It's nice to see some intelligent insight and analysis come from a mainstream media outlet like The Sporting News. If only Bristol's factory were as good.
And yes, while I am easy to dismiss as a classic homer, I don't think anyone can argue against The Sporting News naming Peyton Manning the player of the decade. Sadly, this past summer, some people did argue that Peyton was not the best, and they looked stupid doing so. Because, seriously, if you don't agree that "The Sheriff" is the best player of the 2000 decade, you're either a homer for another team, a douchebag, or just some combination of the two (often referred to by us as "Patriots fans"*).
Why did SN pick Peyton? For them, and for the rest of the civilized world, the selection is obvious:
The numbers are there, of course: three league MVPs; season passing averages of 4,195 yards and 31 touchdowns; six consecutive years (and counting) of at least 12 wins; and, perhaps most impressive of all, zero missed starts. But Manning will forever be known best for his uncanny, unflappable, unsurpassed field generalship. As iconic quarterbacks go, the palpably bookish Manning has made nerdiness cool. You want to make it in the NFL? Prepare like Peyton Manning.
As we have often stated here, no player in the modern NFL has changed the game more than Peyton Manning. Those no-huddle attacks that Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Carson Palmer are running? Peyton brought those back into vogue. 37 career come-from-behind victories? Yep, more than any other active QB who isn't some old guy in Minnesota playing for the Vikings.
Again, the world will always have their fair share of idiots who just like to dump on Peyton Manning because someone who looked like Peyton probably used to kick their ass in high school. But, when it is all said and done, their loud, obnoxious, semi-brain damaged babbling is always drowned out by the simple, obvious fact that Peyton Manning is the best player this league has seen the past ten years.
Hell, at age 33, he's arguably still the best player in football. I remind folks that he is the reigning MVP, thank you very much.
So, props to The Sporting News for stating the obvious. Whether others will accept the obvious is up to them.
* It is the civic duty of all Colts fans to bash Patriots fans whenever possible. And vice versa. The NFL is a very dull place without Pats and Colts fans clawing at each other's faces.