You could make a fairly convincing case that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is coming off the best season of his career if you use the right stats. After all, he threw for the most yards and touchdowns of his entire career and joined the still fairly exclusive 5000-yard passing club. Doing things you’ve never done before, or which few have, is still impressive no matter how you slice it.
However, that hasn’t afforded him much love when it comes to the early betting lines on who will be the Most Valuable Player in the NFL in 2019. In fact, he didn’t even make the top 10 of the most likely candidates, though he did just miss it.
— The Duel (@TheDuelSports) May 15, 2019
According to FanDuel, Roethlisberger is starting out 11th in terms of the odds of winning the league’s MVP award. As should be no surprise, the top 12 players listed are all quarterbacks, although four of the next five are all running backs, led by Christian McCaffrey.
Predictably, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes is currently the odds-on favorite to repeat as the MVP, coming off a season in which he became the second player ever to throw for over 5000 yards with 50 touchdown passes, nearly reaching the Super Bowl in doing so.
Rounding out the top five are Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, Drew Brees with the New Orleans Saints, the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, and finally Aaron Rodgers with the Green Bay Packers. Of course there are some repeat award winners in there.
But number six on the list is…the Cleveland Browns’ Baker Mayfield. Listed five spots higher than Roethlisberger for the odds of winning the MVP award. Mayfield had a very good rookie season, his 27 touchdown passes setting a new rookie record, but his being listed with the sixth-best odds of winning the MVP award might be the clearest sign of getting ahead of ourselves with the Browns that I’ve seen yet.
Last season, Roethlisberger completed 452 of 675 pass attempts, or 67 percent, for 5129 yards and 34 touchdowns, though he also threw 16 interceptions. Most of those numbers—all but the touchdowns and the completion percentage—led the NFL.
Duplicating those numbers without Antonio Brown on the field will be very difficult, but that also includes the 16 interceptions. The vast majority of the interceptions that he threw came when he was targeting Brown.