Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers had a career-year in 2016. In just 12 games, he posted 1884 yards from scrimmage, and nine total touchdowns. He averaged a ridiculous 157 total yards per game. This was the 4th highest yards from scrimmage per game performance of all time. If Bell would’ve played all 16 games in 2016, he might have been an MVP candidate.
Looking ahead to 2017, he has to be in the MVP picture assuming he stays healthy and out of trouble. Bell has made it very clear he is the best back in the NFL. No other player is able to do all of the things he does, and nobody carries such a workload. His all-around skill level is something that the league has never seen before. Le’Veon Bell truly is a player that can do it all.
No one has ever questioned Bell’s ability to run the ball. His patience in the backfield makes him the most dynamic back in the league, and is creating a new style of running. Le’Veon has recently compared his influence in the NFL to Stephen Curry’s in the NBA.
So much praise is given to Bell’s patience, and not much is credited to his strength. Le’Veon is one of the bigger backs in the league at 6’1 and 225 pounds, giving him the ability to break through a lot of tackles, and at times, truck defenders. Combine that with his agility and quickness, you get the best runner in the NFL.
To go along with his running, Bell is arguably the best pass-catching running back in the league, making him a dual-threat type of player. In 2016, Bell recorded 75 receptions, 616 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns. His receiving numbers did go down throughout the year, as the team decided to primarily use him as a runner. He has shown the ability to be a great threat in the passing game, and teams must prepare for that when facing the Steelers.
As fun as stats are, they don’t matter unless the team wins. Le’Veon Bell was reason the Steelers went 11-5 this past year. He was the reason they made it to the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots. Bell actually turned the whole season around for the Steelers.
The Steelers were 4-5, thinking that their season may be done. Their usual “throw it deep every play” strategy was failing. So, they turned to Le’Veon Bell, and he responded. Throughout the next six weeks he put up 835 rushing yards, 256 receiving yards, and seven total touchdowns, leading the Steelers to a 6-0 record over that span. This type of production from a single player is unheard of, and he continued it into the playoffs.
If Le’Veon continues to do what he did over the last stretch of the 2016 season, he should be in the MVP picture. Without a doubt, he will be the Steelers workhorse and carry them as far as he can take them, hopefully to the Super Bowl. The only real concern about Bell is whether he can stay on the field or not, as he does have a troubled past. Pittsburgh will only go as far as Bell goes, which is a good thing for the Steelers. Le’Veon Bell is a realistic candidate for the 2017 MVP, and he will prove it when he continues to take the league by storm this coming year.