As we move into the second half of the NFL season, MVP talk is starting to heat up. Aaron Rodgers, with his 22 TDs and team’s perfect record, certainly ranks towards the top of most lists. Calvin Johnson and his 10 receiving touchdowns aren’t far behind. Some will even argue that Fred Jackson and his 1,000 total yards through seven games should take the award. However, I don’t think any of these players are the most valuable in the NFL. My pick for the 2011 NFL MVP may surprise you…

The league’s most valuable player for the 2011 season is Peyton Manning.

Peyton Manning will not take one snap for the Colts this year, but he should still walk away with the hardware. With Manning under center, the Colts are 141-67. With Manning under center, the team has won double digit games every year since 2002–a streak that will be broken in 2011. With Manning under center, the Colts are proverbial AFC favorites and Super Bowl contenders. WithOUT Manning under center, the Colts are 0-7 in 2011. Yikes.

Some may argue that Manning has no influence over the Colts atrocious run defense. Fair point. However, the Colts’s defense was built around speed on the edges. The Colts have the best pair of defensive ends in the league in Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. The Colt defense was built to protect leads late by putting pressure on the opposing quarterback. This defense cannot tee off with Curtis Painter leading the offense.

To me, the MVP Award goes to the most influence (not best) player in the league. The MVP must have a monumental impact on his team–on and off the stat sheet. In general, the Colts just look horrible without Peyton leading the show. Peyton completely changes the entire scope of the Colt franchise and his absense clearly reflects on the team’s win-loss record.

Peyton Manning as the MVP–Controversial? Yes. Logical? Yes. Yes. Yes.