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Star receiver Brown named Steelers' MVP for 3rd time in 5 years

| Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, 1:36 p.m.

Antonio Brown voted for himself for team MVP.

Oh, yeah, and he voted for Ben Roethlisberger as well.

“I voted for 84 and 7,” Brown said. “I think that's between me and Ben — 24/7 (it's about) 84 and 7, it could've went either way.”

It went Brown's way (again). It went against Roethlisberger (again).

Brown became a three-time winner Wednesday of the award voted on by his teammates, joining Rod Woodson, Jerome Bettis and Hines Ward as the only players who have won team MVP three times.

Roethlisberger won his only MVP seven years ago.

“Ben's only had it once? I didn't know that,” guard Ramon Foster said. “That's tough.”

This time, apparently, Brown was a slam-dunk choice over Roethlisberger even though Brown's numbers took a serious downturn when Roethlisberger was out a month with a knee injury.

“He's AB, man,” linebacker Arthur Moats said. “He got my vote. That was easy.”

It's hard to make a valid argument against Brown on what he meant to the Steelers this year.

Brown ranks second in the NFL in receptions (123), receiving yards (1,647) and receiving yards per game (109.8) heading into Sunday's season-finale against the Browns.

Brown also set the NFL record for most receptions in any three consecutive seasons (362), and he became the first player in NFL history to record two games with 16 or more receptions in a season.

Then there was that 16-catch game against the Broncos and the 17-catch game against the Raiders, which he established a Steelers' single-game record in receptions, yards and scrimmage yards when he gained 284 receiving yards and 306 total yards.

“It's obviously humbling with this being a team game, and it takes more than one guy to will the team to win,” Brown said. “I am just thankful the guys choose me.”

If there was one glaring statistic that pointed toward Roethlisberger over Brown, it would be Brown's production when Roethlisberger was out with a knee injury.

It wasn't Brown-like at all.

In the games Roethlisberger started or played the majority of the game, Brown averaged 9.6 catches, 128.4 yards and recorded all nine of his touchdowns. In the four games Roethlisberger didn't start and either Mike Vick or Landry Jones did, Brown averaged 4.3 catches, 58.8 yards and no touchdowns.

“With those two, it's a hard deal,” linebacker Jarvis Jones said.

“You just have to throw it up in the air and pick one.”

Despite missing four full games and parts of three others, Roethlisberger has thrown for 3,500 yards, 18 touchdowns and compiled a passer rating of 93.7. He put together four consecutive 300-yard games and threw for 456 against the stingy Seattle defense.

“He means everything,” Brown said of Roethlisberger. “He's our leader and the guy who distributes the ball. I can't catch the ball unless he throws it. Anytime you have a quarterback like Ben, you know there will be opportunities to make plays.”

Brown is second in the NFL in 20- and 25-yard catches and is either first or second in a dozen offensive categories.

“Opposing defenses are trying to take him away every single week and to put up the numbers that he put up was very impressive,” tight end Heath Miller said.

Being double covered may have put Brown over the top when it comes to his teammates. Other than Richard Sherman in Seattle and a little bit in San Diego when Vick was the quarterback, Brown has faced constant double teams.

“Every week he comes into a game and the guys are doubling in,” Moats said. “For him to put up those kinds of numbers, you know the type of caliber of player he is.”

Foster echoed Moats' sentiments.

“You are looking at a guy who has this type of season without having the starting quarterback all season and he's No. 2 in receiving yards,” Foster said.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown leaves the field after a 20-17 loss to the Ravens on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Baltimore.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown catches a pass as the Ravens' Will Hill III defends during the second quarter Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Baltimore.
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