Aaron Rodgers was masterful during the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl run last season. Tom Brady was the league MVP, and the award was well-deserved. But the best player in all of football, the one everyone fears the most, is Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
I wrote yesterday that the reason I don't get red-faced angry over Manning v. Brady is because the debate is over, and anyone else still yapping to keep it alive is not someone I view don't consider credible. A person I do view as credible is fourteen year NFL veteran Derrick Mason, who was drafted in the fourth round of the 1998 NFL Draft; the same draft that produced Peyton Manning, who went No. 1 overall.
In a recent interview with 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore on The Norris and Davis Show to discuss his perception of the NFL lockout, Mason was asked about the NFL Top 100 players and who would be No. 1 right now. Mason's answer:
When you look at the rankings and you look at the importance of a player is this: not the type of season that he had, one seasons or two seasons that he had, it’s what player do I kick off a team and it changes that team dramatically? I only know one player and it’s Peyton Manning. You take Tom Brady off New England they showed that they can go 11-5. Now you take Peyton Manning off the Colts I don’t know where that teams goes offensively.
I think if I’m ranking right now who’s a top player like I said I think it’s Peyton Manning. Hands down it is Peyton Manning.
Again, as we said yesterday, and as we discussed earlier this morning when the subject of Manning's impending free agency was in the news, Peyton Manning is the most valuable player in football, period. Without him, the Colts are in lottery land. With him, they are contenders. Derrick Mason should know. He was there in 1999 when the Titans walked in Indianapolis and crushed the Colts in the playoffs. He was there in 2006 in Baltimore when Peyton dissected the Ravens in the fourth quarter of a Colts playoff victory. He was there in 2009 when Peyton tore up the Ravens defense again, on his way to another Super Bowl.
Mason has seen it all in his fourteen years playing, and for him the best of them all is No. 18, Peyton Manning.