Is Ben Having An MVP Season?

If Ben Roethlisberger isn't the Steelers', or the league's, Most Valuable Player, he's certainly been the most impressive, says's Mark Kaboly.

Troy Polamalu very well could win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. If not him, we could argue that James Harrison deserves it.

It's a virtual lock that one of the two will be voted on by their teammates for the team MVP later this month.

Polamalu has been absolutely dynamic, directly helping his team to a couple of wins with his play alone. The sacks, the forced fumbles, the interceptions, the touchdowns, the leadership – all are good reasons to vote for him.

Ditto goes for Harrison and what he's meant to the defense and team.

But for my liking, I'd choose somebody else.

The team MVP is Ben Roethlisberger.

The numbers support such a selection.

Last year when he won the award, Roethlisberger completed 66 percent of his passes for 4,328 yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while adding 82 yards rushing as the Steelers imploded down the stretch and missed the playoffs.

This year the team is 10-3, is in line to win a division title, and his stats are comparable to those of last year.

Projected out over 16 games, Roethlisberger would finish with 4,152 yards, 23 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and a 62 percent completion rate while rushing for 222 yards.

Numbers don't tell the entire story. But, seriously, who cares about the numbers anyways? Where did the numbers get Dan Marino? Where did the numbers get Dan Fouts?

Roethlisberger is the MVP of this team because of the other stuff.

Yes, ALL the other stuff.

He played with a bum foot in the most important game of the year and added a karate chop to the face in the first series that made his nose look like "corn flakes," and they won.

He has taken slaps to the helmet, face-washes and late hits and has gotten up every time and went about his business and won. He has played in front of an offensive line that probably isn't much better than North Allegheny's, when you really think about it, and that hasn't slowed him down one bit as he led them to wins.

What has been so impressive with Roethlisberger that really should get more attention, and is probably the main reason why he's the Steelers' MVP, at least in my eyes, is that other, other stuff.

Nobody in the history of this league has had to deal with what Roethlisberger has this year. Of course, it was all brought on by himself, but that doesn't diminish the fact that it was a major issue that he had to overcome.

The scrutiny in the months after his alleged incident in Georgia was brutal. All the talk of him either being traded or released because of his actions was over the top after that. Then you had the sit-down interviews, training camp, and the month suspension to deal with followed by the return and so on and so forth.

Every word was, and still is, scrutinized. Every action has been studied. Every movement has been watched.

In Baltimore just a few weeks ago, the game didn't even start yet before the fans started to chant "no means no."

And who in the world knows what Roethlisberger has to deal with from opponents on the field about his shady past? Just imagine what some of the fans at away stadiums must say to him.

Imagine what some may say to him when he's out and about around the city?

Through it all, he has not only been able to play at a high level, he's been able to do it with a smile.

The smile may just be a façade for fools, such as me, in the media, but the man has done every single thing right since that now infamous press conference in the middle of the Steelers' locker room where he looked the part of a child-molesting scumbag rather than a two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback.

He's engaging, he's friendly, and he genuinely seems like he's trying to do the right thing. He never turns down an interview request, which is a big difference from his ways in the past. Every single week the opposing city's media asks for Roethlisberger on the conference call and he obliges.

The most important thing is that we haven't heard any other off-the-field incidents with the man, and believe me, if there were any, we would hear about it.

A lot of us wanted to see if the man could behave himself over period of time before we make a final judgment. We are getting close to that point in time.

It just has to be taxing to make sure you don't put yourself in any kind of precarious position that could be considered out of line, all while quarterbacking at a high level one of the best and most popular teams in the NFL.

To me, that's a lot more impressive than returning an interception for a touchdown, forcing a fumble or sacking a quarterback.

If not the most valuable, there's nobody on the Steelers who is having a more impressive season … on and off the field.

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