Fox plays fa­vorites in MVP race

Den­ver coach makes pitch for Man­ning to earn the NFL award.

Austin American-Statesman - - FOOTBALL - By ed­die Pells JACK DEMPSEY / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

EN­GLE­WOOD, COLO. — Rarely one to talk pub­licly about the big pic­ture or much be­yond win­ning the next game, Den­ver coach John Fox weighed in on the in­ter­est­ing race for Most Valu­able Player.

That race could come down to Pey­ton Man­ning of the Broncos vs. old ri­val Tom Brady of the Pa­tri­ots and Adrian Peter­son of the Vik­ings.

“Ob­vi­ously, I’m go­ing to be a lit­tle bi­ased,” Fox said Mon­day.

His vote, of course, would go to Man­ning, not so much for the num­bers he’s put up as for the ob­sta­cles he’s over­come — namely, a sea­son off, four neck surg­eries and the task of be­com­ing the Broncos quar­ter­back af­ter spend­ing his en­tire ca­reer with the Colts.

“With all due re­spect for ev­ery­one in­volved, what’s unique about Pey­ton ... he’s done it in a new city with a new team at that po­si­tion,” Fox said. “In my own per­sonal opin­ion, that’s what sep­a­rates him from the field.”

Of course, get­ting the nod from the Broncos coach is one thing. The de­ci­sion from the real vot­ers won’t be handed down un­til Su­per Bowl week.

The way things are go­ing for the Broncos, Man­ning might be on hand to col­lect it per­son­ally if he wins.

Den­ver (12-3) is on a 10-game win­ning streak and po­si­tioned for a firstround bye in the play­offs and pos­si­bly even the top seed. Man­ning has 4,355 yards, 203 away from the sec­ond most in his 14 sea­sons. His 34 touch­downs are ranked sec­ond over a ca­reer in which he has al­ready won a record four MVP awards.

In his postgame news con­fer­ence af­ter Den­ver’s 34-12 win over Cleve­land on Sun­day, Man­ning said he hasn’t thought about his chances of win­ning No. 5.

“It has been such a unique sea­son for me per­son­ally, I really feel for­tu­nate to be play­ing,” he said. “I really have had an in­ter­est­ing year and a half and so I’m proud our team is in the mix. Any­thing that comes along the way in­di­vid­u­ally, in my past, I have ac­cepted those on be­half of the teams I have been on. They’re in­di­vid­ual awards, but in my opin­ion they have al­ways been team awards. That’s kind of how I con­tinue to ap­proach things.”

Fox, who has been coach­ing for nearly 35 years and needs one more vic­tory to reach 100 as an NFL head coach, said he still learns from Man­ning.

Man­ning has come to Den­ver and changed the cul­ture in the locker room, es­sen­tially by de­mand­ing his team­mates be­come stu­dents of the game off the field in ad­di­tion to work­ing as hard as he does on it.

“I see how hard he works,” Fox said. “He has it down to a sci­ence as far as time man­age­ment in an NFL sea­son. I saw him in the cool tub watch­ing his iPad. Some­one asked me if I was wor­ried about the iPad. I said, no, I don’t care about the iPad, I care about him. Don’t want him to get elec­tro­cuted. But it’s re­mark­able how hard he works.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.