Most Valuable Player. Defensive Player of the Year. Offensive and defensive rookie of the year. These are severely of the NFL awards for individual performances. One of said awards that was not listed already is Comeback Player of the Year which the NFL has awarded every season since 1998.
To win the Comeback Player of the Year in the NFL, one must overcome adversity from the previous season to perform at a high-level for the year. Players may not necessarily be returning from injury as they may just make a large jump in production.
According to the odds makers at BetOnline, Ben Roethlisberger has the best chance of winning Comeback Player of the Year in 2020. At 5/2 odds, Roethlisberger is almost twice as likely as the next closest player. The following players are the most likely to win Comeback Player of the Year according to BetOnline:
Ben Roethlisberger 5/2
Rob Gronkowski 9/2
J.J. Watt 5/1
A.J. Green 6/1
Nick Foles 6/1
Cam Newton 8/1
Matthew Stafford 8/1
Myles Garrett 12/1
Antonio Brown 20/1
Of the nine players listed above, four are quarterbacks. Historically, a quarterback is given the award more than half of the time as they have been 13 of the 23 winners. The reason there are 23 winners in 22 seasons is because the award was given to two players in 2005 when both Steve Smith and Teddy Bruschi were both selected.
Two players on the list— Rob Gronkowski and Matthew Stafford— have previously won the award. Gronkowski won in 2014 while Stafford won in 2011. The only player who has won the Comeback Player of the Year multiple times was quarterback Chad Pennington with the New York Jets in 2006 and the Miami Dolphins in 2008.
Gronkowski also fits into the category of a player who did not miss the previous season due to injury but rather retirement. Myles Garrett has a chance to win the award after being suspended for a large portion of 2019 after his vicious attack on Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph. The other non-injury player on the list is former Steelers’ wide receiver Antonio Brown who only appeared in one game in 2019 with the New England Patriots due to various legal problems. For 2019, the recipient of the award— quarterback Ryan Tannehill— won the award not due to injury the previous season but poor play for a different team.
With Ben Roethlisberger being the front runner for 2020, the biggest thing he needs to do to win the award is have a productive season. While winning Comeback Player of the Year would not do anything for the Steelers, it would mean Roethlisberger‘s production and the Steelers success on the football field was noteworthy. If this is the case, both Roethlisberger, the Steelers, and all of us fans in Steelers’ Nation will be the real winners.