Peyton's Place: SI Names Broncos QB '13 Sportsman Of The Year Award Winner
SI last night named Broncos QB Peyton Manning its ’13 Sportsman of the Year, marking the fourth NFL QB to receive the honor in the last decade. SI announced the selection of Manning last night during halftime of the Bengals-Steelers “SNF” broadcast. Manning will be feted tonight at a ceremony in Denver. Time Inc. Sports Group Editor Paul Fichtenbaum said, “There are some years where Sportsman is more of a lifetime achievement award, and some years where it’s more about dominance in that particular year. With Peyton you actually have both. It’s sort of the best of both worlds.” Manning, despite a career-threatening neck injury two years ago, is challenging the NFL single-season records for both passing yards and touchdowns. Recently retired Yankees P Mariano Rivera was among those seriously considered for the award. Fichtenbaum: “Mariano was right there on this. We thought long and hard about him." Red Sox DH David Ortiz also was a finalist. Lee Jenkins wrote the main story on Manning for the Sportsman of the Year issue of SI, the second straight year he has written the main piece for the annual award, with essays and contributions from several other SI writers including Peter King and Tim Layden (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). In Denver, Mike Klis noted Manning is the "first Bronco and first Denver athlete to receive the prestigious award." Being named Sportsman of the Year "may trump a fifth MVP award" (DENVERPOST.com, 12/15).
THE PICK IS IN: THE MMQB's Peter King notes SI Managing Editor Chris Stone and the editors of SI pick the award, but King writes he supports the choice of Manning because, "at 37 and maybe 85 percent of his former grip and arm strength because of his four neck procedures in 2010 and 2011, he is apace to challenge the two big single-season pro football passing records." Having one’s "best year under the circumstances and with so many young pups with stronger arms and faster legs chasing him is worthy of our praise and respect." King: "And the way he approaches life -- this not Athlete of the Year; it’s Sportsman of the Year -- and his job is something admirable" (MMQB.SI.com, 12/16). CBSSPORTS.com's Will Brinson wrote Manning is a "good guy who does good things in the community and he's probably going to set the record for passing yards in a single season and touchdowns in a single season." From a "pure 'athletic achievement' standpoint, he's certainly a worthy winner" (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/15). In DC, Cindy Boren writes, "Taking nothing away from whether he is the embodiment of sportsmanship, it seems like something of an odd choice, one made more for the Broncos’ record and his assault on the offensive record books than anything else." But it was "that kind of year in sports, sort of a meh year when it comes to these kinds of awards" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/16).