Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) shuffles a pass in the fourth quarter during the 2013 AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field against the New England Patriots at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
After 17 weeks of regular season football and 3 weeks of playoff game, the Super Bowl is finally here. Peyton Manning has led the Denver Broncos to an outstanding season that seemed all but impossible a few years ago when Manning was recovering from neck surgery. Russell Wilson came in as an unheralded third round pick last year and proved all his doubters wrong. Conventional wisdom says one of these two players is going to be the Super Bowl MVP.
Right off the bat, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Denver Broncos win and Peyton Manning is not the MVP. Manning has been the best player in football this season – as evidenced by his recent crowning as regular season MVP and offensive player of the year – and the Broncos likely need a great game on his part to win. Unless Manning focuses on one receiver and a guy like Demaryius Thomas has 200 yards and 3 touchdowns, he should be the clear favorite for the award.
Predicting a possible most valuable player if the Seattle Seahawks win is a much more difficult process. While Peyton Manning is the singular best player on the Broncos, the Seahawks have a multitude of guys who are going to be key in the Super Bowl. Yes, Russell Wilson is important by default because he is the quarterback, but Seattle has hung their hat on Marshawn Lynch and the running game all season. When they do put the ball in Wilson’s hands and ask him to throw the ball, he doesn’t really key on just one guy. Doug Baldwin had over 100 yards receiving against a tough 49ers defense last week, but the week before that Wilson barely threw the ball against the Saints and Marshawn Lynch carried the ball for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
If the Seahawks do win, it’s going to behind their defense and the premise that they can slow Peyton Manning down. A defensive player winning the Super Bowl MVP is a rarity, but it has happened before. While Richard Sherman is the obvious guess here, Seattle has an embarrassment of talent on the defensive side and any number of players could step up. Still, I think Peyton is going to get rid of the ball too quickly for the pass rushers of Seattle to have a huge effect.
In the end, I still think the two quarterbacks are the key in this game. At some point, Russell Wilson is going to have to step up and make some big plays for Seattle to win.
If the Broncos win – Peyton Manning.
If the Seahawks win – Russell Wilson.
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