Peyton Manning’s first season back after taking a year off from football was a resounding success. That was officially confirmed Saturday evening when the Associated Press named him the 2013 Comeback Player of the Year.
Manning led the Denver Broncos to a 13-3 record and to first place in the AFC. He set a franchise record in nearly every passing category with a 68.8% completion percentage, 37 touchdowns, 400 completions, 4,659 passing yards, a 105.8 passer rating, and just 11 interceptions.
After the 2010 season, Manning had four neck surgeries which forced him to miss the next season. The Indianapolis Colts decided to go in a different direction, and released Manning into the hungry free agent market. Perhaps just as impressive as physical recovery was the fact that Manning had to adjust to a new city, new team, new coaching staff, and a brand new routine.
“I had no real expectations for what this year would be like,” Manning said after his final regular season game. “So I don’t know if you can exceed expectations if you never really had any. But it’s been a gratifying regular season and very humbling.”
Manning beat out Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson 31.5votes to 17.5 votes.
Manning is just the second player in NFL history to win the Comeback Player of the Year award and be named a first-team All-Pro in the same year. Steve Smith did it first.
Update 7:05 p.m.: While Manning beat Peterson to win Comeback Player of the Year, Peterson took home first place in league MVP honors. Peterson had 30.5 votes while Manning had 19.5 votes. Manning’s 19.5 votes are greater than four MVP winners (’97, ’02, ’03, and ’05). This was the 8th time in Manning’s career that he finished in the top 3 in MVP votes.