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Jones: Sherman And Peyton Steal The Spotlight Leading Up To The Big Game

Peyton Manning (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) and Richard Sherman (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Peyton Manning (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) and Richard Sherman (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Super Bowl XLVIII

By Kimberly Jones
» More Columns

Why do we have a feeling that the MVP on Sunday will be Richard Sherman or Peyton Manning?

They have been the most compelling figures during Super Bowl 48 pregame media availabilities for players — which, as of Thursday, are over. Until after the game.

Of course, many players, particularly Marshawn Lynch, are happy to see those of us in the media pack up and leave their hotel ballrooms. Manning and Sherman have been among the most accommodating interview subjects. We all know Manning gets it. We seem to be coming to a consensus that Sherman does, too.

And it’s a safe bet that with their individual performances, both Manning and Sherman will go a long way in determining this year’s world championship.

Let’s hope so.

Earlier this month, Sherman – in his regular writings for Peter King’s MMQB.com – described some of Manning’s passes as “ducks.” Sherman also listed his five smartest quarterback in the league, and he ranked Manning first.

“His arm, however, is another story,” Sherman wrote. “His passes will be accurate and on time, but he throws ducks.”

On Wednesday, Sherman said Manning is “a great quarterback, he does a great job. But at the same time, when he catches the ball, he doesn’t necessarily catch the laces all the time. But he throws an accurate ball, regardless of how he catches it, how he gets it — he delivers it on time and accurately.”

Naturally, Manning was asked for his reaction Thursday morning.

“I believe it to be true,” he said with a chuckle. “They say he is a smart player, and I think that’s a real reach with what he is saying there. I do throw ‘ducks’. I’ve thrown a lot of yards and touchdowns ‘ducks’. I am actually quite proud of it.”

Sherman, asked later Thursday morning about Manning’s response, said this: “I agree. That’s exactly what I said. That’s what I said.”

Sunday’s 6:25 p.m. kickoff can’t get here soon enough, can it? This should be a fun one.

Tissue paper? We’re not sure Manning needs his teammates to defend him or his passes, but Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas did Thursday.

“It doesn’t matter what the ball looks like, it’s always in the right spot,” Thomas said. “That’s the main thing with him. I still remember the first day I was throwing with Peyton; throwing the ball, it probably wasn’t the prettiest ball, but it was always in the right spot and it was easy to catch. I’ve never had a quarterback like that, so I enjoyed it.”

Why are Manning’s passes so easy to catch?

“Like I said, it’s like catching tissue paper,” Thomas said. “It’s so easy to catch, it really doesn’t matter if it’s a spiral or wobbly.”

Didn’t Thomas and Sherman basically say the same thing?

What about Brady? Manning was asked to rank his top three quarterbacks of all time. He initially laughed and said, “Me and my buddies don’t discuss that. We have other things to talk about.”

He did offer to describe “the perfect quarterback,” and we found his answer interesting.

“Take a little piece of everybody,” Peyton said. “Take John Elway’s arm, Dan Marino’s release, maybe Troy Aikman’s dropback, Brett Favre’s scrambling ability, Joe Montana’s two-minute poise and, naturally, my speed in there.”

He laughed again. For what it’s worth, Manning has seemed to be in a jovial mood most of the week. Then again, so has Sherman.

Strahan’s HOF chances: On Saturday we’ll know if Michael Strahan, in his second year of eligibility, gains deserved entry into the Hall of Fame. It would be a cool moment for him to be introduced Sunday with the rest of the 2014 class at MetLife Stadium.

As we hope Warren Sapp’s criticisms of Strahan take a backseat, it should surprise no one that Broncos coach John Fox endorses Strahan.

“First of all, I think it’s a shame that’s going on, but I believe Michael does deserve it,” said Fox, who was the Giants’ defensive coordinator from 1997-2001. “I believe he deserved it a year ago. That’s my personal opinion. But the actuality is, he was a great leader. He won a Super Bowl. I think he exemplified what our league is about in a very positive light, both on and off the field. And so I think he’s the perfect candidate, and I know if I had a vote, he’d have mine.”

Well said.

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