No surprise here: Fox says Manning is his MVP
Rarely one to talk publicly about the big picture or much beyond
winning the next game, Denver coach John Fox weighed in on the
interesting race for Most Valuable Player.
That race could come down to Peyton Manning of the Broncos vs.
old rival Tom Brady of the Patriots and Adrian Peterson of the
”Obviously, I’m going to be a little biased,” Fox said
His vote, of course, would go to Manning, not so much for the
numbers he’s put up as for the obstacles he’s overcome – namely, a
season off, four neck surgeries and the task of becoming the
Broncos quarterback after spending his entire career with the
”With all due respect for everyone involved, what’s unique
about Peyton … he’s done it in a new city with a new team at that
position,” Fox said. ”In my own personal opinion, that’s what
separates him from the field.”
Of course, getting the nod from the Broncos coach is one thing.
The decision from the real voters won’t be handed down until Super
The way things are going for the Broncos, Manning might be on
hand to collect it personally if he wins.
Denver (12-3) is on a 10-game winning streak and positioned for
a first-round bye in the playoffs and possibly even the top seed.
Manning has 4,355 yards, 203 away from the second most in his 14
seasons. His 34 touchdowns are ranked second over a career in which
he has already won a record four MVP awards.
In his postgame news conference after Denver’s 34-12 win over
Cleveland on Sunday, Manning said he hasn’t thought about his
chances of winning No. 5.
”It has been such a unique season for me personally, I really
feel fortunate to be playing,” he said. ”I really have had an
interesting year and a half and so I’m proud our team is in the
mix. Anything that comes along the way individually, in my past, I
have accepted those on behalf of the teams I have been on. They’re
individual awards, but in my opinion they have always been team
awards. That’s kind of how I continue to approach things.”
Fox, who has been coaching for nearly 35 years and needs one
more victory to reach 100 as an NFL head coach, said he still
learns from Manning.
Manning has come to Denver and changed the culture in the locker
room, essentially by demanding his teammates become students of the
game off the field in addition to working as hard as he does on
”I see how hard he works,” Fox said. ”He has it down to a
science as far as time management in an NFL season. I saw him in
the cool tub watching his iPad. Someone asked me if I was worried
about the iPad. I said, no, I don’t care about the iPad, I care
about him. Don’t want him to get electrocuted. But it’s remarkable
how hard he works.”
He said Manning also sets the tone by never taking his foot off
the gas. During their winning streak, the Broncos have won by an
average score of 31-17. They have taken double-digit leads in every
game but one, and nobody has played them closer than seven
”We talk about that a lot, not coasting, pedal downhill,” Fox
said. ”I appreciate him. I think that’s a big reason why he’s
accomplished what he’s accomplished, whether it’s here or in
Indianapolis. He’s a tremendous competitor, doesn’t let up. I think
that’s how you need to be to be successful.”
Peterson is also coming off a major injury, a torn-up knee that
knocked him out in December of last season, meaning he and Manning
are also prime contenders for Comeback Player of the Year.
Brady, meanwhile, would be considered the third major candidate
in the MVP voting.
In that case, voters would be choosing between:
-Peterson, a running back who made a remarkably fast comeback
and, at present, has rushed for 1,898 yards and led a 3-13 team in
2011 to the verge of the playoffs in 2012.
-Brady, a quarterback who has more yards (4,543) but fewer
touchdowns (32) than Manning and who also has a victory over
Manning: New England’s 31-21 win in October that marks the last
time Denver lost.
-And, of course, Manning, who has engineered the league’s
longest winning streak and is turning a good team into a
potentially great one.
Fox knows how he’d vote. But he said he’s not in the business of
”I was asked what I thought,” he said, ”and I told you.”
Notes: Fox reported two injuries: KR Trindon Holliday (ankle)
and CB Tracy Porter (concussion). … Fox gave the Broncos a rare
”Victory Monday” – the day off after a win. The team reports back
to work Wednesday. … With 65 yards receiving, WR Eric Decker
joined Demaryius Thomas in the 1,000-yard club. The Broncos have
their first 1,000-yard receiving duo since 2004. … Denver moved
up to fourth in overall offense and third in overall defense and,
with a week left, remains the only team ranked in the top five in
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and