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This was the NFL's Year of the Comeback with Manning, Peterson, Pagano and Charles

  • Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning sets to throw a pass in the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)The Associated Press

  • Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano speaks during a news conference Monday, Dec. 24, 2012, in Indianapolis. Pagano returns to the team after undergoing successful leukemia treatment. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)The Associated Press

  • Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) runs from Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Jerry Hughes, left, during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)The Associated Press

From Peyton Manning overcoming four neck surgeries to Adrian Peterson's rebound from a shredded knee to Chuck Pagano's fight with leukemia, this has been the Year of the Comeback in the NFL.

A season besmirched by tragedies, replacement officials and a bounty scandal also will go down as one in which some of the game's greats not only regained their old form but somehow surpassed it.

When the season started, who could have expected Manning to recapture his MVP play so quickly with a new team? Or for Peterson to come back less than nine months after shredding his left knee. Or for Jamaal Charles to return better than ever after suffering a similar injury?

Then there's Pagano beating the biggest opponent of his life.

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