Manning's Super Bowl MVP = Laughable
In one of the worst Super Bowls in recent memory, the Indianapolis Colts outplayed the Chicago Bears to claim victor in Super Bowl XLI. It all came down to the Colts being able to keep the Bears defense on the field for a long time, due to the combination of converting on third down on offense and also due to forcing the Bears into third-and-longs while on defense, a situation which the Bears have statistically not been able to convert in high percentages.
When it comes to naming the Super Bowl MVP, it should not go to the best player on the winning team, but rather the player or combination of players that, without their high level of play, would not have won the game. Peyton Manning did not fit the mold of a Super Bowl MVP on Sunday. Any number of servicable quarterbacks could have stepped in and played in Manning's shoes on Sunday and played the kind of game where they were just looking to avoid mistakes and grind it out. The Colts did not need a huge day from Manning in order to win, and he did not give them a huge day. It came down to the duo of running backs Dominic Rhodes and rookie Joseph Addai, who combined for 190 yards rushing on 40 carries and 74 yards receiving on 11 catches.
Rhodes, a career backup, had his first 100-yard rushing game since 2001 in the biggest game of his career. Addai, a rookie who was selected to fill the shoes of the departed Edgerrin James, had 10 catches out of the backfield for 66 yards and bailed Manning out of a lot of situations. Manning's numbers were average, throwing for 247 yards, a touchdown and an interception. His numbers were played up due to his historically poor performance in the postseason, and also due to the fact he is a likeable guy I think the media wanted to bail him out for, if in the future, he doesn't succeed in the postseason. To say Manning got the monkey off of his back for his poor postseason play is laughable, because Manning ended the postseason with 3 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, pretty poor numbers in general, but especially poor for a guy who averages 4,000 yard passing seasons and throws a high volume of touchdowns with a low number of interceptions. The fact is, if the defense doesn't raise it's game in the wildcard round against the Chiefs and the divisional round against the Ravens, the Colts do not get to the AFC Championship Game. The only game where Manning stepped his game up was that game against the Patriots, and he definitely deserves the credit there. But in my mind there is no way he deserved the MVP, and he was maybe fourth or fifth on the list of candidates.
In my mind this is who it would have to go to:
1. Dominic Rhodes/Joseph Addai, RBs: 264 total yards and a touchdown
2. Kelvin Hayden, DB: Game-changing interception return for a TD, put the nail in the coffin
3. Bob Sanders, DB: Forced fumble and an interception
4. Peyton Manning: 247 yds, TD, INT
Another thing that pisses me off, I am sure Dominic Rhodes could use a new vehicle a little more than Peyton Manning. Although, I am not sure Rhodes' salary could afford the price of gas for the gas guzzling vehicle Manning was rewarded.