“Sports Illustrated” names Peyton Manning Sportsman of the Year

December 16, 2013
(John W. McDonough / Sports Illustrated)
(John W. McDonough / Sports Illustrated / Courtesy Sports Illustrated)

Nothing against Peyton Manning but … Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year?

Well, yes, the Denver Broncos’ quarterback is the magazine’s choice because it was announced to great mediumish fanfare at halftime of the Cincinnati Bengals-Pittsburgh Steelers game Sunday night. 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 (maybe it’s the awards themselves that are meh). It wasn’t an easy choice, as Peter King wrote on MMQB.com. Particularly in a year that featured David Ortiz leading the Boston Red Sox to an emotional World Series title after the marathon bombings and New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera retiring — among others.

Sports Illustrated Managing Editor Chris Stone, who leads the decsion-making process, told DenverBroncos.com that the award was more “a measure of Peyton’s entire career.”

King, whose MMQB is part of SI, wrote of the choice:

Some years the choice is a slam dunk. The U.S. Olympic hockey team in 1980, Michael Jordan in 1991 (NBA champ, NBA MVP, Olympic gold medalist), Cal Ripken coming off his consecutive-games streak in 1995, Tom Brady in 2005 after his third Super Bowl title, Michael Phelps in 2008 for his eight Olympic golds. This year, the picture is murkier, but I’d go, in order: Manning, Ortiz, Rivera, [Alabama quarterback A.J.] McCarron, [NASCAR driver Jimmie] Johnson.

How about Ortiz and marathon runners as “Sportspeople of the Year?”

Related: How Peyton Manning almost didn’t make it back from his neck surgeries

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren · December 16, 2013