As we begin the second half of the NFL season, the talks on who will be this year’s NFL MVP begin to heat up. We know the usual people who will be in the discussion: Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. We have Seattle Seahwaks Russell Wilson in the discussion, and as of last Sunday, Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray will be in discussion as well. These are all great candidates and have a case for MVP, however there should be another person added to the discussion. That mane’s name is Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger. Now before you accuse me of speaking in fandom because the Pittsburgh Steelers are undefeated, I challenge you to read on and listen to the facts on why Big Ben should be in the discussion.
1. The Technical Reason
So, we will get this out of the way now. The MVP, in all sports, typically goes to the player who puts up the best stats that generates overall team success and look good doing it. Last season, it was Lamar Jackson. The season before it was Patrick Mahomes, and it will probably be him again this season. The keyword in MVP is “Valuable”. Which player means the most to a team’s overall success? Where Roethlisberger makes his case with this is a matter of night and day. Look no further than last year’s Steelers team. With Big Ben out, the Steelers finished towards the bottom of the league in points per game. This year the Steelers are fifth in points per game and the only other AFC team in the top 5 behind only the Kansas City Chiefs. Roethlisberger’s value to the Steelers is on full display and the fact that Pittsburgh is undefeated makes Ben’s case for MVP a little bit stronger.
2. Offensive Efficiency
As mentioned before, the Steelers offense is fifth in points per game, averaging 30. Despite the inconsistencies, you cannot argue that Pittsburgh, when they want to, can put up some points. This is something you could not say last year with the Steelers only scoring 27 or more points twice, the Steelers have scored 27+ in seven games thus far. Pittsburgh has already eclipsed last season’s red zone stats also. Last season, Pittsburgh only scored 14 touchdowns on 40 trips in the red zone. This year, the Steelers have scored 24 touchdowns on 35 trips in the red zone through only nine games so far. The difference? Ben Roethlisberger.
3. BEN’S Efficiency & The Eye Test
Ben Roethlisberger does not have the best stats to make his case, however he along with the Steelers offense have not been any more efficient, again despite the inconsistencies. Roethlisberger so far has 22 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. That is almost a 6 to 1 touchdown-interception ratio, much better than Ben in the past. The Eye Test shows that he has played better thus far, in my opinion, than Rodgers (debatable), Wilson (who is struggling lately), and Brees (who is now injured). The record must be some reflection of Ben’s play along with the outstanding play of the Steelers defense. If this continues, which is debatable and I can only hope it does, Roethlisberger is on pace for just over 4,000 yards, 39 TDs (career best potentially), and only 7 interceptions (best since 2010). This is a career year for Roethlisberger without a doubt. Not bad for a guy who is “holding his team back”.
In my personal “Let’s Be Real” top 10 QB list, I had Ben Roethlisberger ranked fourth this year as I thought his rapport with the young receiving core would be beneficial to the success of Steelers. Will Ben win MVP? Probably not for the reason I mentioned earlier. His play now should almost lock up NFL Comeback Player of the Year, but that award will be given to Alex Smith for sympathetic reasons, and I am okay with that. If we are going to talk MVP, you must at least, at least mention Ben Roethlisberger!
-Trevor Shipp, Co-Host