The NFL debuted its very own magazine this month in an age where print mags are going the way of New Coke and Paris Hilton's acting career. And already, the magazine is writing stuff that rubs Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney the wrong way.
NFL Magazine's publisher and editor-in-chief, Mike Dunphy, wrote an article saying that the 2011 NFL MVP (for the 2011 ragular season) is not Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, or Drew Brees. It's Peyton Manning, a man who has not taken a snap under center all season.
‘Look, we all know who would win if we took a poll right now," said Mike Dunphy, publisher and editor-in-chief of the freshly-christened venture, via the Los Angeles Times. "Aaron Rodgers would absolutely kill it. But if the Colts end up going the way they’re headed, the more it proves that Peyton really is the franchise. . . . Is he really the MVP? Everybody has an opinion on that, and this is ours."
Dunphy's opinion does not sit well with the before mentioned Freeney, who (in case you forgot) is a teammate of Peyton's.
"It is disrespectful and it’s ridiculous across the board, to all of the guys who are actually playing the game," Freeney said, per the Associated Press. "To the guys who are playing hard, it’s unfortunate that they’re doing something like that. They will and they do look ridiculous doing that."
In a way, Freeney is right. The MVP should go to someone who is actually playing this year. And as we said repeatedly two years ago, when some silly people were babbling that Chris Johnson should have won the 2009 MVP over Peyton Manning, the league MVP is someone who has to get his team into the playoffs. That is an unofficial criteria.
I mean, if the player were truly 'valuable,' the team would win. Gaudy stats are meaningless without Ws, and Ws are meaningless unless they result in a playoff birth. This isn't the NBA or the MLB, where flashy splash plays that do little to affect the W column get you shiny trophies and pats on the back. Winning is everything in this NFL. Everything.
For 2011, Rodgers is the obvious choice for MVP, and he should be the unanimous one. If anyone votes for Tom Brady or Drew Brees, they are either unapologetic homers or on the payroll of the Patriots or Saints. But, should someone vote for Manning, that type of vote would be more of a statement regarding how diminished the NFL is without him. While I'm sure Pats, Saints, and Pack fans might disagree with this, Brady, Brees, and Rodgers do not have the presence that Manning does. Even injured, his absence has cast a shadow across the league, which is why (from a business perspective) it is so very important that he return to play in 2012.