By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Call it “Spygate 2.0.” But this time, the Patriots are merely bystanders.
Steelers All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown was capturing live video on Facebook late Sunday evening in a victorious locker room after Pittsburgh had defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. The game had been moved from a 1 p.m. ET start to 8:20 p.m. ET due to ice storms in the area that would have made it dangerous for fans to get to the stadium earlier in the day.
In that locker room, head coach Mike Tomlin addressed the team, and he described the Patriots — who are next week’s opponent — using a less-than-endearing term. He also expressed some frustration that his team has less time to prepare for next week’s AFC Championship Game.
“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,” Tomlin, who could not be seen on camera, told the team. “We spotted them [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 [expletive] morning. So be it. We’ll be ready for that ass. But you ain’t got to tell them that we’re coming.”
Brown has since deleted the video from Facebook, but CBS Pittsburgh has the full video available for viewing (warning: language). The Tomlin speech begins just after the 2-minute mark.
After Tomlin’s speech, another voice shouted to the room: “Be cool on social media, man! This is about us, nobody else, man!”
Brown himself was too busy playing on Facebook Live and marveling at the number of viewers rise to have caught that message.
Then, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger addressed the team and again reiterated the importance of not saying anything inflammatory this week.
“It’s a lion’s den. I’ve been there. A lot of us has been there. This ain’t gonna be fun,” Roethlisberger said. “Keep your mouth shut. Let’s play Steeler football and be a Steeler all week.”
Tomlin’s expressed frustrations with playing in New England before. When his Steelers lost on opening night to the Patriots to kick off the 2015 season, he complained after the game that he was receiving the 98.5 The Sports Hub radio broadcast of the game in his headset.
“That’s always the case,” Tomlin said, referencing his trips to Gillette Stadium.
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.