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Le’Veon Bell predicts James Conner will break Steelers’ TD record for a RB

Larry Brown Sports logo Larry Brown Sports 4/17/2019 Jason Lisk, Larry Brown Sports
a close up of a man in a baseball game © Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers put out a question on Twitter asking how many touchdowns James Conner would score in 2019. A prominent former Steeler weighed in with an answer. Le’Veon Bell is drawing some praise for not holding grudges and supporting a former teammate with his response.

I’m going to be that guy, though, and point out that Bell’s career high for touchdowns in a season in Pittsburgh was 11 (2014 and 2017). Conner had 13 touchdowns in 13 games a year ago. So, sure, if Conner slightly exceeds that rate and stays healthy, it could happen. Over the last decade, 11 running backs have scored at least 17 touchdowns, so that’s roughly one per year across the entire league.

The lesson here is that you do not want to take fantasy advice from Bell or fail to account for regression. Do you know how many running backs in the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers have scored 17 touchdowns in a season?

Zero.

You would also probably never guess that the Steelers running back with the most in a single season was Willie Parker, with 16 in 2006.

So yes, it’s admirable that Bell thinks Conner is going to set the franchise record for a Steelers running back in his absence. It would take a lot of things, like good fortune, the right circumstances, a full season of healthy play, and no collapse from other members of the offense, to set that up. The better answer would have been something along the lines of “10,” but then it probably isn’t worth the grief and the discussion on Twitter for Bell to explain how reality works.

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