Even Yinzers might have a hard time buying this one, but according to an NFL.com list from Adam Rank, the current roster of the Pittsburgh Steelers features the best offensive ‘tag team’ of skill position players in the history of the NFL in the Super Bowl era.
You can guess who the tag team is, I’m sure. Wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell are both first-team All-Pros if they actually manage to get through seasons healthy, and it can easily be argued for either one that they are the best at their position.
Heck, an argument can be made for either one that they are the best skill position player in the league, and their primary competition in that discussion may end up being one another. The Steelers are extremely fortunate to have two extraordinary talents at two such fundamentally important positions, especially when you take into consideration Bell’s versatile skill set—after all, he is.
Says Rank about his choice, “I know: Hipster pick. But over the past two years, Bell has averaged 101.3 rushing yards per game and Brown 100.6 receiving yards per game. They are the first teammates in NFL history to average over 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards over a two-year span. They win”.
And frankly they do win a lot of games, at least when both of them are on the field at the same time, with Ben Roethlisberger in as well. The trio is an awfully hard one to beat when they are all rolling at the same time.
In case you were wondering what sort of competition they beat out, Rank had the 49ers’ Jerry Rice and Roger Craig second on his list, with Barry Sanders and Herman Moore coming in third. I think it’s easy to guess who was carrying most of the load in those two pairings, as Rice and Sanders may literally be the greatest wide receiver and running back of all time, respectively.
Fourth on the list was Marshall Faulk and Torry Holt of the Rams, while Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin rounded out the top five. Smith and Irvin, along with quarterback Troy Aikman, are often viewed as the greatest set of offensive triplets over a career of all time. They all came into the league in three consecutive drafts.
There is certainly a lot of things to debate about this list, from the inclusion or exclusion of this or that combination or specific player, or even the very purpose of the list itself, and the qualifications of the individual making the list.
But at the very least it serves as yet another example of the sort of accolades that the Steelers’ skill players are receiving, and for good reason. The numbers that they have put up in recent years have been truly extraordinary.