With hundreds of players in the NFL every season, there can only be one MVP. Because of this, the award is spread throughout the franchises in the NFL, but some have a knack for winning more than anybody else. While several teams have multiple winners, one team reigns supreme above the rest and has accumulated an impressive resume of MVP seasons.
The Indianapolis Colts
The MVP award has been around since 1957. This happened to coincide with the rise of Johnny Unitas. Since introduced into the NFL, the Colts have boasted nine MVP awards which are spread between four different players.
Having two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history greatly helped them in this matter, but the team’s ability to consistently have NFL talent helps fans understand their storied history.
It all started in 1959 when Unitas won his first MVP award.
Johnny Unitas, 3 MVPs
Unitas can thank the Pittsburgh Steelers for his success with the Baltimore Colts. It was them, after all, who cut Unitas after deciding that four quarterbacks were better than him after training camp.
After working construction and playing semi-professionally, Unitas found himself back in the NFL, this time as a member of the Baltimore Colts. From there, he was a five-time All-Pro player, a ten-time Pro Bowler, a three-time NFL Champion, and a one-time Super Bowl Champion.
Unitas’s first MVP season came in 1959. Coming off his first NFL Championship, he led the Colts to another one thanks to his dominant play. Unitas threw for nearly 2,900 yards, 32 touchdown, and only 14 interceptions in a league where defenses were allowed to get away with more physical defense than they are today.
His next MVP season came five years later when Unitas threw for 2,824 yards, 19 touchdowns, and only six interceptions throughout the year. His final and most impressive MVP season came in 1967, when Unitas led the Colts to an 11-1-2 record, threw for over 3,400 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. Unitas lasted 18 years in the NFL, most of them with the Colts before one final season in San Diego.
Morrall played 21 years in the NFL across six different teams, but none of the seasons reigned as supreme as his 1968 season after Unitas’s final MVP year.
Morrall started all 14 games and led the Colts to a 13-1 record. He threw for nearly 3,000 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. The Colts would go on to win the NFL Championship 34-0.
Jones had a 10-year NFL career, but his 1976 season stood above the rest as his greatest NFL achievement. Jones had a respectable NFL career, but 1976 was on another level, with the quarterback throwing for over 3,100 yards, 24 touchdowns, and only 11 interceptions in the process.
Peyton Manning, 4 MVPs
Modern NFL fans will most-closely associate Colts MVP awards with Manning. Manning won four of his five MVP awards with the team and was constantly a candidate in years that he didn’t win. Manning first won the MVP award in 2003, and by 2009 he would have three more.
While all of Manning’s MVP awards were impressive, his final one as a Colt may take the cake. During that season, Manning threw for exactly 4,500 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions, throwing 393 completions at 68.8%. Manning’s longevity in the NFL meant that he was constantly outdoing himself, with his sole MVP award with the Broncos being even better.
Peyton Manning is, alongside Tom Brady, the face of quarterbacks during the first part of the 21st-century, and while he is now retired, he remains a favorite among many NFL fans.