I just finished reading an opinion piece rating the potential “Comeback Player of the Year” candidates in the National Football League.
Generally speaking, it seems to be a two-horse race between a former Colt and a running back that covers ground like a thoroughbred.
Denver quarterback Peyton Manning and Minnesota running back Adrian Petersen seem to be the two most viable possibilities at the mid-point of the NFL season.
Manning, who saw his seasons-long consecutive starts streak end last season with a series of neck surgeries, has the Broncos in the thick of the play-off hunt in his first season in the mile high city.
Petersen, coming off a season-ending knee injury last year, seems to be even better than he was before he got hurt. And he was really, really good then. This year, it seems as though the only thing that will keep him from running for more yards than any other back has ever recorded in a single season are those seats just behind every goalpost. It kind of hurts for a Packer fan to say that about a Viking player, but the truth is the truth.
My vote for the Comeback Player of the Year? Manning. For a very good reason.
The man makes great commercials.
Truth be told, I was never a real Manning fan. There was, of course, never any doubt about his football skills. The man does have game. But I often found his demonstrative actions on the field to be annoying.
He has a great arm, a sound knowledge of the game, and obvious leadership skills. But, anytime I watched him play, I got worn out just watching all his gyrations before every snap.
But then, he started making those commercials.
To me, his series of credit card ads were some of the best I have ever seen featuring a professional athlete.
When he sat in that cafeteria chanting “de-caf”, I thought it was some of the best writing and acting I had seen on television for decades.
And, if I were to teach a class about on-air promotions, I would use the promo featuring the Manning family tour of the ESPN studios, with Peyton and little brother Eli acting up while walking behind their parents as an example of how such promos should be done.
I think his newest ad campaign hawking pizzas proves his overall courage. If he can keep snapping his head in the same manner as Papa John, no football player is going to do his surgically-repaired neck further damage.
Some of you might think strength of commercials is a bad criteria to use as a basis for my Comeback POY vote and you could be right. I don’t recall any commercials featuring Adrian Petersen. He might be very good at it.
But, he’s still a Viking.