Manning runs away with NFL’s MVP award

In what was expected to be a tight race for the Associated Press’ NFL MVP award, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning won in a landslide Saturday.

Manning easily beat out New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Manning got 39.5 votes, Brees got 7.5, San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers got 2 and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre got 1.

Manning’s fourth MVP award breaks a tie with Favre for the most in NFL history.

Favre was believed to be a lead candidate for the award in the first half of the season, and he still finished second to Brees in QB rating. However, Favre had a three-game stretch where he tossed just three TDs and four interceptions, resulting in two Vikings losses.

I thought Brees, who led the NFL in touchdown passes, would make it a closer race. But Manning had a great season without the benefit of a standout rushing attack and having lost a starting receiver in Anthony Gonzalez for almost the entire season.

What do Vikings fans think? Does Manning deserve the award? When you look at numbers alone, Favre and Manning each threw 33 TDs. But Favre tossed only seven interceptions to Manning’s 16 INTs.

If Carroll heads to NFL, it’s only for a new challenge

Don’t let the reported $2 million per year raise fool you. If USC head football coach Pete Carroll goes to the NFL, it will be for a new challenge.

Carroll is reportedly on the brink of taking the head coaching job with the Seattle Seahawks, leaving behind the plush job of running one of the most revered programs in college football.

USC football is king in the second-biggest market in the country. There’s no NFL team to compete with for attention, so you can’t really beat the prestige that comes with leading the Trojans onto the field for 12 Saturdays a year.

In going to Seattle, Carroll would be leaving behind that atmosphere. But Carroll, who reportedly earned $4.4 million in 2008, would be getting at least $7 million a year.

And while the money would be huge – well, it was already huge, so make it HUGER – Carroll should know as well as anybody that the NFL is a dog-eat-dog world. The potential for long-term earnings is in college, because 95 percent of all coaches in the NFL are gone after three years (don’t look up that stat, because I completely made it up).

Carroll has coached in the NFL before, guiding the New York Jets and New England Patriots for a few years during the 1990s. His record was two games over .500, so I’m sure he feels there’s some unfinished business in the big leagues.

At USC, he’s done everything he can do this side of becoming the next Joe Paterno or Bobby Bowden. It sounds like he’s leaning toward taking his show to the pros.