In what amounts to a minor shock, the 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers have elected Antonio Brown as its 2011 MVP. Brown won the award despite not starting until mid-November, and not even leading the team in key receiving categories.
Brown, however, is reputed to be one of the hardest working members on the team, and has shown himself to be an incredible talent during the course of 2011. Brown is learning how to get himself open on key downs, moves well after the catch, and has some of the best hands this team has ever seen.
So congratulations to Antonio Brown.
With that said however, it is hard to argue that Brown really deserved the award, although perhaps its easy to understand how it came to him.
The 2011 Steelers are a team in flux. Veterans like Aaron Smith, Chris Hoke, Bryant McFadden, and yes, Hines Ward, are waning, and younger players are coming to the forefront.
- 2010 Steelers MVP Troy Polamalu has had a fabulous year, but has played much of the year at the line of scrimmage, and hasn’t had the interceptions of a year ago.
- Mike Wallace started the year off gang busters, but saw his production dip on the second half.
- Both James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley have raised hell in opponents back fields, but both men have missed large portions of the season to injury.
The only player that really stands out is Ben Roethlisberger, whose play has been consistent throughout the year, and has shown incredible toughness in playing with injuries that would fell a lesser soul. Roethlisberger won the Steelers MVP award in 2009, and in Steel Curtain Rising’s view, deserved it this year.
My guess is that the voting was spilt pretty evenly, with Brown having the fortue to come out on top.
Marcus Gilbert, James Farrior Also Honored
Second round pick Marcus Gilbert, who stepped in to start after Willie Colon’s season ended because of an injury suffered in the Debacle at Baltimore, won the 2011 Rookie of the Year Award. (Now, someone tell me, when did they stop calling it the PNC Bank Joe Greene Rookie of the Year Award? Dropping the corporate sponsorship is one thing, but Joe Greene is Joe Greene).
The Pittsburgh press Corps also named James Farrior as the 2011 “Chief Award” winner, given to the member of the Steelers locker room who is most cooperative with the media.