The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2016 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Never the less, what must be done must be done, and we are now at the time of the year where we close the book on one season and look ahead to the next.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2016 season.
Player: Antonio Brown
Position: Wide Receiver
Experience: 7 Years
Another year has come and gone for the Steelers. Another year and another bounty of accolades for Antonio Brown. The former sixth-round draft pick was named to his fifth Pro Bowl and his fourth All-Pro recognition, with the third consecutive season earning first-team.
And yet he has put up some of his worst statistics in a few years in 2016. His 106 receptions was second-most in the league, and he probably would have led the league if he did not sit out the regular season finale, but it is the fewest number of receptions that he has had in a year since 2012 when he had just 66.
His 1284 receiving yards were in the top five of the league in spite of the fact that he missed a game. Yet that was more than 200 yards fewer than his totals from the past three seasons. But where he has stayed the course is exactly where it mattered the most: in the end zone. His 12 touchdowns were the second-most in the league and the second-most in his career, and he added another two touchdowns in the playoffs.
He also had a pair of 100-yard receiving games in the postseason and tied a record with four consecutive 100-yard receiving games in the postseason over the span of the last two years. It was also a nice change of pace that he didn’t fumble this season after losing two in each of the past two seasons.
Yet his season is best defined by peaks and valleys. To date perhaps the pinnacle of his career encapsulated in a single play was the ‘Immaculate Extension’ four-yard game-winning touchdown that locked up the AFC North against the Ravens in Week 16. He had a go-ahead score in the final minute on a fake spike against the Cowboys earlier in the year, yet the defense didn’t hold. He had two 50-plus-yard touchdowns in the first half of the first quarter of the Wildcard game.
But he is probably best remembered by those on the outside for the Facebook Live video; for the excessive celebration penalties; for the fines for wearing custom cleats in-game. He has been warned up and down that these ‘little annoyances’ are overshadowing the amazing work that he does on the field. He needs to realize that as he prepares to receive the payday he has been waiting for for years now.