The country witnessed a massacre Sunday night. In the week-seven primetime edition of the Indianapolis Colts’ “Suck for Luck” campaign, the New Orleans Saints dismantled, destroyed and demolished the Colts on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
In the 62-7 romping in the Superdome, the Saints destroyed any confidence the 0-7 Colts had very early in the game. The Saints defense swarmed the dismal Colts’ offense. Curtis Painter, the Indianapolis quarterback, was rendered ineffective, passing for a mere 67 yards.
Household names, such as a Reggae Wayne, Dallas Clark and Pierre Garcon were vastly limited. These same players have been a mainstay on Sportscenter’s top 10 plays for the entirety of their careers.
It took the Colts’ defense nine straight possessions to stop Drew Brees and the unstoppable Saints offense. A defense that holds multiple former pro-bowlers and a probable Hall-of-Famer was completely ineffective, giving up the most points to a team since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.
Last year, the Colts made it to the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year. While it was a down year by Colts’ standards, a 10-win season is always something to be proud of in the NFL. A year before that, the Colts won their second AFC Championship in that 8- year span.
It would be accurate to say that the Indianapolis Colts have been a dynasty in the last decade. Few teams can compete with Indianapolis’ wins and division titles.
The key difference in this year’s team is Peyton Manning, who was ruled out for the season with a neck injury before his first game. He has watched each loss this season from the sidelines.
Manning was the starting quarterback for each playoff appearance and victory. He has won the Super Bowl MVP, been named to the Pro-Bowl 11 times, and holds an NFL-record four Most Valuable Player awards.
Each year under his command, the Colts’ offense flourished as one of the most dynamic and electrifying units in the league. Players like Wayne, Clark, and Garcon are household names because of Manning’s prowess. Marvin Harrison is a first ballot NFL Hall of Famer because he had Manning delivering him the ball for the majority of his career.
What Manning has done in Indianapolis is nothing short of remarkable. He has completely built a team around him into a dynasty. I have grown up watching Peyton Manning turn the Colts into a modern day powerhouse. I didn’t grow up watching the 49ers or the Cowboys – I watched the Colts.
This is why I propose Peyton Manning to be named this year’s NFL Most Valuable Player. There is clearly no team that relies on a single player as much as Manning is relied on in Indianapolis.
What the nation witnessed on Sunday was not an unusual site. The Colts have been losing in similar fashion all year. Without Manning, the Colts aren’t winning any division titles. Without Manning, this team would struggle to make it into the BCS top 10. With Manning, who really knows?
The New England Patriots, another modern NFL dynasty, proved three years ago how they were capable of playing without their star, Tom Brady. Brady went down with a season ending knee injuring in week one of the 2008 season. With the help of a solid defense and running game, lifetime backup Matt Cassel led the Patriots to a 10-win season.
While Brady may be one of the greatest to ever play the game, 2008 proved that New England could win without him. The same clearly cannot be said about Manning and the Colts.
If the NFL is going to give an award out to the player who is most valuable to his respected team, this should be a no-brainer. Manning’s absence and the Colts’ demise have proved his true value. No player means more to their team than Manning. Don’t believe me? Just ask a Colts fan (if there are any left).