With the NFL’s top 100 well under way, we here at Real Sport thought we would give you our own version; The RS 100. Every writer here had the chance to vote for the 100 best players from the 2015 season. This ranking was done regardless of position value or salary cap cost. It was simply based on who had the best 2015 season. As a result you won’t see quality players like Jordy Nelson anywhere on our ranking as he didn’t play a single snap in the 2015 season.
Voting panel: Toby Durant, Remy Cabache, Cameron Tennyson, Rebecca Rennie, Daniel Hernandez, David Pruett, Ryan Tolster
Antonio Brown, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers
(TD: #3, RC: #11, CT: #3, RR: #8, DH: #6, DP: #6, RT: #5)
Antonio Brown is the fourth and final receiver to make the top20 and he is the thirteenth to make the top 100, but it isn’t hard to see why he is the pick of the bunch.
The Steelers offense was once again one of the most consistently productive and explosive offenses in the NFL, at least when Ben Roethlisberger was playing. Even when he wasn’t, the vast amount of playmakers in the Steelers offense meant they could absolutely hold their own against opponent. However, even with the surrounding talent, Brown was atop the Steelers go-to list and the defenses must-stop list. That didn’t mean they could, though.
By the seasons end he racked up 136 catches for 1834 yards and 10 touchdowns. That is an average of 8.5 catches for 114.6 yards a game, which is monstrous. Admittedly, Julio Jones had the same number of catches and 37 more yards, but he didn’t have as many touchdowns and he wasn’t nearly the same threat in special teams. Brown is potentially the best punt returner in the NFL. Very few other returners, if any, strike as much fear into a special team’s player as Antonio Brown. On his 22 returns, he had 212 yards and one touchdown, and though that is not his best production, it’s not exactly bad either. His one touchdown, was special though…
In addition, Jones also didn’t have to deal with what Brown did, Brown had to adapt to three different starting QB’s: Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick and Landry Jones. The latter two significantly held back the Steelers passing game, yet Brown still found a way to produce.
Furthermore, Brown had two games which were truly breath-taking. The first came against Raiders in Week 9, in which he had 17 catches for 284 yards. Though he didn’t get a touchdown, he completely took over that game and dominated everyone that tried to cover him. Then, against the Broncos and supposedly two of the best cornerbacks in the game, he had 16 catches for another 189 and two touchdowns, both of which came against Chris Harris who hadn’t given one up in 2 calendar years. The second of which was the game winner…
Apart from his dominance, a testament to his skill and importance to the Steelers, without him in the AFC Divisional Round game against the Broncos, the Steelers were clearly not the same team without him.