This past Monday, the NFL Network wrapped up their Top-100 Players list with the conclusion of the final 10. Despite Tom Brady being ranked the top player for back-to-back years, Antonio Brown finished No. 2 as voted on by his peers. Even though there’s still some lingering doubt regarding Brown’s mindset going into training camp, he still continues to prove how much he’s worth to the Steelers’ hopeful Super Bowl push.
Last season, he was on pace to possibly pass, “Megatron” Calvin Johnson’s all-time receiving-yards record in a single season, but was derailed after getting injured in Week 15 in a pivotal game against the Patriots. During that game, he tore his calf and missed the rest of the regular season.
JuJu Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant, along with Le’Veon Bell, picked up the slack in Brown’s absence, but the offense was never truly the same without No. 84 running wild.
Antonio Brown has been a dynamic WR, the likes of which hardly any Steeler in franchise history would match. He provides such a dominant presence. If not for Brady hanging around the block, Brown arguably is the best player in the league today. Let’s also take it a step further — the Steelers could have been the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Huge difference in being No. 2 — where they eventually had to match up with the Jaguars once again to their dismay.
Yes, Le’Veon Bell is a dynamic threat in more ways than one, but Brown could have potentially been the first player in NFL History to win the league MVP as a WR. Set aside all his theatrics with his social media hiccup in 2017, he still comes out as the best at his position. According to Senior Writer of ESPN the Magazine, Mina Kimes, “He also racks up prolific yards after the catch, finishing third among all receivers last season, despite his injury.”
Crazy to think but there is no doubt Brown is just as valuable as Bell. Interesting that he was ranked three spots above Bell who came in at No. 5 on the Top 100 list. Not only that, but he gets two contract extensions before Bell’s first one — showing how great his services are valued.
Pin me to a wall and, if I had to choose between the two, it would have to be Brown over Bell simply because of durability and availability. Let’s face it, Antonio has never been suspended and Bell has been suspended two times due to off-field issues. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a slight against Bell, but Brown has been able to avoid missing games due to off-field issues.
One thing Brown and Bell know is they need each other if they’re going to make another Super Bowl Run. Despite the concerns being mouthed about Bell and Brown’s own mini-saga with the media, they need to squash the noise and just dominate. After all, isn’t that what it generally comes down to in life, put two strong personalities together and just do your job.