Mike Tomlin has apparently gotten caught up in some embarrassing locker room talk of his own.
In a post-game Facebook Live video streamed by star wide receiver Antonio Brown, the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach reportedly can be heard off camera referring to the New England Patriots, the team’s upcoming opponent in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, as “a**holes.”
In the full video deleted from Facebook but which is on YouTube, along with a shorter version embedded below, Brown spends most of the time preening for the camera while the team meeting takes place in another part of the locker room.
In a hard-fought matchup last night, the Steelers defeated the Kansas Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City by a score of 18-16 in a game that was moved to the evening from the afternoon because of bad weather. On Saturday, as expected, the Pats rolled over the Houston Texans in a 34-16 victory at their Gillette Stadium home field in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
In his remarks, Coach Tomlin expressed displeasure with the way the schedule unfolded, ESPN and other news outlets reported.
“When you get to this point in the journey, man, not a lot needs to be said. Let’s say very little moving forward. Let’s start our preparation. We spotted these a**holes a day and a half. They played yesterday; our game got moved to tonight. We’re gonna touch down at 4 o’clock in the f*****g morning. So be it. We’ll be ready for that a**. But you ain’t got to tell them that we’re coming. Keep a low profile, and let’s get ready to ball like this up again here in a few days and be right back at it. That’s our story.”
Ironically, a Steelers player warns to “Keep cool on social media. This is about us, nobody else, man,” while quarterback Ben Roethlisberger apparently chimes in with “Keep your mouth shut, and let’s play Steeler football,” CBS Boston noted.
In his weekly Kirk & Callahan appearance on Boston sports radio station WEEI, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady explained this morning that old school coach Bill Belichick is not into social media and that Patriots’ team policy is what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room. “That’s against our team policy, so I don’t think that would go over well with our coach,” Brady remarked about the Antonio Brown video.
“It’s ironic that Tomlin’s address to his team focused almost entirely on not saying anything publicly that could be turned into bulletin-board material for the Patriots. Thanks to Brown streaming it live for thousands upon thousands of people to hear in real time, Tomlin has personally failed that mission before it even had a chance to begin,” CBS Boston observed.
Whoever prevails on Sunday between the Steelers and the Patriots gets to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. The Pats defeated the Steelers on October 23 by the score of 27-16, but Roethlisberger was on the shelf for that regular season game. The Steelers finished the regular season with an 11-5 mark, good for first place in the AFC North. The 14-2 Patriots (which included Tom Brady’s Deflategate four-game suspension) easily won the AFC East.
The Green Packers and the Atlanta Falcons will meet in the NFC title game on Sunday.
Replacing Bill Cowher, Tomlin has been the team’s head coach since 2007 and guided the Steelers to victory in Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009, against the Arizona Cardinals, in the process becoming the youngest head coach ever to do so.
Long considered a master motivator, Mike Tomlin, 44, has yet to make a public statement about his overheard locker room remarks which have prompted a mixed reaction in the sports media and on social media. Watch this space for updates, if any.
[Featured Image by Gene Puskar/AP Images]