Mike Tomlin’s fiery personality (and defensive acumen) made him a hot coaching candidate after just one season as Vikings D coordinator a decade ago — helping him get hired as Steelers head coach at the tender age of 34.
But even a still-young coach with a reputation for relating to his players has to be shaking his head (or more) after star Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown made the decision to go live on Facebook from the Steelers’ locker room after Pittsburgh’s 18-16 win over Kansas City on Sunday.
In the video, Tomlin is heard using very salty language to complain about the Steelers’ AFC title game opponent New England and the fact that the Patriots had an extra day-and-a-half to prepare for the title game showdown because of how this past weekend’s schedule played out.
Now, I’m guessing the name that Tomlin called the Patriots isn’t something Bill Belichick and co. haven’t heard before. They might even wear it as a badge of honor.
Still, this is another interesting intersection of social media and sports. Athletes have a huge, unfiltered platform. Sometimes they don’t realize the scope or reach of what they are doing.
Sometimes they do and they don’t care. In Brown’s video, for instance, players are even heard being warned about not going on social media. “(Be) cool on social media. This is about us and nobody else,” is the message heard. The video keeps rolling for another 15 minutes, with players joking around.
At the end of the day, this doesn’t figure to have much (if any) impact on Sunday’s game. But just like Giants receivers going to South Beach before the Packers game — a non-story that becomes a story when it bounces around the echo chamber and gains steam when a team doesn’t play well — this will be talked about all week and will be mentioned in the postgame regardless of which team wins.
Patriots QB Tom Brady, for instance, has already been asked about it and addressed it on the radio. Said Brady:
“That’s against our team policy, so I don’t think that would go over well with our coach. … We don’t show anything that should be private because he feels when we are inside our stadium, inside the walls, there has to be a degree of privacy that we have. What’s done in the locker room should stay in the locker room.”
It wouldn’t even be surprising for the N(o) F(un) L(eague) to crack down on social media in the locker room as a result.
For the viewer/fan? It’s fascinating. If you want to see what a locker room can really be like or what coaches really think when the cameras aren’t rolling, it’s right there in front of you.