For Steeler Nation, everything has been good news surrounding the Steelers the past two months. That was until Sunday night. After the win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round Antonio Brown went live on Facebook in the locker room.
If you tried to go to Brown’s Facebook page to watch the video it had been removed.
Why is this a problem? It might not have been if it hadn’t been during Mike Tomlin’s post-game speech or if the audio of the speech hadn’t been picked up. Tomlin was in the background calling the Patriots a**holes and saying that they were spotted a day and a half because the Patriots got to play on Saturday and the Steeler game was moved from 1 eastern to the night game on Sunday due to weather.
This story just blew up after that. Should Mike being calling the other team that? Probably not, but are we really doubting that NFL coaches don’t hype up their teams like that every week. If you don’t pay close attention to the Steelers you don’t know that Brown routinely does the live video every week.
Now the media has taken this story and branched it out to new stories, including Antonio Brown’s future in Pittsburgh being “not guaranteed”. Brown is under contract through next season, but it was understood that he was going to be given a worthy giant contract after this season. AB has been the best WR in the league for more than a couple of years now. Not to mention reaching for the goal line to give Pittsburgh the AFC North title this year. Brown has done nothing wrong off the field his whole career. The worst thing he has done on it is dancing after a touchdown.
Like most players in today’s era, Brown is about his brand. On ESPN’s show First Take former Steeler, Ryan Clark spoke about how he feels that Antonio is too self-absorbed. It is hard to disagree that Brown doesn’t love himself and when millions of people tell you that you are awesome every day he has no reason to not think it.
I do feel that the number one priority in AB’s mind should be next week’s game at New England where they are already against the odds. But we don’t know how the man functions. To possibly be the best in the league, a player has to believe it, whether they tell it to the media or not. Potentially Brown tells himself he is the best of the best every snap and that is what motivates him. So if you are going to be upset he did it last week, I hope you were upset in week 1 as well.
Also on ESPN, Jim Trotter spoke out that he believes Pittsburgh isn’t afraid to move on from a player like Antonio Brown and then refers to Santonio Holmes and Mike Wallace. While both were productive receivers in the steel city, neither was close to Brown’s level of importance in the offense.
But thinking that because of one incident that the Steelers would just move on from the best receiver in the league is absolutely ludicrous. Brown has had over 100 catches in 4 consecutive seasons and 10+ touchdowns in each of the last three years. Antonio brings top-notch route running and catching ability every game and proves that he is as reliable as they come, never showing up on the injury report.
The NFL did send out a report saying that the All-Pro WR could have to take a trip to the bank soon as punishment. Here is what the policy says-
“The use of social media by coaches, players, and other club football operations personnel is prohibited on game day (including halftime) beginning 90 minutes before kickoff until after the post-game locker room is open to the media and players have first fulfilled their obligation to be available to the news media who are at the game.”
The funny thing is that like I said before, Brown does this every week.
When Mike Tomlin was asked about the video, he said that it was foolish, inconsiderate and selfish. He also said he will need to grow, but there will be consequences from the team and the league. Ben Roethlisberger joined in on the conversation when talking on his weekly visit to the local radio show 93.7 the Fan. Big Ben said that he is disappointed in the leading receiver and he wished he had been listening to the message their coach had been giving.
Brown did offer a public apology on twitter on Wednesday night. Here is what the message said-
“First, I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I’m sorry for my actions and behavior after Sunday’s game. I let my emotions and genuine excitement get the best of me, and I wanted to share that moment with our fans. It was wrong of me to do, against team and NFL policy, and I apologized to Coach Tomlin and my teammates for my actions. I’m sorry to them for letting it become a distraction and something that they’ve had to answer questions about while we’re preparing for a big game on Sunday.”
With people talking about this being “bulletin board material” for the Patriots, I think this gives motivation for Antonio Brown to show up on Sunday. The Steelers will need him if they want to win and move on to the Super Bowl.
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