by Kolby Solinsky
Editor, White Cover Magazine
Below the title “Unexpected Arms Race” is a simple and concise sentence from ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
“Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are in another battle for NFL MVP. But, this one we didn’t see coming.”
Yes, most greats hit a peak. John Elway ended his career with two Super Bowls, but has since turned into a Clydesdale with an affinity for insulting his own rookies. Terry Bradshaw is a success off the field on TV, and that’s about the only place. Joe Montana, of course, has played it cool… but, we don’t see him.
And, of course, there’s Joe Namath. Just… nevermind.
But, here you have Peyton Manning. He’s the unexpected MVP candidate of the two. Coming off (what?) seven neck surgeries (or, was it 14?) in 2011, Manning has overcome what some might call a rocky start to his 2012 season with just an incredible second half.
If surprises were everything — and, in the Oscars, they are — Manning would win this thing running away. Hell, he should have won last year, too.
Welcome Tom Brady back to his familiar place. The MVP discussion just wouldn’t be right without Mr. Bundchen. Not only has he actually gotten better as an individual player since his third Super Bowl — to the detriment of the Patriots’ championship hopes, I guess — but Tom has finally proven to all of us that his championships between 2001 and 2005 were his doing. Not Bill Belichick’s.
Considering the two guys we’re talking about, maybe we should have seen this coming. Or, at least, predicted it. Schefter’s second headline was better: “A surprise that we’ve seen before“.
“In the twilights of their careers, Brady and Manning are giving football and their followers career years,” writes Schefter. “No one would be surprised if it resulted in one more postseason matchup, one more chance for these men to cement their legacy as two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. But, there’s still plenty to settle this regular season.”
Hey, Schef. What’s with the ‘Death Watch’? You’re writing about these guys like somebody has already bought their caskets. ‘One more postseason matchup’, you say? Why not three?
“As friendly as the two quarterbacks have become,” he continues, “they are competing against each other for MVP hono(u)rs. Already, they have combined to win the award six times, including four straight years from 2007 to 2010. It’s Brady and Manning, Manning and Brady, as it was in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, the six previous seasons they won the MVP.
“Should one win it this season — and, right now, no one else is more deserving — it will be the fifth time in six years Manning or Brady has won the award. They have practically owned it, just as they are owning this season. They are the story, again.”
You know what? We’ll leave it at that.