My brother, Scott, and I were having a conversation about The Beatles not long ago that eventually turned into a discussion about the relative merits of each of The Fab Four's solo careers.
While we both enjoy many of their individual works, Scott said that Paul McCartney's recordings of late were not anywhere near the quality of his earlier solo efforts. He said at this point in his career, McCartney is so revered that he could release pretty much anything and it would end up with platinum sales levels.
That may not be entirely on the mark, but it is true that once a performer reaches a certain level of elite success any of his endeavors will be met with a certain acceptance from the media and general public, even if the quality of the work says it isn't deserved.
This same mindset can be applied to Peyton Manning's 2010 season. He has been the NFL MVP frontrunner in most people's minds (including mine) for many weeks, but after taking a closer look at the game tapes and metrics it starts to become clear that No. 18 is having one of his worst seasons in recent memory.