Most Valuable Player awards have always been skewed a bit when it comes to the true meaning behind the honor.
A lot of the time, the best player on the best team wins the MVP – not necessarily the player who means the most to their franchise.
In the NFL, Aaron Rodgers looks like the runaway winner for 2011, even though the Green Bay Packers gunslinger may not be the most valuable player to his team when you take a good look at the league.
In fact, the 2011 NFL MVP hasn’t even stepped on the field this season – and probably won’t – for a squad that is 0-7 heading into Week 8 of the schedule.
To see how far the Indianapolis Colts have fallen without quarterback Peyton Manning is astonishing. While, in essence, he only throws the football, Manning’s absence has seemed to impact every aspect of the Colts.
You want to know Manning's impact, just look at this week's spread against Tennessee. Cantor Gaming made the Colts as 3-point favorites back in June when they posted lines on every NFL game of the season. The line has swung 12 points now with the Colts getting 9 points against an average Titans team.
"I am not sure how Peyton Manning doesn't win the MVP this year," Andrew Patterson, an oddsmaker with Las Vegas Sports Consultants, told Covers.com. "It is clear he means more to the Colts than any player on any other team."
The offense, obviously, has taken giant leaps backwards with backup Curtis Painter under center. But the defense has even felt the lack of No. 18 this season.
Without Manning managing the clock, an aging stop unit isn’t getting the down time it’s used to – sitting second last in time of possession at 24:23. And it shows. Indianapolis is among the worst in the league in total yards, rushing defense, and points allowed.
To put it into a betting perspective, the Colts were around +800 to win the Super Bowl after the NFL Draft in the spring. Now, Manning-less Indy is a +50,000 long shot sitting next to the Miami Dolphins at the bottom of the SBXLVI futures.
To say Rodgers or Brady would have the same impact on their team if they were out is wrong. Football fans got a sample of that back in 2008, when Brady went down with a knee injury in Week 1. The Patriots rallied around Matt Cassel and Bill Belichick kept the ship afloat, posting an 11-5 record most teams would kill for.
The Colts have gone from a playoff team and Super Bowl contender with Manning, to the worst team in the league without him.
So, when someone other than Manning gets the nod for the so-called MVP award, just keep in mind Indianapolis’ nose dive and the fact that Manning would be earning his fifth NFL MVP if the honor actually went to the Most Valuable Player.