An injury shortened season to a franchise quarterback automatically thrusts said player into the following season’s Comeback Player of the Year conversation. Think Tom Brady in 2009, or Peyton Manning in 2012. In 2020, Ben Roethlisberger should be hot in the mix to win the award.
No matter what moves the Steelers make this offseason, no one player will effect their playoff hopes like Roethlisberger. And this team needs every ounce of vintage Big Ben they can get if they want to hoist one more Lombardi with the 17th year quarterback under center.
On the shoulders of one of the best young defenses in football, the Steelers really don't need Roethlisberger to recreate a 2018 season, which saw him lead the NFL in completions, yards, and attempts. In reality, just an average season from Roethlisberger should be enough to crack a Wildcard spot.
Across his 15 full, or nearly full, seasons Roethlisberger has averaged:
- 3,750 Passing yards
- 24 Touchdowns
- 308 Completions on 478 Attempts (64.4 completion)
- And 13 picks
Putting up a similar stat line, and bringing the Steelers back to the playoffs, should make Big Ben the odds on favorite at winning Comeback Player of the year at the annual NFL Honors ceremony.
Roethlisberger’s only real competition for the Comeback Player of the Year is Carolina’s Cam Newton. While it’s certainly possible Newton out performs Roethlisberger, it doesn't seem likely with the Panthers having a first year head coach and the loss of Newton’s top target in Greg Olsen. It’s also possible Newton gets moved off the Panther’s roster and has to find chemistry with an entirely new offense, making it harder yet to impress the award voters.
Roethlisberger would also be the first Steeler since Tommy Maddox, in 2002, to win the award. Maddox, if you remember, was who Roethlisberger famously took the starting job from back in 2004.
While one Steeler was snubbed at the 2019 NFL honors, Ben is already the leading candidate for the Comeback Player of the Year in 2020. But will he do it? Let us know what you think in the comments below!