone that they should never quit at anything because America is all about second chances... that kind of stuff. However, awarding it to Warner because it will sell more magazines and newspapers because it is a great "feel good" story belittles the award.
The MVP goes to the NFL's best player. Peyton Manning is the NFL's best player right now, and he has played better than Kurt Warner. Thus, Manning gets MVP, and anyone who disagrees simply does not know or understand football. The only other player I would consider over Manning this year is Brett Favre. When you go into Tennessee and dominate the Titans, you are now firmly in the MVP hunt. Also, the Jets had 4 wins last year. This year, they are competing for the #1 seed in the AFC.
This past Sunday should have ended all the Kurt Warner for MVP talk. He played awful, AGAIN, against a quality opponent. Only this time, he played awful in Arizona. Unfortunately, we still have people like Peter King influencing this award. Hopefully, Peter will come to his senses and see what a jackass he looks like by still batting for Warner. I mean Christ, Peter! When Bill Simmons starts making more sense than you on the MVP subject, that should be a wake up call!