The NFL’s MVP award may be an honor that has been dominated by signal-callers in recent years — with quarterbacks having won it nine of the last ten times — but that shouldn’t keep Antonio Brown out of this season’s discussion.
A wide receiver is long overdue to win the award, as no pass-catcher in NFL history has garnered MVP honors. However, many analysts and fans alike believed that Jerry Rice should’ve won over Brett Favre in 1995, and Calvin Johnson finishing just 36 yards short of being the first to record 2,000 receiving yards in a season in 2012 was certainly noteworthy as well.
So yes, the odds are stacked against Brown, but it’s clear that he should be in the MVP discussion, at the very least, in looking at his stats and clutch performances late in games this season.
Brown has hauled in 99 catches for 1,509 yards so far, with three games remaining in the season, and is coming off a 213-yard performance against the Ravens, who field one of the best defenses in the league. The Steelers receiver is on pace for 1,857 yards, which would be the third-highest total in NFL history.
Most importantly, though, Brown is clutch.
The Steelers have trailed by double digits in the fourth quarter in their last two games — and Brown has made big catches to help them come back to win in both matchups. The Steelers receiver has hauled in 23 catches for 414 yards in the fourth quarter of games this season, with four touchdowns. It seems like every time the team is in need of a big catch late in games, Brown hauls one in no matter what the coverage is — usually near the sideline. He’s the best player on his team — which is currently competing for the No. 1 seed in the AFC — and has been the best player on the field in nearly every game this season.
It’s important to note that Brown will be up against stiff competition in the MVP race, as he’ll be competing against Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and others. Carson Wentz appeared to have a good chance of challenging Brady (the odds-on favorite at the current time) and winning the MVP award, but the ACL injury he suffered in Sunday’s game, unfortunately, has all but removed him from the discussion, whether the damage to his left knee is diagnosed as a sprain or a tear. Brady is now the frontrunner, but there’s still time for Brown to challenge him for the prestigious award.
The Steelers square off against the Patriots, Texans and Browns in their final three games, and these teams rank 29th, 22nd and 17th in passing yards per game allowed. The sky is the limit for Brown, and we expect him to continue to destroy opposing defenses in these last three weeks, proving that he’s worthy of being in the MVP discussion.