The MVP race is an interesting one this season in the NFL. The season-ending injury to Eagles QB Carson Wentz — considered by many a front-runner for the award — threw a wrench into the discussion last week, as did subpar games from two other quarterbacks in contention: Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. One name popping up of late is Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who has been dominant for a Pittsburgh team at the top of the AFC. Brown has 99 catches for 1,509 yards and nine touchdowns already, with six games of at least 144 yards. If Brown were a running back, his MVP potential would be unchallenged.
But a wide receiver has never won the award. Voted on through the Associated Press, the award almost always goes to a quarterback or running back. The only two players ever to win it that were not a quarterback or running back were Redskins kicker Mark Moseley in the strike-ridden 1982 season and Vikings defensive tackle Alan Page in 1971.
Fellow wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said Brown is a good choice to change that.
“I definitely believe so,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t think there is anybody who is as dominant as he is in the game right now. He’s playing at an extremely high level. He single-handedly has won or put his team in position to win three or four games this year. What he does in terms of creating mismatches for his teammates, you can’t value that enough. When he is getting double-teamed, someone else is getting singled. Guys are taking advantage. Ju-Ju (Smith-Schuster) is having a big year, and I’m not saying he’s not a great player, but when you have an Antonio Brown, you know where the focus is going to be.
“(Brown) has been dominant when he’s had his opportunities. Nobody has been more dominant.”
Tags: Antonio Brown, Larry Fitzgerald
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Patrick Peterson is one of four finalists for the cover of Madden ’16, and the window for voting is a small one. It’s also not a straight vote; it includes signing on to Madden NFL Mobile (all the details can be found here.) Peterson joins Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown as the four candidates.
The Cardinals have had one Madden cover boy previously — Larry Fitzgerald shared the honor with Steelers safety Troy Polamalu on Madden ’10.
Tags: Antonio Brown, Madden, Odell Beckham, Patrick Peterson, Rob Gronkowski
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Back in the 2012 Pro Bowl, Larry Fitzgerald — at the height of there-is-no-Pro-Bowl-defense-being-played — had three touchdown catches. The last was a 36-yarder in which Fitz easily beat Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. Brown had somehow talked his way into playing cornerback in a game the AFC was dominating at the time. You can see the TD at about the 49-second mark of this video here.
In itself, a forgettable play in a meaningless Pro Bowl. But then this week, former NFL coach Wade Phillips was doing a radio interview in Houston. With the Steelers playing the Texans this week, Brown became a topic of conversation with Phillips. And Phillips happened to be one of the coaches for Brown in that 2012 Pro Bowl. Phillips noted Brown wasn’t a very good defensive back.
“The first pass, he breaks it up, you know, makes a great play,” Phillips told SportsRadio 610. I said, ‘Wow this guy is a pretty good corner.’ The next play the guy torches him for about 40 yards. He just stands there and watches the guy catch the ball for a 40-yard touchdown. He comes off the field and I said, ‘Antonio what are you doing?’ He said, ‘Coach, he gave me five hundred dollars if I let him catch one.’ ”
Phillips never mentions any names, but it isn’t hard to figure out Fitzgerald was the receiver on the play. Now, I find it hard to think Fitz would pay $500 to catch a Pro Bowl TD, because for all the millions he has made, Fitz and his cash do not part easily. But I asked Fitz. He had not heard that story was going around. And he laughed at the idea, saying it wasn’t true.
“It’d cost a lot more than $500 for a touchdown,” Fitzgerald said, chuckling.
Tags: Antonio Brown, Larry Fitzgerald
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