There is a big debate going on around league circles right now regarding the NFL’s Comeback player of the Year. Awarded annually to the most impressive or best comeback.
This season, there are two standouts. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who sustained a potential career-ending knee injury at the end of last season, only to miss one regular season game (in week 17 last year) and be on the field for the Vikings season opener. Peterson leads the league in rushing, and has his sights set on breaking the all-time rushing yardage for a single season. He’s even said the current record holder should be nervous.
On the flip side, future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning is leading a new team to the playoffs while looking better than the old Peyton Manning. He missed a full season due to multiple neck surgeries that also could have ended his career. The Manning-led Broncos look like one of the strongest teams in the league headed into the playoffs and his comeback and story after being released from his long-time Colts is outstanding.
Which of these players will claim the award though? There’s a possibility it’ll be a split decision and the two will share it, but Adrian Peterson says that he already knows he’ll be getting it.
“It was something that flashed across my mind, me knowing what I was going to be able to do, being where I’m at now,” Peterson told The Associated Press via NFL.com. “I kind of have that in the bag, especially how I’ve been telling people I’m going to come back stronger and better than ever. So I’ve pretty much zip-locked that in a bag and sealed it. It’ll be cool to win it.”
Some would agree because his rehabilitation was monster-like. No one believed him when he said he’d be on the field for the opener and he shuffled through it all to be the new and improved AP. Some would argue that he is the league MVP as well, but usually that goes to a QB, and Peterson agrees.
“The MVP, man, that’s something that I’ve always wanted to grab,” he said. “I work hard. I want to be the best player to play this game, so with that, MVP awards come. But I know this league and how it is, man. They’re kind of biased to the quarterback, which is unfortunate. They make it hard for other players to win it, but I will.”
When he says “I will” I’m not sure if he’s saying that is zip-locked as the Comeback Player award, but he seems pretty confident that he’ll be getting one or the other.
The last non-quarterback to be crowned league MVP was in 2006 when Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson won it. Since that time, Peyton Manning has won two.
It’ll be interesting to see who gets what, although both players are deserving of each award.