Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) throws against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

The Players Choice: Peyton Manning


 


Peyton Manning
was named the best player in 2013 by a vote of the players as NFL Network concluded their countdown of the top 100 on Wednesday night. In the end, it was a no brainer based on the season Manning had. It was one of the few things the players got right on this list. Demaryius Thomas behind Vincent Jackson is a joke and he should have been higher than 49. That being said, Manning came in at number one and no one can argue with that.

Manning turned in the greatest quarterbacking season in NFL history with 5,477 yards and 55 touchdown passes, both league records. In addition to the individual records, the Denver Broncos offense set the record for points in a season with 606.

Numbers are numbers but if they don’t lead to team success, then those numbers are hallow at best. However, the Broncos turned those numbers into 13 wins and an AFC Championship. Obviously the season did not end the way Manning, the Broncos or their fans wanted it to but it should not take away from the season that Manning put together.

We get so caught up in the week-to-week aspect of the NFL that sometimes we forget to enjoy or appreciate what we are watching. We spend Monday and Tuesday reviewing the previous week’s game and the rest of the week previewing the next one. Now that the historic season is in the rear view mirror and Manning has won all the awards, it’s time to look back and appreciate.

The numbers are one thing and everyone can see those, but it was Manning’s complete control of the offense that may have been the most impressive. New York Giants running back, Rashad Jennings may have had the best quote ever about Manning on NFL Network during the countdown.

Jennings said; “He’s really an offensive coordinator that can throw a football, that’s cheating.”

That’s a perfect description of Manning; he knows the offense so well and how to attack defenses. Every quarterback has the ability to audible at the line of scrimmage but what Manning does is different. He’s going to the line with the entire playbook at his disposal and can call anyone of a hundred plays based on what he sees on the other side of the ball.

Most other quarterbacks have one or two plays they can check to if the defense dictates a change, Manning doesn’t even call a play till he gets to the line of scrimmage. We are so used to it by now and take what Manning does for granted, but it really is remarkable how much command he has over the Broncos offense.

Manning was interviewed following his selection and, as usual, he was much more interested in talking about the upcoming season as opposed to last year or the award. He said that the goal is to be better in 2014; what 55 touchdowns isn’t enough? My guess is Manning was not talking about stats when he said the goal is to be better. It’s a fair bet that he was talking about winning one more game, the game that got away from the Broncos last season.

That’s Manning, the stats are nice but the team success is more important. The Broncos came up short in 2013 but that will only drive Manning to work harder, if that’s possible.

It’s a nice honor as is the fifth MVP award that Manning won in 2013, but he would trade it all for a victory in February of 2015.

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