It’s about more than Antonio Brown
The Pittsburgh Steelers are more than wide receiver Antonio Brown.
The team surely knows that. We’re pretty sure after the chewing-out he delivered, Coach Mike Tomlin knows that.
We hope Steelers Nation figures that out before Sunday evening, when the Steelers face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game for the right to play the NFC champion in Super Bowl LI.
We hope the feeling isn’t really what was indicated in some social media circles during the past few days, where people debated Brown’s future with the team, whether he was paid by Facebook or whether the NFL really should ban live video from its locker rooms for a period after games.
What Brown did was boneheaded, to be sure, paid or not. NFL coaches in the heat of the moment have a right to be angry, agressive and, yes, they will swear. We don’t think it’s a reason anyone would think less of Tomlin. The insensitivity of live feeding what should be a personal and private moment among teammates is an issue.
But it’s not the only issue.
The real issue is Pittsburgh. The resurgent Tech City represented by the Men of Steel, the chance for a new and different sort of Steelers team to represent the former Steel City, to make a black-and-gold football glow to burnish the changing region as it rises in success with the technology and energy industries.
It’s a rallying point for the community to root for the team as it takes on the Patriots.
We hope Brown-gate isn’t elevated to the distraction level that the cheating of Deflate-gate was for the Patriots.
After all, young Mr. Brown’s insensitivity can only impact the game if the team lets it impact the game. Deflated footballs was an issue of cheating, plain and simple, in addition to other issues of unfair advantage attributed to Bill Bellichick’s Patriots over the years.
We hope, for the good of the region, for the good of the city of Pittsburgh that Brown-gate is a forgotten side issue as the Steelers march to another date with Super Bowl destiny.