Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has been named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. It's a move that is unsurprising given his level of play, but not too long ago, such a prospect would have seemed highly unlikely to many NFL fans.
That's because Manning underwent multiple neck surgeries in 2011, and was told by doctors that his NFL career could be over. Report after report surfaced that Manning was struggling to find the velocity on his throws, and everyone was concerned with the possibility that he wouldn't be able to take a hit.
But Manning has now had multiple excellent seasons in Denver, with 2013 being his statistical best to date. That's right: a 37-year-old quarterback with significant injury concerns just took home honors for being the best offensive player in a league dominated by young and talented players.
Manning threw for 5,477 regular season yards, breaking Drew Brees' single season passing yards record by a single yard. He set the record for most touchdown passes in a season with 55, besting Tom Brady's 2007 total by five. He posted a completion percentage of 68.3 percent and, on top of that, led the Broncos to the No. 1 seed in the AFC this season.
This season was the 13th time that Manning was able to pass 4,000 yards in a season, which is an NFL record. It's also his eighth season with 30 or more touchdown passes.
It's no shock that Manning earned this award, as giving it to someone else would be madness. Manning has been a front-runner for this award and the league's Most Valuable Player award all season. There were plenty of other impressive players, like Brees and LeSean McCoy, but Manning just had what is statistically the best season a quarterback has ever had in the NFL.
McCoy would have been the winner here if Manning didn't have such an incredible season. McCoy had a very productive year as a runner, with 314 carries for 1,607 yards and nine touchdowns, helping the Eagles to the NFC East title and a playoff spot in head coach Chip Kelly's first season in charge.
McCoy also added 52 receptions for 539 yards and two touchdowns through the air, which brings his yardage total to 2,000-plus yards. But Manning was the shoe-in for this award and it's very easy to see why. It's tough luck for McCoy, but he sure seemed happy with his rushing title (he literally had a title belt).
Manning will attempt to get his second Super Bowl ring on Sunday.