There were two potential outcomes to this season's MVP voting, the results of which were revealed tonight: The sportswriters that vote on the thing could have made a grievous error, as sportswriters so often do, and awarded Peyton Manning the MVP award (as sportswriters so often have), for reasons related to team record, the importance of his position, and a significant helping of "leadership," "attitude" and "intangibles"—in short, because Manning is just the type of person that's named MVP every few years. It wouldn't quite have been for his stats—Manning wasn't the sole leader in any major statistical category this year—and it wouldn't have even been for his best season. It would have just been another MVP award, but this time older, and in a different jersey.
Or they could have picked the guy who came within nine yards of breaking the NFL's single-season rushing record, tore off a streak of 10 games in which he averaged 159.8 yards and scored 10 touchdowns, carried a shaky Vikings offense into the postseason, played his best when his team was scrapping for wins, had little in the way of support, benefited in no way from the misdirection of a dangerous quarterback, and wasn't allowed to cut in August. They went with that guy. Good call.
Easily the most exciting player in the league and perhaps the player whose absence would have left his team the most irretrievably adrift, Adrian Peterson earned every last vote. No doubt, Manning had a great season, returning to near-dominance after four neck surgeries, but it was Peterson, pivoting, deking, and blasting off from a knee that had been brutally destroyed last season, that seemed to be doing the impossible. Here, look:
Let Manning have comeback player of the year; the MVP was Peterson's ever since his coaches realized he didn't need a carries limit. Rename it the Orange Peanut and let's hope next year he puts on half the show he gave us this time around.