Kerry Collins For MVP?

Kerry CollinsWhile I was at the gym this morning, I caught some NFL highlights on ESPN including some of the taped commentary from Chris Berman and Tom Jackson. For the record, no one recaps games better than those two guys, not even the 11 or 12 characters on NBC, who just keep trying to outwit each other. Anyway, Jackson said something really, really intriguing. Something to the effect of that while no one is saying it out loud, you can make a case for Titans’ quarterback Kerry Collins for NFL MVP after nine games.

Now think about that for a minute. Yes, it’s a strange year in the NFL, and yes, the Titans are 9-0 and way out in front of the AFC pack. But when you first think about it, Collins in MVP conversations sounds ridiculous. He is somewhere toward the bottom of the pack in passing yards, with 1525 (169 per game in 8-plus games), with just 5 touchdown passes and 3 interceptions and a QB rating of just 78.8. But here’s the thing. Drew Brees is putting up Tom Brady/Peyton Manning type numbers, with 2985 yards, 17 TDs and 10 picks. But Brees’ Saints are 4-5 and bringing up the rear in the AFC South. Jay Cutler is second in passing yards with 2616, and his team is 5-4 (and leading a pathetic AFC West). In fact, in pure yardage, you have to scroll down to number 10 (Brett Favre) to find a QB with more than five wins. Eli Manning of the 8-1 Giants is 12th and has a QB rating of 88.8.

So throw the stats aside, and think purely in terms of MVP for a minute. Manning and Brandon Jacobs deserve consideration, because they lead an 8-1 team in the NFL’s toughest division. But the Giants have a whole team of great players and the G-men would still be very competitive if either of those guys missed a game or two. The Panthers are 7-2, but have also had many contributors. And among the teams that are 6-3 (Jets, Pats, Steelers, Ravens, Redskins, Bucs and Falcons), you can make a case for a handful of players–Favre, Clinton Portis, and Matt Ryan. But even Ryan has had help from Michael Turner and Roddy White and John Abraham.

Then look at the Titans themselves. Aside from Collins, you have LenDale White and Chris Johnson piling up yards behind a very underrated offensive line. You have Albert Haynesworth absolutely terrorizing offensive coordinators and Cortland Finnegan playing out of his mind. All of them Pro Bowl possibilities, but not really MVP material. Collins, though, stepped in for Vince Young and has been a steady hand leading a very talented team to an undefeated record so far. You can’t say the Titans would be better than maybe 5-4 with Young as the starter right now. 9-0 with the veteran Collins is the only number that should be mentioned in MVP talk at this point, and for that I have to say Tom Jackson is on to something.

Bookmark this page for when the real talk begins, and don’t forget you heard it here second.

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