From Jeremy Fowler at ESPN.com’s AFC North Blog:
“Ben Roethlisberger is AFC North’s most valuable player”
NFL Nation reporters from the AFC North — Jeremy Fowler, Coley Harvey, Jamison Hensley and Pat McManamon — have reviewed the film and sorted through the analytics to determine the 2015 annual awards for the division. On Friday, we hand out the AFC North most valuable player.
Winner: Ben Roethlisberger
Runner-up: Antonio Brown
Brown gave 136 reasons why he’s an MVP candidate. Andy Dalton had the league’s second-highest passer rating before a thumb injury derailed his season.
But Ben Roethlisberger was clearly the catalyst for the AFC North’s best offense. He earned his divisional MVP award with playmaking ability that few matched in 2015.
Roethlisberger’s 328 passing yards per game led the NFL. He consistently challenged defenses in fearless fashion. For much of the season, Roethlisberger’s passes, on average, traveled nearly 11 yards in the air before reaching a receiver, also tops in the league.
This is not a check-down quarterback. This is one of the most feared, and one of the most difficult matchups for defensive coordinators.
Who else beat the league’s best defense, Denver, with 55 passing attempts? Fifty-five!
The Steelers should consider themselves lucky they went 2-2 without Roethlisberger. Just consider Brown’s production. He averaged 133 yards per game with Big Ben and 59 per game without him. For as great as Brown is, Roethlisberger still stirs the drink.
The Steelers’ streak of six straight games with at least 30 points was truly special, and Roethlisberger’s arm drove that streak. He played through several injuries to stay on the field. He’s thrived in Todd Haley’s system that emphasizes rhythm and timing in the passing game.
Roethlisberger is undervalued in his own locker room, winning one team-voted MVP in 12 seasons. Not here. He’s a logical choice as division MVP.
You can read more from Jeremy Fowler here.
From Curt Popejoy at USA Today:
“Former Steeler Santonio Holmes offers high praise of Ben Roethlisberger”
For whatever reason there are an awful lot of NFL fans and writers that don’t give Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger the respect he deserves. He is clearly one of the top quarterbacks in the league, but many refuse to admit it. He’s not as flashy or has the celebrity status of some other top quarterbacks, but make no mistake, he’s as good as they get.
One guy that isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, is former Steeler wide receiver Santonio Holmes. Holmes won a Super Bowl MVP with Roethlisberger as his quarterback and understands just how special a player he is. And wasn’t afraid to talk about it [in an interview with] nj.com:
How do you consider [Roethlisberger] an underrated player? Because he doesn’t get the same attention as Peyton Manning or Tom Brady? I would never compare Roethlisberger to any of those guys because, in all respect, he’s 10 times better than those guys because of the attitude and the tenacity that he brings to the game more than any other quarterback. The guy’s been hit by a car. And, basically, dismantled himself and wanted to play six weeks later. Things like that, that just don’t happen for a normal person. But to be able to have that kind of attitude and drive to want to do any and everything for his team, injury after injury, I want him on my team.
Comparing Roethlisberger to guys like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady like this will certainly ruffle some feathers, but it’s hard to argue against the positive things he said about Roethlisberger. Yes, some of it is hyperbole, but the point stands. Roethlisberger is one of the toughest, hardest-working players in the league at any position.
You can read more from Curt Popejoy here.
And from NFL sportswriter Jason Whitlock’s interview on the Colin Cowherd Radio Show:
“Ben Roethlisberger is a leader!”
Mr. Whitlock appeared on Colin Cowherd’s show on Tuesday and took issue with Colin’s suggestion that Panthers quarterback Cam Newton compares to Big Ben (at 1:25 into his show) –
“Ben instills confidence in his team in tough times….Ben makes you believe, ‘We’re never out of this. I’m going to do something. Don’t worry about the offensive line – I’m gonna move around the pocket, I’m going to take these hits, I’m still going to get the ball to the right places Cam folded in a very tough time.’ Cam folded in a very tough time.”
You can listen to Jason Whitlock’s interview here.