COLIN COWHERD: Whitlock– Antonio Brown playing to you for the MVP Sunday?
JASON WHITLOCK: As well he should be. Chris Collinsworth was first in on this. I’m very happy to be second in on this. The guy has a case to be the MVP. Vegas is recognizing it now. People are starting to understand this is a historic season Antonio Brown is in. And it’s reminiscent of the way Jerry Rice once dominated the NFL. And Jerry Rice probably should have got an MVP during his illustrious career. The right thing to do– if Antonio Brown comes out. Because we know Bill Belichick is going to do everything in his power to take Antonio Brown out of this game. And if Antonio Brown manages to have an impact– whether it’s through the return game, whether it’s from the screen game or whatever reverses– whatever they have to do. It’s like Charles Woodson winning the Heisman when he was at Michigan. You know, cornerbacks don’t win the Heisman very often. Antonio Brown is a wide receiver who can win the MVP.
COLIN COWHERD: I just don’t even, for a second, buy it. I don’t think historically receivers are relevant– the Super Bowls and championships I’ve always said, they’re icing on the cake, not the cake. Cake is line play, and quarterback, and coaching. I’ll give you an example. The greatest actors of our time, Marlon Brando, Laurence Olivier, there’s a lot– you know, Jack Nicholson. They’ve had a half dozen bombs each. Brando may have had eight. Why? Because they get the attention, but writers– the great writers in Hollywood history have very few busts. Writers are the keys to movies. If they weren’t, then De Niro would have 40 / 40 hits. But he’s had six or seven poorly written movies with no plot, the arcs don’t meet, and so he’s had busts. Writers control it. Offensive lines control this game. Even Brady can’t do it without an offensive line. But the movie star is the wide receiver. So we do this all the time. We give the running back. And we give the receiver and the return guy credit. This game is fundamentally about a coach on the sidelines and the offensive line. That’s what– and–
JASON WHITLOCK: But Desmond Howard didn’t deserve the MVP of that Super Bowl when he dominated.
COLIN COWHERD: No, I’m not saying they don’t– they can’t be in a game. I’m saying– MVP is for a 16 game season. Antonio Brown is not the most valuable player in this league.
MARK SCHLERETH: Yeah, I think one of the problems that you have with the wide receiver position, like you said– you can’t make a cake out of icing. You’ve got to have some eggs, you got to have some flour, you got to have all those things, right?
TONY GONZALEZ: That’s a very good icing cake.
MARK SCHLERETH: Yeah. [LAUGHS] And just straight icing cake. But, they’re one of the most dependent position, if not the most dependent position on a football field–
COLIN COWHERD: That’s good.
MARK SCHLERETH: –is the wide receiver. So can he be an MVP? Sure. You show me a game this weekend where he has three TDs, 220 yards receiving, and in 12 catches, and Brady gets shut out, and yeah, then we’ll talk. Now we’ll have a new conversation. But until that happens, against Brady and against Belichick, and against the Patriots, I just don’t think is going to happen.
TONY GONZALEZ: Yeah, and I agree with you. I don’t think it’s going to happen. But, look back at the beginning of the season. Remember how much heat we were given Ben Roethlisberger saying, OK, maybe he should retire. Is his head not in it. He’s not playing that well. That’s the reason why this offense isn’t moving at the beginning of the season. Now you look at what he’s been doing– Antonio Brown’s the most targeted receiver in the NFL. OK. He’s leading all categories right now.
MARK SCHLERETH: Well, he should be.
TONY GONZALEZ: And as well he should be. And I agree, I think if you take– who’s more important on the Pittsburgh Steeler Team? If you took Ben Roethlisberger off that team– the backup quarterback– would they still have the same amount of wins? If you took Antonio Brown off there, that’s the way I look at it. Would you still have the same amount of wins? Quarterback is always– that’s why they’re the MVPs, because they control it.
MARK SCHLERETH: Right, yeah. Have Brown’s not even the MVP of his own team. It’s Roethlisberger.
COLIN COWHERD: Well, think about this.
TONY GONZALEZ: You’re wrong.
COLIN COWHERD: Just think about this. In most positions, who is the last 15 years, the greatest left tackle? Jonathan Ogden– most believe. He’s got a Super Bowl. The greatest quarterback, Brady, got Super Bowls. Lawrence Taylor was the greatest pass rusher ever. Reggie White, Super Bowl, Super Bowl. I can name the seven, eight greatest receivers of all time and only Jerry Rice, due to Montana, has Super Bowls. Randy Moss doesn’t have any. Julio Jones doesn’t have any. Calvin Johnson doesn’t have any. I mean– wide receiver– I can name 20 great receivers, 18 don’t have a Super Bowl. You start going to the best quarterback, the best lineman, the best left tackle. They have Super Bowls.
JASON WHITLOCK: Well, listen. And that’s why Jerry Rice was special, because again, he was so dominant at that position. He was a major factor in them winning Super Bowls. And Antonio Brown this year is having a Rice-like season. And Jerry Rice finished second in MVP voting once. Right now Antonio Brown seems to be scheduled to finish second. How can the guy who may finish second in the MVP vote– oh, it’s preposterous for him to win– for him to win MVP. If he’s gonna– if he’s right now slated for second, he’s got to be in the conversation. And if he outplays Tom Brady and a defense set up to stop him this weekend, I just don’t understand how you guys are acting like it’s crazy for this man to be the MVP.
TONY GONZALEZ: It’s like a– back to movies and acting. You know, you have the main– the best supporting actor. He could be best supporting actor. He’s not the main guy. He’s not he’s not Tom Hanks.
COLIN COWHERD: How about–
TONY GONZALEZ: –not that.
COLIN COWHERD: –best supporting MVP?
JASON WHITLOCK: There are three phases to football. Offense, defense, and special teams. There’s a likely chance this man is going to play on special teams this week in the return game. He’s going to be instrumental in two phases of the game. Field position is critical in football. Listen man, we want to reduce football just down to the quarterback. I’m completely against that. Just because every year, we give a Heisman trophy. We get into– its quarterback, quarterback, quarterback. These other positions matter. I know they’ve changed all the rules and everything is dedicated–
COLIN COWHERD: How they do Sean Lee, Luke Kuechly— when they leave, their defenses aren’t the same. You know, I mean what I’m saying is– I agree with you. Great linebacker play, especially a guy like Kuechly who’s a talker. Sean Lee, Shazier– they’re not the same defense without him. What I’m saying is the receiver tends to get so much hype because he is the greatest athlete. He is on an island. He makes spectacular play. The left tackle– Tyron Smith left the Cowboys, couldn’t get a first down. He returned, Zeke’s still not there. They’re winning games.
JASON WHITLOCK: Then what this guy has been doing with his feet on the sidelines is special.
TONY GONZALEZ: It is.
JASON WHITLOCK: It’s–
COLIN COWHERD: Yeah, I’m not denying that.
JASON WHITLOCK: –different. Not everybody can do that, and it makes a difference.
MARK SCHLERETH: If he can line up at corner and intercept Tom Brady, I’ll give it to you.
I need him in all three phases.
All three phases.
Source: Fox Sports