The completion of the NFL’s regular season has brought some highly contested races for some of the most prestigious individual awards the NFL has to offer. The NFL MVP, Comeback Player of the Year, and Rookie of the Year awards are all incredibly close races this season.
Adrian Peterson and Peyton Manning are the front-runners for both the NFL MVP award as well as the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. Each player overcame remarkable odds during the offseason to return to the field and lead their respective teams to the playoffs with their outstanding play.
Peterson tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee last December and was still able to come within 9 yards of breaking Eric Dickerson’s all-time rushing record with a total of 2,097 yards for the season.
Manning signed with the Broncos after taking a year off from football due to numerous neck surgeries. He had to regain the strength and feeling in his throwing arm as a result of the procedures while adjusting to a new team as well. Manning helped Denver earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a 13–3 record while throwing for 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns.
Between the top two choices for the MVP award, Manning is the athlete that will walk away with the hardware. He has had an incredible year and led the Broncos to the top seed in the AFC. But Manning’s presence off the field is why he is deserving of the MVP award. The winning mentality and businesslike attitude he brought to Denver has had an impact on the entire organization.
Peterson is more deserving of the Comeback Player of the Year award due to the severity of his injury and the impressive season he had. Peterson was nearly able to break the long-standing NFL rushing record just a year after tearing both ligaments in his knee.The Rookie of the Year award has far more contenders to choose from. Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson, and Alfred Morris have each had an incredible year. But Andrew Luck stands apart from the rest because of the lack of experience around him. All four rookies have made it to the playoffs in their first season. But Luck has far less veteran talent to work with, both on offense and defense.
Chris Hunt is a sports writer who resides in Charlotte, N.C.
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