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Ben Roethlisberger MVP candidacy a topic of conversation

With eight games down, it's a time to discuss front-runners and candidates for season-ending awards. Or, perhaps more appropriately, it's a time to discuss why some players are not being considered candidates for season-ending awards.

Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

While this seems more like a rhetorical question among media members, it's worth asking seriously. Why isn't Ben Roethlisberger being considered an MVP candidate?

Boil away the hype surrounding Peyton Manning, has he really done more for his team than Roethlisberger has? Manning has two more interceptions (six) in a nearly identical number of attempts. He has four more touchdowns, but it's not as if he's substantially better, neither is his team. Manning's defense has also played better throughout the year.

Matt Ryan? Hard to argue with the undefeated record thing, assuming you don't agree that 21 other players on the field impact a team's record. Outside of that, his numbers are not any different than Roethlisberger's - 17 touchdowns and six picks vs. Roethlisberger's 16 TDs and four picks. Again, nearly identical pass attempts (299 for Ryan vs. Ben's 298). A more consistent defense and rushing game, too.

Aaron Rodgers...again, very similar numbers, although proportionate. Pretty much identical completion percentage (Ben 67.1, Rodgers 67), Roethlisberger has him in yards per attempt (7.39 to 7.29), and while Rodgers holds a substantial touchdown advantage (25 to 16), they're clearly close enough (especially with their teams both being 5-3) that if you consider one, it's hard not to include the other.

Fact is, any one of these guys can - and perhaps should - be considered for NFL MVP. If Roethlisberger isn't the most well-liked guy in the league, then fine, but this team might - MIGHT - have two wins without him. And that's even kind of a stretch.

He's as valuable as any other player, and deserves in the conversation.