Peyton Manning is your 2009 NFL MVP.
There have been several posts that have listed or explained why so and so should win the MVP. You can read my first MVP debate here or my updated one just a week or so ago here. You can also read BigBlueShoe's latest confirmation of Manning's MVP status here.
It's a Colts blog, I'm a Colts fan, and it's easy to slap this or any other article on here as being a "Homer". However, in this case, it's not a fair assessment of the choice. Rather than explain why Peyton Manning is the MVP, I'm going to explain why the other significant players in the running are not.
Now as I have already stated, I believe 100% that Manning is your MVP. This is based on both the things he does for the team on the field, as well as the things he forces other teams to do off the field. This team would not be the same team it is right now or for the last decade without Manning. So, it's on to the explanations. I will list them by least to best cases for MVP.
The guy is flat-out a beast. He has 1 interception, 16 sacks, and 3 Forced Fumbles, all while being listed and playing at LB half of the time. The problem for him is two-fold. First, his secondary is loaded with former All-Pros or top notch players. They showed a stat during the Broncos vs. Colts game showing that not a single player lining up at Safety or Corner had played less than 8 years. Second, the simple fact is that he plays defense. In the history of the award, only 2 defensive players have ever won it. Those two players? Alan Page and Lawrence Taylor. Two of the greatest defensive players in the history of the game. Dumervil is truly a great player at this point in his career, but his play this year is more deserving of Defensive Player of the Year as opposed to MVP.
This guy in only his 3rd season has put on a show that very few running backs have ever done in their first 3 years. Single game rushing record? Check. Rushing champion in 2nd year? Check. Top 5 back every year of his career? Check. Over 1000 yards a season? Check. Averaging 12 TDs a year? Check. Unfortunately, the guy is a fumble machine. He has hurt his team in numerous games despite the accolades and the wins. This year, his numbers took a drop due to the arrival of Air Favre. While this was expected, defenses have taken him out of several games that he should have been a big part of.
You could make a case that this guy should win the award. His numbers are some of the best of his career, on pace to break his best yards in a season/yards per game. His TD/INT ratio is one of the best in the league. His team is 11-3. River's only real issue is that unlike many of the other contenders on the list, his offense has been healthy all year. Sure, his running game is as bad as the Colts, but he features some of the biggest and best on that team. More importantly, he plays in the worst division in the AFC, where the Chargers were ceded the keys to the division before the season even started. Depending on how much he plays the final two weeks, there may be no way for him to overcome any of the favorites above him in the list.
The guy is having a career year, there is absolutely no doubt about that. He's chasing the RB equivalent of Dan Marino's record for yards in a season. Whether he gets it or not, it still will not matter. No running back since Terrell Davis has won the MVP by cracking the 2,000 yard mark. In fact, only 2 RB's have won the MVP by cracking 2,000 yards. The original guy to do it, OJ Simpson, and Terrell Davis. Davis was a beast that year, and he single handedly carried the Broncos to the title that year. Ironically, a few others have cracked 2,000 yards rushing....one even set the then single game NFL rushing record, but did not win the MVP.
The point here is that even if Johnson sets the record, it does NOT guarantee a single MVP vote. Outside of the yards rushing, Johnson is not the most valuable player on his team. He was averaging almost 145 ypg in 6 straight losses. It was only when Vince Young came back into the QB spot that his team started winning. That alone says something about vital CJ is to his team. Another HUGE factor is scoring. CJ simply doesn't score TD's. The last 2 RB's to win the MVP scored TD's.. Those guys got it done....both in yards AND points....
How a man his age has his single greatest career year in virtually every stat is beyond me. The guy went from having an injury to playing all year and putting up career bests in several areas. Easily could be labeled Comeback Player of the Year, definitely is a sentimental favorite. Unfortunately, he went to a team that was already loaded from the year before, had the reigning NFL rusher on it, and was 10-6 last year. He also has fallen off as of late, as his turnovers at QB have been the reasons why his team has lost their 3 games. (2 TDs, 4 INTs, 1 lost fumble, and 11 sacks.) Ultimately, with the Saints losing, he had a chance to put his team in prime position to clinch a bye.
The odds on favorite to derail Manning as MVP. The only other QB to lead his team to 13 straight wins in the NFL this year. He's put up eye popping stats that very few QB's ever put up, but has done so with one of the top ranked passing and rushing attacks. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, when it came time to shine, Brees could not duplicate what Manning has done all year. The 4th quarter comeback. I won't say this wins it for Manning, but watching Manning play virtually the same type of team, a team needing a win to stay alive in the playoffs, it makes it very hard for Brees to overcome that. Again, the point is moot if Peyton sits on the bench for much of the next 2 games while Brees goes out and throws for 700 yards. However, even doing that, it'll be against one of the worst teams in the NFL and a team who was a shell of itself from last year. Playing two garbage teams after laying an egg against the Cowgirls, really doesn't showcase him well.
Ultimately, I just dont see anyway you can derail Manning at this point. Sure, he's won it before and as long as he's in the league, he's in the top 5 every year for it. Honestly, you could replace a lot of these players and the teams as a whole would still be playoff caliber. The Colts? I sincerely doubt you could replace what Manning alone does at the line as a QB. That's not even including all the records the Colts have set, tied, or broken this year, both individual players and the team.
Before I go, you can read a new article by BigBlueShoe commenting on Peter "the MVP is Manning" King's article here.