Peyton Manning won an award at the NFL Honors ceremony Saturday night, just not the award, or so we thought.
Despite having one of the best statistical years of his career, which is saying a lot for the future Hall of Famer, he fell short of winning his fifth AP Most Valuable Player Award. Adrian Peterson earned the honor by rushing for 2,097 yards, which is eight yards short of Eric Dickerson’s all-time record. The Vikings running back deserved the distinction, but it wasn’t the most prized of the accomplishments to be acknowledged.
Manning was the real winner on this night; he received the AP Comeback Player of the Year.
“I’m sure Adrian (Peterson) could share the same type of story that as much of a physical challenge, it’s a mental challenge,” Manning said, who collected 31.5 out of 50 votes. “For me, it’s a true test of patience. There are days where you don’t really make positive strides. Some days, your best days are just days that you didn’t have a setback.”
For Manning and Peterson alike, they are accustomed to playing like MVP-caliber players. That comes natural to them. A 68.6 completion percentage, 4,659 yards and 37 touchdown passes for Manning is basically a really good year, nothing more.
It’s what they are supposed to do. It’s what they work so hard for. It’s what they expect of themselves. Yet, this season was different.
After missing an entire season, due to several neck surgeries and getting released by the only franchise he had ever played for, people weren’t sure if Manning would ever play football again. Peterson tore his ACL at the end of last season, a black mark for any running back and a career ender for others. They were both practically written off, history doubts such a quick recovery or even total revival.
Proving people wrong was never a part of their design
“I had played quite a long time and felt like I left everything out there on the field,” Manning said, insinuating that hanging up his shoulder pads were a possibility, if only for a moment. “But once the doctors said that I was cleared to play if I could get my strength back and get back to where I could perform and play quarterback at a higher level, I certainly wanted to play. I enjoy playing the game. I enjoy being out there with the guys and my teammates. It’s something that I’ve always had a great passion for.”
Manning and Peterson’s brilliance is simply a standard set for other to strive for, with or without an injury.
But their incredible resurgence, the Broncos quarterback winning the edge in this category, truly cannot be comprehended