He’s likely not going to win the award, because no one is going to beat out Peyton Manning, but it is time Jamaal Charles started to receive some heavy accolades. His performance Sunday against the Oakland Raiders alone sets him apart as one of the great players in this league. His performance was legendary as he racked up 195 yards receiving and hauled in four touchdowns. He added another 20 yards and a score on the ground to help the Kansas Chiefs Chiefs clinch their first playoff birth since 2010. But the truth is, Jamaal Charles has been the heart and soul for this Chiefs team all season, carrying a super-human like load this year for a Chiefs offense that has mostly struggled aside from his production.
Many football pundits may peg Jamaal Charles as a simply a speed back due to his track history, but this season it is obvious that he has had to earn many yards the hard way. His body has held up astonishingly well despite touching the ball over 300 times with two games yet to go in the season. But it is not just his 1,181 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground that should be opening eyes, it’s the fact that he leads all running backs in receiving by a wide margin. His 65 grabs and 655 yards have been extremely key for the Chiefs this year, as their down field passing game has struggled under weak-armed but efficient quarterback Alex Smith. Jamaal Charles leads all Chiefs receivers in yards, catches and touchdowns and is Smith’s go-to on his frequent check-down plays. His value to the Kansas City offense is immeasurable and it is terrifying to think what would become of that unit without Charles in the lineup.
There is no doubt that if a back like Adrian Peterson had the kind of day that Jamaal Charles had Sunday at Oakland that there would have been talk of immediately ushering him to the Pro Football Hall of Fame without a seconds remorse. But, as it is, Jamaal Charles remains under the radar and playing for the small-market Chiefs keeps him out of the limelight of the national media and his classy demeanor on and off the field keeps his name off of local headlines.
But this season it is very important to recognize this great player and appreciate what his talent means for this upstart Kansas City Chiefs team who have fought back from a 2-14 season a year ago to sit currently tied with the best record in the AFC with the Denver Broncos. Charles has not merely played a role in this turnaround, he has flat out BEEN the turnaround. Peyton Manning is certainly the catalyst for the Denver Broncos sublime passing attack, and it is very hard to argue against Manning being the MVP of the NFL in 2013, but if there is a guy who deserves to go neck and neck with Manning, it is absolutely Jamaal Charles.