Le’Veon Bell was recently named Pittsburgh Steelers MVP for the 2016 season. He undoubtedly showed his true value to the team as it is unlikely they make the playoffs without him.
Making the Case: Why Le’Veon Bell Should Be League MVP
Despite missing the first three games of the season, Bell has rushed for 1,268 yards and seven touchdowns to go along with 75 receptions for 616 yards and another two scores. That works out to 1,884 total yards and nine total touchdowns. These numbers, however aren’t adjusted to what they would have been with an additional three games. Bell averaged 105.7 yards rushing per game and a rushing score every other game and 51.3 yards receiving per game. Adjusting to these numbers, Bell would’ve had 317 more rushing yards and 154 more receiving yards, along with one more score if he kept the same average all year. That adds up to 1,585 yards rushing and eight scores to go along with 770 more receiving yards. Do the math, that’s well over 2,000 scrimmage yards, 2,355 yards to be exact. The full line would be 2,355 total yards along with ten total touchdowns, one of the top seasons in NFL history.
Enough with what COULD have been. The fact of the matter is that Bell missed the first three games and still killed it. While he had good stats during his first handful of games, he proved truly valuable during the winning streak that propelled Pittsburgh into the playoffs. He showed his value when the team really needed him to. During the team’s winning streak, he rushed for 835 yards and seven touchdowns in addition to 256 yards and an important score against the Baltimore Ravens on Christmas Day that helped them win the AFC North division.
It is evident to how valuable he is to the team, however, when he doesn’t play. In the week three 34-3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Bell didn’t play and the offense could not get going, finishing with 29 rushing yards and only 251 yards total. His absence was also felt in the season finale against the Cleveland Browns. Bell wasn’t suspended for this game, but he was held out for rest along with Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger. The offense was sloppy and inconsistent in the close win, and Landry Jones did not have the security blanket that Bell is. The running game was also lackluster mustering only 67 yards rushing.
Bell is also valuable in something that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, pass protection. He’s very good at picking up blitzes and protecting the quarterback. A particular play that comes to mind is the game-winning touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens. On the play, the offensive line slides to the right, giving Terrell Suggs a clear path to the quarterback. Bell notices this and steps in the way to prevent Suggs from getting there, and Ben Roethlisberger was able to throw the touchdown.
Le’Veon Bell does not have the best stats. Another thing going against him is that he doesn’t play the quarterback position. But last time I checked, the award isn’t called Best Stats or Most Popular Quarterback. The award is called Most Valuable Player, and between his rushing, receiving, and blocking abilities, Le’Veon Bell has proven to be truly valuable.