Who will be the team MVP for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020? Last season it was outside linebacker T.J. Watt and Around the NFL writer Dan Hanzus predicted in his latest post that the Steelers former first-round draft pick out of Wisconsin will repeat that feat in 2020.
In his recent post on NFL.com, Hanzus attempted to predict the 2020 MVPs of every AFC team and for the Steelers it’s Watt. Below is his reasoning for doing so.
Let the history books note 2019 as the season the Greatest Watt In The NFL crown was passed from J.J. to T.J. It was a remarkable year for the Steelers linebacker, who ranked in the top five in the NFL in sacks, tackles for loss, quarterback hits, forced fumbles and fumble recoveries. He was a playmaking machine who might have been an even better choice than Stephon Gilmore for Defensive Player of the Year. The Watt-led Pittsburgh defense is the only reason the 2019 Steelers didn’t become a league doormat when Ben Roethlisberger was lost to a season-ending elbow injury in Week 2. Big Ben is healthy, but questions will persist about the offense until we see him in action. We already know what we’ll get from Watt: dominance.
Predicting Watt at the Steelers 2020 team MVP isn’t a bad move on the part of Hanzus. After all, Watt is currently listed at 12/1 odds to win the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year Award on MyBookie.ag. While I have no qualms about Hanzus predicting Watt to be the Steelers team MVP in 2020, I think the smart money should be on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger, who is set to return in 2020 after missing most of the 2019 season due to a serious elbow injury that required surgery, is currently the favorite on MyBookie.ag to win the 2020 AP Comeback Player of the Year Award at 5/2 odds. If he stays healthy and ultimately leads the Steelers back to the playoffs in 2020, it’s hard to imagine his teammates not voting him MVP.
Surprisingly, Roethlisberger has been voted team MVP just once in his 16 years in the NFL with the Steelers and that was in 2009. That year, Roethlisberger had a record-setting season, becoming the first quarterback in Steelers’ history to throw for 4,000 yards in a season. He completed 337 of 506 passes (66.6 percent) for 4,328 yards, 26 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 100.5 passer-rating.
Roethlisberger has set several Steelers’ passing records for a single season in 2009 in addition to throwing for his 4,000 yards, including the team’s single-season record for completions (337), passing yards in a single game (503) and 300-yard passing games in a season (five). He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 15 when he completed 29 of 46 passes (63.0 percent) for 503 yards, three touchdowns and a 121.9 passer-rating during a last-second 37-36 win over the Green Bay Packers.
If, however, Hanzus is correct in his prediction of Watt being the Steelers MVP in 2020, it will mark the first time that defensive player has won the annual team award since outside linebacker James Harrison accomplished the feat in 2007 and 208. In those two seasons, Harrison had 24 combined sacks, 14 combined forced fumbles and two combined interceptions.
Last season, Watt won the team MVP award after registering 14.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles and two interceptions. It’s easy to see him duplicating or bettering those numbers in 2020 if he stays healthy.