The journey toward the Super Bowl is now well under way with the Pittsburgh Steelers back practicing at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, still informally referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility. With the regular season standing in their way on the path to a Lombardi, there will be questions for them to answer along the way.
We have asked and answered a lot of questions during the preseason and through training camp, but much of the answer-seeking ends in the regular season, and teams simply have to make do with what they have available to them. Still, there will always be questions for us.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond as they develop, looking for the answers as we evaluate the makeup of the Steelers on their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Is Antonio Brown actually a distraction for the locker room?
This has probably been the most widely-discussed topic on Steelers websites over the course of the past 20-ish hours, so it only seems to make sense to put it to the floor: is Antonio Brown’s occasional antics a distraction where it actually matters—the locker room?
We know where the question stems from, of course. On Sunday, the Steelers ran a play on third down that got Brown wide open for what likely would have been a touchdown had Ben Roethlisberger gotten him the ball. The quarterback didn’t deliver, likely in part because he was under pressure.
Brown proceeded to go on what Roethlisberger referred to as a temper tantrum that included throwing his hands up after the play, pushing Todd Haley away, and assaulting a Gatorade cooler. The quarterback and his head coach said that they didn’t want this to become a distraction.
But at least to my knowledge, nobody really seemed to be making that much of a big deal about what happened. Things really escalated, ironically, after Roethlisberger’s comments yesterday, and now here we are framing the conversation in the context of being a distraction.
But really, did this situation actually reveal anything that we didn’t already know? Contrary to what some may believe, this is not Brown’s first ‘temper tantrum’ that he’s had on the sideline as a result of not getting the ball that was caught on camera.
And there many others that were not. He himself has even said that he’s had Heath Miller had to tell him basically to shut up and stop whining about getting the ball. The locker room already knows this about Brown.
So if they know, I’m having a hard time seeing it as a distraction among his teammates, at least outside of the minor aggravation of being asked questions about it. But I’m sure not everybody agrees, so what do you think?