Peyton Manning is great, he is the current NFL poster child for hard work. Eat your vitamins (or go to Germany for a treatment illegal in North America) and success will follow, and he seems like a swell dude that won't bring shame upon the award in the future; like a former cycling star. The NFL is the unchallenged leader of North American professional sports and Manning is on pace for his record 5th MVP award. SI naming him their prestigious Sportsman of the Year isn’t a laughable decision, just a lazy one. I'll ignore the shameless plug of announcing the NFL player winning an award during halftime of the most watched football game of the week, what are the chances they pick that time to announce the winner if its not a football player?
Manning is arguably the greatest regular season quarterback ever and during his first season in Denver they won their division. It just happened to be the worst division in football and saw the other three teams replace their head coaches during the off-season. Ultimately, sports is a results business and after his first season in Denver, Manning accomplished the less than Tim Tebow, a division title and a playoff record of 0-1 (Tebow's playoff record in Denver was 1-1). Of course Manning did it with more style but that’s what Peyton does, wins regular season games in style.
Quarterback is the most important position in North American sports, which means you get an the credit when your team succeeds and an uneven amount of blame when failure occurs. Fair or Foul, its the culture of sports and Manning didn’t win anything or surprise anyone in 2013. You can argue that he is going to set A,B,C passing records this year, but those records aren’t Dimaggio’s 56 game hit streak, they were all set within the last 10 years and likely be broken by someone else in the next 10 years as the NFL continues to cater its rules to an aerial offense.
I haven't decided if this is a pro or con:
Here are a couple of possibly more inspired choices:
Mariana Rivera, without a doubt the most dominate single player baseball has
had in recent memory and owner of the most ridiculous stat I’ve ever seen. More people have walked on the moon (12) than have scored against Rivera in his 114.0 innings of post-season baseball (11). Post-season, where you play against the best in baseball.
Rivera also gets votes for being part of the best sporting moment of the year.
There hasn't been a non-American winner of the award since 1998 (Sammy Sosa), I can't think of anyone more deserving than Mariano.
Lebron James, he won his 4th MVP, 2nd finals and 2nd finals MVP. But he won last year and no one has ever won back-to-back Sportsman of the Year.
He also did this:
David Stern, the often maligned commissioner of the NBA is retiring in February after 30 years of service.
To quickly put his legacy into prospective, when he took over the NBA finals was aired on tape-delay. The average player salary has skyrocketed from $250k to $5 million a year. Another silly crazy number, the Seattle Supersonics in 1983 were sold for $16 million and in 2013 the NBA rejected Chris Hansen’s $625 million bid to buy the Kings and move them to Seattle.
David Ortiz’ epic World Series was historically great, but his 2003 ‘alleged’ positive test for PED’s is an instant DQ. Which isn’t fair, but when your giving out an award like this you get to nit-pick and baseball’s track record of players in their late 30‘s performing at career highs speaks for itself.
Just don’t tell Ortiz, you wouldn't like him when he’s angry.