Will Antonio Brown's Legacy Be As The Steelers Great Mistake?

AB represents a regrettable time in franchise history

Matt Koll
February 13, 2019 - 1:43 pm
Antonio Brown vs. Bengals

Albert Cesare / The Enquirer

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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- I now feel comfortable talking about Antonio Brown as if he’s already in a 49ers jersey like he posted on Instagram. Or in any other jersey for that matter.

When an athlete leaves a Pittsburgh franchise, especially after having spent extended time here, I often think about what their legacy they’re leaving behind is or is going to be.

Andrew McCutchen’s time in a Pirates uniform represented the turnaround, the revival of baseball in Pittsburgh after 20 consecutive losing seasons. Marc-Andre Fleury’s time between the pipes in a Penguins uniform represented an infectious, fun-loving attitude. It also represented winning. Like 3 championships in 9 years winning.

So what will Antonio Brown’s time with the Steelers represent?  

I believe he will represent what will go down as one the most regrettable times in Steelers history.

Brown’s time will be an era of when the Steelers let player freedom run wild. Mike Tomlin has stood by this mantra of treating players differently based on their performance on the field and Brown is the ultimate example of that approach gone horribly wrong.

If Brown never steps on the field in a Steelers uniform again, his legacy will be that of the Steelers’ great mistake. He represents a time in franchise history in which it was tolerable to be late to meetings. It was tolerable to go MIA for a day of practice. It was tolerable to stay off-campus at Saint Vincent for training camp. It was tolerable to threaten reporters, multiple times. It was tolerable to throw temper tantrums on the sideline.

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As long as you helped us win.

Most importantly, it will forever be a gap of at least nine years in which the Steelers never won a Super Bowl.  Never added on.  Never took advantage of having a Hall of Fame, franchise QB. They actually lost full reign on the mountain top of Super Bowl championships with the Patriots winning their sixth in just a couple weeks ago. 

The Steelers have had Ben Roethlisberger, again a likely Hall of Famer, playing the most important position in the game during Brown's time. There was a run of 3 to 4 years in which a case could be made the Steelers had the most lethal QB-WR combination in football.

They were the Montana-Rice. Without the titles.

I’m not saying it is completely Brown’s fault for the Steelers never winning another one during his tenure. We all know there’s been plenty of other drama to contribute to that.

But what you can do is look at a Ben Roethlisberger highlight and think, “Did they win a Super Bowl that year?” The answer might be yes.

You can look at a highlight of Mike Tomlin patrolling the sideline and think, “Did they win a Super Bowl that year?” The answer might be yes.

You can look at a highlight of #84 making a one-handed catch, running away from defenders for a long touchdown, dancing in the end zone after that touchdown, and think, “Did they win a Super Bowl that year?”

And you know what the answer will always be? No.

Again, regardless of whether it was all Antonio Brown’s fault or not, he will embody a time in which the Steelers never lifted up another Lombardi Trophy.

Maybe he could have won here. We'll probably never know, because instead he self-destructed, let his ego balloon out of control and didn’t show up for his last game as a Steeler.

For me, every time I see an Antonio Brown highlight in a Steelers uniform I’ll view them as the lost years. Those teams that had plenty of talent to win it all, but never did.

That’s his symbol. It’s not a goat, representing “the greatest of all-time,” despite his attempts for it to be through multiple goat-head rings.

He symbolizes utter disappointment and missed opportunity.

One of the most regrettable times in Steelers history.

When it was all goat-head rings, not Super Bowl rings.

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