5 Reasons Why Indianapolis Colts’ Robert Mathis Belongs in the NFL MVP Discussion

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5 Reasons Why Robert Mathis Belongs in the NFL MVP Discussion

Robert Mathis
Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports

After Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis was told he didn't have the size, speed or smarts to make it in the NFL, the 2003 fifth-round pick from Alabama A&M must be proud of everything he's done in his athletic career. The 6-foot-2, 246-pound Mathis is rocking his 11th season with 159 regular-season games, and is on the verge of becoming his team's all-time leader in sacks. He will also be setting a single-season team record while doing so.

There's an old sentiment among athletes that says "Your opponents are working and training hard -- you've got to work and train harder," and Mathis has certainly taken this to heart. During his time in the league, he has become developed, matured and seasoned as a player.

He currently leads the league with 15.5 sacks for the season, with five sack-forced fumbles, and is light years ahead of his competition when it comes to career sacks and forced fumbles. When he becomes his team's new leader in sacks (with just one more than he has this season), he will pass former Colt Dwight Freeney, who currently holds the record.

Mathis is having his best year ever. He himself considers any awards he might win to be a "testament to the underdog," and a testament to his belief that anything one sets his or her mind to can be accomplished. He has belief in the power of faith and hard work, and it has shown in spades.

The following are five reasons Mathis belongs be this year's league MVP discussion. Let me know if you agree or not!

Jonathan W. Crowell is a writer and an online sports blogger for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @JW_Crowell, “like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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5. The 100 Sacks Club!

Robert Mathis
Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports

Mathis currently leads the league with 15.5 sacks for the season, with five sack-forced fumbles. He totals 107 for his career. When he becomes his team's new leader in sacks, he will pass former Colt Dwight Freeney, who currently holds that record. With 41 career sack-forced fumbles, he's already broken the previous record held by Jason Taylor.

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4. True Warrior Spirit

Robert Mathis
Pat Lovell - USA TODAY Sports

His is the perfect underdog story. at 6'2" and 246 pounds, he was told he didn't have what it took to be in the NFL. He set out to prove his critics wrong, and succeeded immensely. He has the heart and spirit of a true champion.

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3. Continual Improvement and Growth

Robert Mathis
Brian Spurlock - USA TODAY Sports

He's shown real growth as a professional linebacker. Before this season, his average sacks per season number was just over nine. He's truly broken out this year with his single-season career-high of 15.5.

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2. Invaluable as a Team Player

Robert Mathis
Mitch Stringer - USA TODAY Sports

Mathis has played in five consecutive Pro Bowls (2008-2012), and won AFC Defensive Player of the month three times (November 2009, September 2010, October 2013). He's also stuck with the same team through thick and thin for his entire career, which is rare in any professional sport. He's a loyal and valuable asset to his team and fans.

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1. Taking Down Peyton Manning

Robert Mathis
Ron Chenoy - USA TODAY Sports

Not only did the Colts beat the Denver Broncos 39-33 in October, giving the Broncs their only loss for the season so far, Mathis got through one of the best offensive lines in the league and treated their seemingly untouchable quarterback like a cheap date. He took out 2013 NFL MVP candidate Peyton Manning twice in that very game with sacks, one of which led to a fumble and a safety. Manning was certainly shaken and his game went down the tubes after being sacked by Mathis. In contrast, the Kansas City Chiefs, with one of the best defenses in the league, weren't able to come near enough to Manning to leave much of a dent during two regular season matchups.


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