Who’s more valuable to the Steelers – Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell

The Steelers have been one of the most historical and respected teams the NFL has ever had. With 6 championships and 22 division championships. Pittsburgh has had its share of great players evidently. Carrying around legendary players like Rod Woodson, Franco Harris, and Jack Lambert in the NFL Hall of Fame, they have some great proud history – and the team expects passion and skill on their team.
All Pittsburgh has been built on for so many years, has been their winning ways and legendary team history. And they have always valued great players, valued connections – and really have always valued great combinations. Here, over the last 3 years, the Steelers have had 2 guys in particular that catch huge amounts of love and cheers from Pittsburgh and their fan base. Both Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown are both enormously valuable for the Steelers – but there has to be one who is the true cog in the team’s success. Who is it? Obviously with either one of these great players there is not an obvious right or wrong answer – but let’s examine.
The 28 year old veteran – small framed Antonio Brown has been nothing but outstanding for Pittsburgh over the last 4 years in particular. Having individual games of 284 YDs, numerous 17+ target games, and 3 TD games – what is there not to like about the steady 1400 YD receiver? These crazy numbers all coming from a guy who was picked very late – after 21 other WRs were selected – the 195th overall pick, he has been nothing short of awesome.
Antonio Brown is easily one of the top 2-3 WRs in the NFL today. Behind only Julio Jones and maybe one could argue for Odell Beckham – Brown truly is a remarkable talent. His exceptional chemistry with his QB, Ben Roethlisberger, is brilliant. They seem to have a silent mental link where Ben knows where Antonio is when needed, and Brown knows when to cut back to help bail out his QB when he needs it.
In the 2015 season, when Roethlisberger wasn’t always throwing the ball to him, as he missed 4 games – Brown had the amazing skills that year to find a way to get an obscene 1834 YDs. He only put up 17 catches and just 235 YDs in the 4 games where Ben was not playing. The Steelers were still 3-1 in those games, based simply on the threat that Brown brings to the table.
In the modern NFL game the WR is openly becoming the most important position for NFL teams, behind only the QB. With the top WRs getting 90+ catches and 1400+ YDs in a season – where QBs are often throwing the ball 560+ times during the year, it’s hard to conceptualize the importance of the WR position. They are the homerun hitters – they are the game breakers. Antonio Brown has had more of his share of those magical moments for Pittsburgh. They can and they will break your back with a big game breaking play. They have the flash and the well documented diva attitude on the field – where fans go crazy for them and opponents seethe with annoyance – hoping their DB can keep them contained. He has snapped his share of backs this season – with twenty two big 20+ YD plays.
Le’Veon Bell has an astounding and unique running style and is becoming a blossoming game changing player, he has a special skill set that is honestly off the charts. With eagle-like vision, inhuman patience and soft hands, Bell brings a great amount of skills to the Steelers organization. The 230lb RB sits at the head of the conversation as the best RB in the league.
Of course, Le’Veon is also very dependent on his very solid Oline. His running style is based off letting the Oline do their job. If they were a bad Oline – how much would it really shake him? His skill level is exceptionally high and Bell can make LBs miss in open field, those are things that are extremely important and rare. But would Le’Veon still be getting 1700 YDs on the ground? An additional 75 receptions and 2-3 receiving TDs are tough to account for. Also when Bell hasn’t played – Pittsburgh still has a win/loss record of 10-4 over the last 3 years. They have found ways to function and still be very successful. They have almost been able to accept not having him on the field for a numerous amount of reasons in Pittsburgh.
The RB importance is also getting even more significant – and they have begun to switch into dual threat weapons that carry the ball 16-19 times/game, and are expected to also grab 5-6 balls in the air, those kinds of guys are very special to have on your team. Le’Veon is one of those very rare guys. It isn’t just about running the game out anymore, it is about distributing the ball – putting the ball on the ground when needed, and pick up the 4-5 yards outs and swing passes and grab the unaccountable 50-60 extra YDs. Being that RBs jobs aren’t to just run the ball 25 times in game anymore – it makes them that much more valuable and important to their teams. They are more than just the cowbell RB today.
What does this tell us?
Brown is the more valuable player for Pittsburgh because of his field presence and big play capabilities that he brings to the field every week. Brown has twenty two 20+ yard plays this season, to Bell’s 6 big plays, as well as 7 games of 100 or more YDs, Bell has also put up 7 games of 100 or more, but there is no single DB that feels calm or comfortable when staring down the WR from Central Michigan. Brown brings more of a constant big YD threat – teams are always on the backpedal watching for #84. He is going to always find his way to get his immense amounts of targets and teams know the double team is a necessity. With 9 TDs and 1296 receiving YDs – which is currently tops in the league, he is simply AB84 to many.
The skills of Antonio Brown are literally irreplaceable for Pittsburgh. So at the end of the day Antonio Brown has shown why he is the best man in Pittsburgh for the title of pure value.

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