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DeAngelo Williams

After the games have been played and the coaches have been fired, the NFL starts giving out its season-ending awards. The question is, who is the NFL’s MVP for the 2008 season? There are a lot of players that deserve consideration, even if most of the buzz seems to be going to that relatively unknown quarterback in Indianapolis. Adrian Peterson is also getting a lot of recognition and considering his incredible ability, that goes without saying.

But, were Peterson or Manning that much more impressive than DeAngelo Williams was for the Carolina Panthers? Not from where I’m sitting. Yes, Peterson had more yards than Williams (1760 to 1515), but Williams had eight more touchdowns and had ZERO fumbles during the regular season. Peterson, on the other hand, had nine fumbles, losing four.

And then there are the respective records. Two weeks ago, Carolina was fighting for home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs while the Vikings simply backed in to the postseason. Carolina tied the Giants for the best record in the NFC while the Vikings barely won the NFC North division, doing so with a 10-6 record.

So why does Peterson deserve the nod over Williams again?

If it comes down to yards and nothing more — please don’t say it comes down to talent because while Peterson is immensely talented, Williams isn’t just some system back either — then perhaps we need to take a closer look at the reasons why Peterson outgained Williams. While both backs split time with another teammate, Peterson had almost 100 more carries than Williams did.

Williams’ back up, Jonathan Stewart, rushed for 836 yards on 184 carries, 83 more than Peterson’s back up, Chester Taylor, had. Give Williams 83 more chances to run the ball behind the talented Carolina offense and he might have broken the 2000-yard barrier — or at least led the league in rushing yards.

With that in mind, it’s easy for me to say DeAngelo Williams deserves the MVP over Adrian Peterson. As for that other Manning fellow, he seems to be the sentimental choice and considering the way he led his team after their 3-4 start, he certainly deserves all the consideration in the world … but that doesn’t mean he automatically gets the nod over Williams. Because it’s harder to compare stats between different positions, the same argument used against Peterson doesn’t work here.

Manning was typically great (4000 yards, 27 touchdowns, 12 picks), but so was Williams. Yes, Manning has been “doing it” longer, but is this a lifetime award or one based on the past season’s performances? Instead of saying Peyton deserves it because of the way he led his team, try explaining how DeAngelo Williams’ season was somehow less deserving than Manning’s.

The reason Manning gets the nod is because without him, the Colts would have been in the bottom half of the NFL, unless Jim Sorgi had a Matt Cassel-like season. I’m not sure the same would be true of a Carolina team without Williams. Yes, Williams had a brilliant year, but with Jonathan Stewart producing as a back up, some of his production would’ve been addressed.

I’m not sure the same would be true for a Jim Sorgi-led Colts offense.