It Is What It Is
NEED TO KNOW
Follow WEEI.com football writer Christopher Price at twitter.com/cpriceNFL. In addition, get the latest WEEI.com updates at twitter.com/WEEI.
A WEEI.com Patriots Blog
WEEI.com Blog Network
Steelers WR Antonio Brown apologizes for Facebook Live post 01.18.17 at 12:04 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on Steelers WR Antonio Brown apologizes for Facebook Live post
Antonio Brown apologized via Twitter Tuesday night. (Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports)

Antonio Brown apologized via Twitter Tuesday night. (Jeff Curry/USA Today Sports)

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has apologized for his Facebook Live post after Sunday’s win over the Chiefs that accidentally caught Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin disparaging the Patriots.

He posted the following statement to Twitter Tuesday night:

“First, I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I’m sorry for my actions and behavior after Sunday’s game. I let my emotions and genuine excitement get the best of me. And I wanted to share that moment with our fans. It was wrong of me to do, against team and NFL policy, and I have apologized to Coach Tomlin and my teammates for my actions. I’m sorry to them for letting it become a distraction and something that they’ve had to answer questions about while we’re preparing for a big game on Sunday.”

The Steelers face New England in the AFC title game Sunday night.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Antonio Brown, Mike Tomlin,
Terry McAulay will referee Sunday’s AFC championship game 01.17.17 at 5:04 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Terry McAulay will referee Sunday’s AFC championship game
Terry McAulay will referee Sunday's AFC title game.  (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Terry McAulay will referee Sunday’s AFC title game. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Terry McAulay will work as the referee for Sunday’s AFC title game between the Patriots and Steelers, according to FootballZebras.com.

McAulay began his NFL career as a side judge in 1998 before becoming a referee in 2001. However, New England games have been few and far between for McAulay as of late: This will be the first Patriots game for McAulay since Nov. 8. 2015, a contest at Gillette between the New England and Washington. Overall, it’s just his second Patriots’ game since the start of the 2014 season. (Here’s a closer look at his career, via Pro Football Reference.)

This is a complete list of who has worked as the referee for each Patriots’ game this year and the corresponding penalties for each contest, not counting the flags that were offset or declined:

Sept. 11 at Arizona: Tony Corrente — 8 penalties, 69 yards (Cardinals — 6 penalties, 58 yards)
Sept. 18 vs. Miami: Craig Wrolstad — 7 penalties, 65 yards (Dolphins — 5 penalties, 49 yards)
Sept. 22 vs. Houston: Walt Coleman — 3 penalties, 15 yards (Texans — 6 penalties, 43 yards)
Oct. 2 vs. Buffalo: Pete Morelli — 9 penalties, 74 yards (Bills — 6 penalties, 60 yards)
Oct. 9 at Cleveland: Bill Vinovich — 5 penalties, 61 yards (Browns — 5 penalties, 35 yards)
Oct. 16 vs. Cincinnati: Ronald Torbert — 6 penalties, 55 yards (Bengals — 7 penalties, 46 yards)
Oct. 23 at Pittsburgh: Craig Wrolstad — 4 penalties, 40 yards (Steelers — 10 penalties, 85 yards)
Oct. 30 at Buffalo: John Parry — 10 penalties, 116 yards (Bills — 12 penalties, 84 yards)
Nov. 13 vs. Seattle: Gene Steratore — 7 penalties, 61 yards (Seahawks — 8 penalties, 60 yards)
Nov. 20 at San Francisco: Jeff Triplette — 5 penalties, 40 yards (Niners — 10 penalties, 68 yards)
Nov. 27 at New York Jets: Brad Allen — 2 penalties, 15 yards (Jets — 6 penalties, 66 yards)
Dec. 4 vs. Los Angeles: Jerome Boger — 8 penalties, 46 yards (Rams — 4 penalties, 30 yards)
Dec. 12 vs. Baltimore: Ed Hochuli — 5 penalties, 48 yards (Ravens — 8 penalties, 47 yards)
Dec. 18 at Denver: Walt Anderson — 4 penalties, 30 yards (Broncos — 5 penalties, 49 yards)
Dec. 24 vs. Jets: Gene Steratore — 3 penalties, 20 yards (Jets — 6 penalties, 77 yards)
Jan. 1 at Miami: John Parry — 7 penalties, 64 yards (Dolphins — 9 penalties, 73 yards)
Divisional Playoffs: Jan. 14 vs. Houston: Pete Morelli — 5 penalties, 50 yards (Houston — 5 penalties, 75 yards)

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: penalties, Terry McAulay,
Ben Roethlisberger ‘disappointed’ over Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video 01.17.17 at 3:47 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on Ben Roethlisberger ‘disappointed’ over Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live video
Ben Roethlisberger wasn't thrilled about what Antonio Brown did. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t thrilled about what Antonio Brown did. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger sounded mad and disappointed, but not overly upset about Antonio Brown’s now infamous Facebook Live video that captured coach Mike Tomlin ripping the Patriots.

On Tuesday, Roethlisberger called the locker room “a sacred place,” which is one of the reasons he had an issue with what Brown did.

“I know he’s excited. Everyone’s excited. They want to share it with the world and with fans and all that stuff. And it’s hard, because you are excited. You’re happy, and you won a big game, and you made a big play to win the game,” he said.

“But I am a little disappointed that he did that, because that is a sacred thing. Coach talked, and then I talked. And you don’t want everyone to know what’s going on in there in the family.

“It is what it is. I think it’ll get addressed tomorrow by coach. And we move on — that’s the way it has to be,” he said. “It’s not like this is some make-or-break thing for us, it just is something that’s kind of disappointing, and we move on from it.”

Roethlisberger called in “water under the bridge,” and anticipated it would be addressed by Tomlin sooner rather than later.

“It’s just more disappointing than anger,” he added. “I’m not angry at [Brown], it’s just disappointing that that sacred time was kind of violated a little bit, and that he wasn’t paying attention to coach and myself talking after the game.

“That’s all. Like I said, it’ll be water under the bridge here for me when we’re done talking about it.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin,
This is not the first time the Steelers have said something foolish before a big game with the Patriots 01.16.17 at 12:37 pm ET
By   |  Comments Off on This is not the first time the Steelers have said something foolish before a big game with the Patriots
In 2007, Pittsburgh's Anthony Smith talked about the Patriots and Randy Moss before the game. Things did not turn out well for him. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

In 2007, Pittsburgh’s Anthony Smith talked about the Patriots and Randy Moss before the game. Things did not turn out well for him. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Antonio Brown’s video of Mike Tomlin’s postgame speech on Sunday unknowingly caught the Steelers coach cursing out the Patriots. But it isn’t the first time that a member of the franchise has said something before a big game against New England that could come back to haunt them.

In the days leading up to the 2001 AFC championship game in Pittsburgh — a year when there was only one week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl — the Steelers made a sizable show about the fact they needed to take care of any potential Super Bowl travel business as early as possible so they could focus on the AFC title clash with New England. Those statements made their way back to the Patriots, who took great exception to the idea that Pittsburgh was putting the proverbial cart before the horse, at least publicly. After the game — a 24-17 win over the favored Steelers — Lawyer Milloy told reporters exactly what he thought about Pittsburgh’s approach. “You never disrespect anybody,” said Milloy, who bristled before the game when told of the Steelers’ Super Bowl plans. “You just make it hard on yourself. I’m just surprised the veterans on that team didn’t shut the younger guys’ mouths on that team. It was a momentum-builder for us. We rallied around that, and in the end we were the AFC champions.”

Prior to a game against the Patriots in 2007, Steelers defensive back Anthony Smith guaranteed a win over the then-unbeaten Patriots while dismissing the New England receiving corps. “They’ve got [Wes] Welker and [Randy] Moss, but they’re not like Cincinnati,” Smith said. Almost predictably, Smith was targeted on several occasions by Tom Brady and the New England passing game on the way to a 34-13 win over Pittsburgh. In his postgame press conference, Bill Belichick piled on when asked about Smith. “We’ve played a lot better safeties than him, I’ll tell you that,” he said.

Read More: Anthony Smith, Lawyer Milloy, Mike Tomlin, Randy Moss
Steelers WR Antonio Brown posts Facebook Live video of coach Mike Tomlin cursing out Patriots 01.16.17 at 7:48 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on Steelers WR Antonio Brown posts Facebook Live video of coach Mike Tomlin cursing out Patriots

The week has started with a bang.

After Sunday’s win over the Chiefs in the AFC divisional playoffs Sunday night, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s postgame speech was caught on Facebook Live by wide receiver Antonio Brown. In his address to the team — roughly two minutes in — Tomlin noted that the Patriots, who won Saturday afternoon, had a jumpstart on Pittsburgh when it came to preparation.

“We spotted these [expletives] a day-and-a-half,” Tomlin could be heard telling his team. “They played [Saturday]. … We’ll be ready for their [expletive].”

Shortly after that, someone else could be heard telling players to “be cool on social media. This is about us. Nobody else.”

Check out the video here.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Antonio Brown, Mike Tomlin,
5 mostly Patriots-related thoughts on Sunday’s divisional playoff action: If you don’t have an elite QB, you’re out of luck 01.16.17 at 12:05 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on 5 mostly Patriots-related thoughts on Sunday’s divisional playoff action: If you don’t have an elite QB, you’re out of luck
Aaron Rodgers celebrates the Packers' win Sunday. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

Aaron Rodgers celebrates the Packers’ win Sunday. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

1. So the NFL’s Final Four is set, with the Packers meeting the Falcons in the Georgia Dome Sunday at 3:05 p.m., and the Patriots and Steelers squaring off at 6:40 in Foxboro. In the NFC, it’ll be a four seed (Green Bay) and a two seed (Atlanta), while the No. 1 seed in the AFC (New England) will host the third seed (Pittsburgh). But more importantly, it’s simply the latest reminder that in a quarterback-driven league, if you don’t have a signal-caller who stands head-and-shoulders above the rest of the field, you’re pretty much going to be out of luck. It’s hard to look at this group of quarterbacks — Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisbeger, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan — and not include them in some sort of combination of the NFL’s top 5 QBs, at least at this point. (What does it say about the field that the guy who now appears to be the odds’ on favorite to win the MVP has the thinnest resume of the bunch?) Anyway, keep that in mind when the next round of team-building commences shortly after the end of the postseason. (Oh, and for what it’s worth, I’d still be shocked if Roger Goodell was in Foxboro this weekend. That dude is headed straight back to Atlanta.)

2. These quotes from Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler will be fun to revisit this week. Prior to the October game between the two teams in Pittsburgh, Butler was interviewed for the “Coordinators Corner” podcast on the Steelers’ team website, and was asked about Brady and Bill Belichick and if they study harder than other teams, or if they’re doing something special? “I don’t think they’re doing anything special,” Butler said, via MassLive.com. “I think they do things outside the box sometimes, you know, that might be on the edge of being legal or not legal. They’ve done a couple of things in the past — putting an offensive tackle out as ineligible but he’s not really. Sometimes the emphasis by the NFL in terms of what they call and what they don’t call, [the Patriots] use that a little bit. They’ve been accused of doing a lot of things. But the thing we’ve got to do is ignore that and play.”

For what it’s worth, Brady has faced the Pittsburgh defense twice since Butler took over as defensive coordinator prior to the start of the 2015 season:

9/10/15 in Foxboro: 25-for-32 for 288 yards with four touchdowns, no picks and two sacks in a 28-21 win
10/23/16 in Pittsburgh: 19-for-26 for 222 yards with two touchdowns in a 27-16 win

3. Travis Kelce wants to be Rob Gronkowski the same way that Bon Jovi wants to be Bruce Springsteen. The Kansas City tight end was underwhelming on the big stage Sunday night against the Steelers, committing a dopey penalty while finishing with five catches for 77 yards in the loss. On a night where the Chiefs needed Kelce to be a difference-maker, he and the rest of the Kansas City offense came up short. Consider this NSFW locker room video of Kelce a fitting postscript to the season:

4. The Steelers are a far more appetizing opponent for the Patriots to consider than the Chiefs for multiple reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Pittsburgh does a better job stirring the emotion in the New England fan base than Kansas City. Who can get upset with Kansas City? It’s Andy Reid in a big red jacket. Meanwhile, the Steelers are still worthy of a spot among the Patriots’ chief rivals. There’s so much terrific history to consider between these two teams. The names and faces have changed along the way, but this week promises to be a lot more fun — at least from a hype-driven perspective — than last week against the Texans.

5. We covered our feelings about Rodgers and the Packers’ wild win over the Cowboys here, but it’s safe to say, the NFC title game should be a compelling contest in the Georgia Dome. Can Ryan rise to the challenge and advance to the Super Bowl for the first time in his career? Can Rodgers keep his remarkable streak rolling? From this viewpoint, we’re in completely uncharted waters when it comes to Rodgers and what he’s doing. Despite the fact that they’re on the road, our first inclination is to go with the Packers. No one else has been able to slow down Green Bay quarterback over the last month-plus. Why should Atlanta be any different?

Read More: aaron rodgers, Andy Reid, Ben Roethlisberger, Bon Jovi
How does Martellus Bennett battle through injury? By channeling his inner Luke Cage 01.15.17 at 4:51 am ET
By   |  Comments Off on How does Martellus Bennett battle through injury? By channeling his inner Luke Cage
Martellus Bennett

Martellus Bennett

FOXBORO — Martellus Bennett sounds like he’s OK.

On Saturday against the Texans, the big tight end went down in the second half with what appeared to be a left knee injury. After a few anxious moments on the ground, he popped up and jogged to the sideline. After the 34-16 win, he was asked if he was OK.

“I’m not a doctor,” he said when asked if he thought it might be a serious problem. “I watch a lot of ‘House.’ But I’m not a doctor.”

Bennett said that when it comes to being able to battle through bumps and bruises, he channels his inner Luke Cage, a Marvel superhero he’s referenced before know for his ability to overcome adversity.

“I just always think about Luke Cage,” Bennett said. “It’s funny when I get to the sideline, everyone’s like, ‘What would Luke Cage do?’ I’m like ‘[expletive], I’ve got to get back out there, because that’s what Luke Cage would do.’

“I don’t know … [expletive] happens,” he added. “You just try to find a way to fight through whatever it is. I’ve been fighting through [expletive] the whole year, and I’m not going to stop now. I’m getting too close to what my goal is in life. I’m just going to keep on trucking and keep trying to do what I can to contribute and play as hard as I can.”

Bennett, who finished with one catch for four yards, said there were moments he was pressing, trying too hard to make a play in his postseason debut with the Patriots.

“I think at some point I was pressing a little bit to try to make plays,” he said. “It felt like we needed some plays made, and being out there first time, you want to make it great.

“It’s like going on a first date with a girl you really love. If she steps in a puddle or you get in a car accident, it’s not that great,” he said. “I felt like I was struggling on that first date. I dropped a plate on my date, and all kinds of [expletive] was going on. But at the end of the day, it turned out to be a great date.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Luke Cage, Martellus Bennett,
Latest on Twitter
Patriots Box Score
Patriots Schedule
Player News
2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Patriots Headlines
NFL Headlines
Tips & Feedback

Verify