By now, Antonio Brown’s greatly exaggerated postgame locker room filming stunt has been discussed in the national media ad nauseum, which is commonplace for ESPN and other national sports media entities when it comes to semi-controversial NFL news that honestly doesn’t matter whatsoever. ESPN has already established that is priorities in coverage are ass-backwards, but it has also been revealed over the course of the past week that Mike Tomlin’s priorities are screwed up, as well.
Steelers HC Mike Tomlin on Patriots: "We spotted those assholes a day and a half…so be it. We'll be ready for their ass." pic.twitter.com/MB4kLwVgIz
— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) January 16, 2017
With the Pittsburgh Steelers set to take on the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, the biggest game of the year thus far for the Steelers, Tomlin chose not to sweep the silly filming incident under the rug (which is what most head coaches would do) and instead chose to publicly dress down his best player (Brown) for it. Tomlin has garnered his fair share of criticism in the past for going against the grain. From the notorious kick return incident to chirping at opposing fans to acting more like a cheerleader on the sideline than a coach, Tomlin is not your grandfather’s NFL head coach. But, even with his uniqueness factored in, the way that Tomlin handled this taping incident is appalling.
Make no mistake: Tomlin has paid his dues in Pittsburgh. Serving as the head coach for nearly a decade now in the Steel City, Tomlin has a Super Bowl title under his belt and commands respect from his players. However, the Steelers have, overall, fallen short of expectations in recent seasons, never seeming to establish themselves as a legitimate Super Bowl contender since losing Super Bowl XLV. Tomlin has frequently been at the center of hot seat discussions during that stretch, which is understandable, since the Steelers are one of the NFL’s elite franchises and are accustomed to winning…a lot.
And if Tomlin has anyone to thank for still having his job with the Steelers, it’s Brown. There isn’t a single non-quarterback in the NFL more important to his team than Brown is to the Steelers. The best playmaker in football, Brown has carried the Steelers through lackluster, injury/suspension-filled times these fast few seasons. So for Tomlin to publicly scold him for taping a postgame locker room speech, which players have been known to do in the past, and go so far as to fine him $10,000 is ridiculous.
Antonio Brown got fined $10K by the Steelers for his Facebook Live video last week, @JayGlazer reports.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) January 22, 2017
Of course, the plot thickened when it made headlines that the reasoning behind the Facebook Live stunt was Brown’s never-before-disclosed six-figure deal with Facebook, but that’s essentially beside the point. Now that’s it drawn a firestorm of criticism from media members, Brown will definitely never do it again, so why openly castigate him for it if you’re his head coach?
The most pathetic part of Tomlin’s over-the-top outrage concerning the incident was his statement: “I think that’s often times why you see great players move around from team to team. I definitely don’t want that to be his story.” That’s laughable. Brown is hands down the Steelers’ most valuable commodity. On the other hand, Tomlin isn’t very valuable at all. Coaches in today’s NFL not named Bill Belichick are a dime a dozen. Superstar wide receivers that can practically single-handedly win games aren’t. So implying that Brown could get moved because he undermined a washed-up head coach is hilariously absurd. Especially since he’s literally the only star Steeler without off-field character issues.
And here’s the crux of why this situation is so overblown that it’s sad. The actual postgame speech by Tomlin wasn’t anything of substance. He said what literally every coach says when building up his team’s next game. He called the Pats “assholes” and other meaningless nonsense. Of course, ESPN (the king of starting shit) acted like that was a big deal and assumed that it would be added motivation for New England. But it almost certainly didn’t because, again, every head coach says things like that.
So why does it even matter that Brown filmed it? It’s not like the speech revealed the Steelers’ gameplan. It was composed of literally nothing of any substance. Whatever. I hope it was worth creating an in-house divide and tearing apart your best player prior to the biggest game of the season, Coach Tomlin. Have fun getting your ass kicked by the Patriots tonight. And, when that inevitably happens, don’t think that it has anything to do with the leaked footage of your stupid speech. If anything, it has to do with you being a vindictive jackass. Oh, and don’t be mad when you get fired a few years from now and Antonio Brown is still a certified superstar for the Steelers. Because that’s also inevitable. Again, I hope it was worth it.