Mashup: Manning SI Sportsman of the Year –

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MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: NBA: Timberwolves at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE) College basketball: Gardner-Webb at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU) College basketball: Mississippi Valley State at Northwestern, 7 p.m. (BTN) NFL: Ravens at Lions, 8:40 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM) NHL: Maple Leafs at Penguins, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)


Peyton Manning, in the midst of a standout season with the Broncos at age 37, was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.

Manning, in his second season in Denver, has led the Broncos to an 11-3 record and the No. 1 seed in the AFC (helped by the Patriots’ loss to the Dolphins on Sunday). He has thrown 47 touchdown passes, three short of Tom Brady‘s single-season record with two games to play.

The 2012 NFL Comeback Player of the Year after missing the previous season while recovering from neck surgeries, Manning is the first Bronco — and first Denver athlete — to win the award.

LeBron James won last year’s honor, then went on to lead the Heat to their second straight NBA title.

“At first, when I knew we were considering Manning, I thought: good choice. Lifetime-achievement-award choice,” said SI senior writer Peter King, who announced the winner on NBC at halftime of Sunday night’s game between the Bengals and Steelers. “But if you isolate this year, you’re looking at a player two years removed from four neck procedures that would have prompted many 35-year-old legends to choose retirement. He has his Super Bowl. He has his MVPs. Now he’s on the verge of breaking the most important single-season quarterback records [touchdown passes and passing yards] in the 94-year history of the game. He threw seven touchdown passes against the defending Super Bowl champs. And he’s got his team set to win the top seed in the AFC. Who plays his best—wounded, with so many great young guns chasing him—at 37?”

• The Giants were eliminated from the playoffs last week, and that’s not sitting well with team legend Lawrence Taylor. The former linebacker said he thinks coach Tom Coughlin‘s time has come, despite his two Super Bowl championships.

“Tom Coughlin has done wonders for the Giants. Personally, I don’t know if I could play for him, but the guy is a winner, he is a fighter. But I think it is time for him to take his talents on the road,” Taylor told the New York Post on Saturday night at David Ortiz‘s charity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic. “He’s done all he can do for the Giants. If he wants to coach, I think he needs to take his philosophies to another team.

“After a while, the players just stop listening. I respect the man, but it’s time. As much as I like Coughlin and the job he has done, it’s time for a shakeup.”

On the other hand, Taylor had kind words for Ortiz.

“Big Papi has a big heart and he cares,” Taylor said. “A guy like that with that notoriety, with that status, he could easily say kiss off and do his own thing. He genuinely loves people and things he does for the city of Boston and the Dominican Republic.”

• Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, the former Patriots assistant who was put in charge of restoring the Nittany Lions to prominence following the Jerry Sandusky scandal, reportedly has been approached by two NFL teams and is considering returning to the pros.

O’Brien was said to have been close to leaving Penn State for the Eagles job last year, but he decided to return to Happy Valley for a second season mainly out of loyalty. This time, he appears to be more willing to make the jump, especially after the school received more punishment than expected for its handling of the Sandusky situation. Also, his buyout is less financially restrictive than last year.

The Texans and Vikings are the teams said to have contacted him already, with Washington another possibility.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On. Dec. 15, 2003, which Celtic had his number retired to the rafters?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We had plenty of chances all day. We make some good plays and then we make plenty of [expletive] plays.” – Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, before cutting short his brief press conference following Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Dolphins in Miami

STAT OF THE DAY: 23 – Total points by which the Dolphins’ seven home games this season have been decided

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard beats the Pistons with a tough shot in the final second of overtime Sunday night.

Nets players get into a friendly dispute with with Pistons mascot Hooper before their game Friday night.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Cedric Maxwell

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Dave Clark, drummer for the Dave Clark Five, was born on this day in 1942.

Mashup: Manning SI Sportsman of the Year –
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