Benny Snell came in pretty hard as a rookie selected in the fourth round, talking about bringing his brand of Benny Snell Football to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It got people excited, and it works as a brand name, but it quickly became obvious that expectations had to be tempered.
As he progressed through the year, he even talked about not wanting to use the phrase before because to some people it came off as cocky when it was meant to be all in fun. Now that he’s back out on the field and performing well, however, his teammates—and especially head coach Mike Tomlin—are talking up his brand.
You know Tomlin is a sucker for any type of nickname or phrase he can use to get to his players, and he latched on to Benny Snell Football, using it all the time in practice. After Sunday’s game, during which he rushed for 98 yards and had over 100 yards from scrimmage for the first time in his career, he was seen in the background searching out the back and yelling “Benny Snell Football!” at him.
Missi Matthews asked him about all of that and how it’s been evolving with his usage, with his teammates also embracing it. “It makes me feel good”, he told her. “With them being able to say that, they know it gives me motivation. It motivates me to run harder and just keep the chains moving. That’s what I like to do”.
One of the primary features of Benny Snell Football that he talked about way back in the offseason was the ability to run out the clock and close games. That is exactly what he did for the Steelers on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, and frankly that’s something they had been missing pretty much all year.
Despite being fresh off a knee injury that cost him several games, Snell was the Steelers’ lead runner and played about half the snaps, getting 21 carries in a backfield split between four running backs. He could have an even bigger share of the workload tomorrow.
One thing that he did well aside from just running the ball was working in pass protection, an area in which the other running backs had been struggling in James Conner’s absence while he misses time with a shoulder injury.
That alone should get him more snaps. He told Matthews that he felt he earned more trust from the team and the coaches, showing them that they can leave him out there on the field in more situations and know that he can get the job done.