PITTSBURGH — Antonio Brown wanted to let the world in on the party when he live streamed the giddy celebration in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ locker room after an 18-16 playoff win over Kansas City.
The All-Pro wide receiver also happened to catch coach Mike Tomlin indelicately describing the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh’s opponent in the AFC Championship game.
Tomlin’s word choice — an expletive — didn’t bother his players as Brown’s decision to throw back the curtain on what is usually a private moment.
“Personally I’d like some of that stuff sacred,” long snapper Greg Warren said Monday. “But this is a changing world, a changing environment. I can’t be some old guy stuck under a rock, that’s for sure.”
Brown’s 17-minute video collected more than 900,000 views in a few hours before being removed (though it lives on through YouTube).
It included players dancing and Tomlin — who was out of the shot and unaware it was being filmed but who could be heard clearly in the packed locker room — beginning his postgame speech by telling his team to “say very little moving forward” then adding “we spotted those (expletive) a day and a half.”
New England advanced to the AFC title game by beating Houston on Saturday night, 24 hours before Pittsburgh held off the Chiefs.
Guard Ramon Foster “would love to hear AB’s explanation” but downplayed any concerns about the video becoming a distraction or take away from Pittsburgh’s ninth straight victory.
It’s also not unusual for Brown to use social media in the locker room during the week or occasionally after games even though it may run afoul of league policy.
“I don’t think that overshadowed it,” Foster said. “You guys know what that was. It’s a bunch of guys having fun, talking, enjoying themselves. That’s simply what that was. It wasn’t anything malicious. It just happens that (Brown’s) iPhone is really good.”
Besides, Foster hardly thinks New England (15-2) will use Tomlin mildly dissing them as an incentive, not with a chance to reach a seventh Super Bowl under Bill Belichick at stake.
“The Patriots watched our game, they know everything about us,” Foster said. “They know for us to be in this game is not a secret. They’re going to study everything we do, so it’s not like we’re going to sneak up on them. It just so happened they heard what the coach was going to say. That’s it.”
New England beat Pittsburgh 27-16 on Oct. 23 behind two touchdowns from Tom Brady and 127 yards rushing from LeGarrette Blount.
Pittsburgh (13-5) played without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who sat out while recovering from surgery on his left knee.
Backup Landry Jones was steady if not spectacular, throwing for 281 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
The Steelers actually outgained the Patriots by 13 yards (375-362), but settled for three Chris Boswell field goals when they needed touchdowns in hopes of pulling off an upset.
It’s an issue that popped up again on Sunday night, when Boswell drilled a postseason record six field goals to provide all of Pittsburgh’s 18 points.
More will almost certainly be required against New England, which is averaging 31.6 points at home when Brady plays this season.
That will be challenging enough, not worrying about getting worked up over something Tomlin thought he was saying in the intimacy of the locker room or even the slight head start the Patriots will have in preparations.
“I just like to keep rolling,” Foster said. “That’s how we’re going to be this entire week is to keep rolling, keep doing our job because at the end of the day it’s who’s the best team that day. The rest don’t matter.”
Tomlin’s vocabulary or the oddsmakers who have made Pittsburgh a decided underdog included.
“I think we proved that wrong this weekend,” Foster said. “Those odds are for people that bet on the game. We play the game.”