Busting the Narrative Part 1: Big Ben is the definition of valuable.
The football world has been extremely critical towards the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, despite a sterling 9-0 record. It’s as if those who have a voice in this world have already made up their collective minds about the Steelers, and will not accept how wrong they have been about this team. In this series ‘Breaking the Narrative’ I’m going to dive into a number of slighted players, coaches, and this Steelers team as a whole, and try to set the record straight.
First up, how not only is Ben Roethlisberger the reason for the Steelers success, but why he should be in the thick of the MVP conversation.
For whatever reason, sites like Pro Football Focus tries to continue a narrative that Ben Roethlisberger is holding the Steelers back. This mindset dates back to training camp when many ‘analysts’ pondered whether or not Ben Roethlisberger will have anything left in the tank after rehabbing a season ending elbow injury.
There are Steelers fans that genuinely believe Ben Roethlisberger is playing better than Tom Brady this year.
Just remind yourself of that any time you think smart data is getting through when it comes to the NFL
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) November 6, 2020
Through the first five weeks of this season, Ben Roethlisberger was playing the most efficient stretch of his career. All five games he posted a quarterback rating above 98, he threw only one interception, and posted eleven touchdown passes. All this while leading the team to its first 5-0 start of his career.
Then in Week 7, Roethlisberger threw three interceptions, and you could almost hear the collective outside-world scream “Ha! I told you he lost it”. The problem is only one of those interceptions were really Bens fault. The first one was a chuck and pray at the end of the first half, the second was tipped up at the line of scrimmage, and even the third one was one heck of an athletic play by the defender. The Steelers hung on to win the game, but still it was Ben’s fault…
Now how has Ben Roethlisberger responded since his ‘down’ performance against the Titans? Well, he racked up 821 yards, 9 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. All this while posting a 100+ quarterback rating, and well over 60% completion. Not to even mention he’s lead the way to the Steelers first ever 9-0 start in franchise history.
It’s the wins stat which is most important than all. In 2018 the Pittsburgh Steelers only won eight games in sixteen contests. In 2020 the Steelers have won nine games in nine contests. Ben Roethlisberger’s wins above replacement stat is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of +6.0-+8.0. Is that not the definition of valuable?
— Michael Beck (@MichaelBeck56) November 16, 2020
Lets take a quick look at Roethlisberger’s total stats through nine games:
2,267 Passing yards
66.8 Completion percentage
If you flipped Patrick Mahomes stats with those of Ben Roethlisberger’s, including the 9-0 record Mahomes would still be the favorite to win the MVP award. Same goes for Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, or Kyler Murray. Why Roethlisberger doesn’t receive the recognition around the league like some of his peers is beyond me.
Current odds for 2020 NFL MVP according to SportsBetting
Patrick Mahomes 2-1
Russell Wilson 5-2
Aaron Rodgers 4-1
Kyler Murray 5-1
Ben Roethlisberger 14-1
— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) November 16, 2020
What do you think? Should Ben Roethlisberger be inconsideration for NFL MVP? Or is he holding this team back? Make your opinions known down in the comments below!