The Steelers escaped Kansas City on Sunday night with an 18-16 win in their Divisional Round matchup with the Chiefs to set up an AFC Championship matchup with the Patriots.
After the game, a fired up Mike Tomlin stood in front of his team in the locker room and delivered a passionate, profanity-laced speech about how they’ll be ready for the AFC Championship game despite the Patriots having more than a full extra day of rest on Pittsburgh. In the speech, he referred to the Patriots as “those a**holes” which sent the football world into a tizzy about the perceived slight at the Pats.
“When you get to this point in the journey, not a lot needs to be said,” said Tomlin. “Let’s say very little moving forward. Let’s start our preparations. We spotted those assholes a day and a half. They played yesterday. Our game got moved to tonight. We gonna touch down at 4 o’clock in the f*cking morning. So be it. We’ll be ready for that ass. But you ain’t gotta tell them we coming. The chest pounding. Keep a low profile.”
The only reason we know about that speech and what was said is because Antonio Brown decided to record the whole thing and post it to Facebook. The post is now taken down, but not before the internet could record it and save it, serving as a friendly reminder that if you post something on the internet it will live forever whether you want it to or not.
On Tuesday, Tomlin spoke with the media at his weekly press conference and he was not happy with Brown, calling his star player “selfish” and “foolish” for posting the video and creating a possible distraction.
Tomlin apologized for the profanity in the speech, saying that his language was “regrettable” and that was why they went to such lengths to keep certain moments private. He also noted that he had not seen Brown yet, but that some form punishment from the team would be coming his way for posting the locker room video to Facebook.
Tomlin’s most interesting comment was noting that actions like Brown’s in posting the video are the kind that can lead to a great player changing teams.
While some Steelers brushed off the incident and stood up for Brown, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger expressed his disappointment in his star receiver.
“It’s an unfortunate situation that we’ve got to deal with right now,” Ben told 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh. “That’s a sacred place where things are said and hugs and tears, and it’s kind of a special place. So a little disappointed with AB for that. Coach talks and then I talk, and you just don’t want everyone to know what’s going on in there with the family. And also, I wish AB would have been listening to Coach and myself instead of being on the other side of the locker room filming.”
The frustration with Brown posting the speech to Facebook is understandable, as it creates an unnecessary point of conversation this week ahead of the biggest game of the year for the Steelers. Tomlin and Roethlisberger both know that it will be something they will be asked about all week, rather than the AFC Championship game itself.
However, Tomlin’s comments will likely be more talked about than the video itself, especially his statement about those kinds of actions leading to a player bouncing around from team to team. Brown is one of the league’s best receivers and is, by far, the most explosive playmaker for the Steelers’ passing attack and it seems insane to even hint that a speech video could lead to his departure from Pittsburgh.
Tomlin will likely regret that part of his statement on the video, as it will create even more conversation and debate going forward about Brown’s actions and future, which is the opposite of what he wants to do in this situation.