Remember when Hines Ward and Casey Hampton were named the team’s co-MVPs in 2005? Or when Ward and Joey Porter shared the award back in 2002?
The play of Ward, Hampton and Porter during those seasons was nothing short of incredible, so the splitting of the team’s MVP award in 2002 and 2005 was definitely warranted. This season, I and many believed that a strong chance existed for another MVP-split between Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger.
That of course did not happen, and it was Brown, not Roethlisberger, who earned the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2013 MVP award for his stellar play.
Make no mistake, Brown has enjoyed what could be considered the most productive regular season ever by a wide receiver in a Pittsburgh uniform (101 catches, 1,412 yards, eight touchdowns, 388 punt return yards and one touchdown).
Nevertheless, I shared the sentiment of Mike Prisuta of Steelers.com after I read the news that Brown was the sole recipient of the team’s MVP award:
WR Antonio Brown wins Steelers MVP (players vote). Brown's had a special year, but this year award should be re-named MVP Not Named Big Ben.
— Mike Prisuta (@DVEMike) December 26, 2013
Not to take anything away from Brown, but doesn’t somebody have to actually thread the needle to the talented wide receiver? Doesn’t somebody have to stand behind one of the most makeshift offensive lines in the league? Moreover, doesn’t somebody have to design a game-plan to get the ball into the hands of the team’s most explosive play-maker?
Roethlisberger has already set franchise and career-highs in completions (356) and attempts (553), and he could be primed to tie or break his own franchise marks in touchdown passes (27 and 32) and passing yards (4,082 and 4,328). Although this season will not end with a postseason berth, November’s AFC Offensive Player of the Month has been the biggest reason why the Steelers have been competitive at all this fall.
If there was any year in which co-MVP’s could be named, this would have been the one. It is a disservice to both players to name just one MVP, especially since both players rely so heavily on each other for their respective success. If you took Brown away from Roethlisberger or vice-versa, neither player would have been the productive forces they were this fall.
Regardless of what the final vote count was, Roethlisberger still deserves to be recognized for his solid play. He might not be the team’s official 2013 MVP, but his play this season made him a more than deserving recipient of the award.
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