Team MVP snub may have sparked Antonio Brown’s ire

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So what prompted Steelers receiver Antonio Brown to go AWOL, only days after having his best game of the season? Some are pointing to the internal vote that resulted in not Brown but receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster being named the team’s MVP for 2018.

The team announced that Smith-Schuster won the award on Thursday. Not Brown, who was in the discussion for NFL MVP in 2017 — and who won his franchise-record fourth team MVP award last year.

If the players learned about it on Wednesday, the outcome would help explain why Brown was feeling disrespected and unappreciated on the practice field, where he reportedly threw a football at Ben Roethlisberger and stormed out.

Simms and I have been batting around that theory throughout the week on PFT Live, and Albert Breer of SI.com cites an unnamed source in support of the notion that the MVP vote sparked the eruption.

“He was unreal in New Orleans, we still lost, and the vote comes out and it’s JuJu,” the unnamed source told Breer. “So [Brown] shows up for work, he’s not voted MVP, he’s in a bad way, and that carried over into the walkthrough.”

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports that Brown wanted to see whether the Steelers would thrive without him, and whether Smith-Schuster would perform at a high level without Brown on the field to draw attention away from the second-year player.

Thursday’s announcement, which came at a time when no one outside the organization knew about the latest Brown incident, sparked speculation that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would be miffed about the snub. But the player most upset by the outcome apparently was Brown.

Again, the players vote for the MVP award. At a time when much has been said regarding whether the players would welcome Brown back, it’s fair to ask whether Brown wants to return. That’s a critically important question; how it’s resolved will go a long way toward determining how the relationship between Brown and the Steelers unfolds in 2019.

134 responses to “Team MVP snub may have sparked Antonio Brown’s ire

  1. The media is just now catching up to what many of us in the AFCN already knew. The Steelers are a bunch of cry baby punks who have been protected by the league and their issues ignored by the media for far to long.

  2. If I was an elite NFL player I’d keep my nose to the grindstone, behave myself on and off the field, sign autographs and smile at all my fans. This would ensure I’d be taken care of the rest of my life.

  3. That’s been AB’s M.O. throughout his career. Remember him sulking on the sidelines in the AFCCG against the Pats a couple years ago? He’s always been a guy who puts his stats way above his team and winning. He’d much rather have 140 yards and 3 TDs in a blowout loss than 54 yards and no TDs in an important win.

  4. It doesn’t say much about AB or Big Bum that Ju-Ju was elected MVP does it? All this stuff coming out. Thanks to Tomlin’s lack of leadership this team is now officially a mess. Good job Tom. Hopefully next year you’ll be coaching in Siberia and the Steelers will have a real coach instead of a spineless idiot.

  5. I like Brown’s personality a lot and think he’s the best WR in the game, but he’s coming across as very petty in this situation. I hope it works out best for everyone involved, whichever way it goes.

  6. Is it possible that we are already seeing signs of CTE from hits to the head he’s taken, like the morbid one he took from Burfict?

    I’m totally serious. His behavior is leaning from irrational to bizarre.

  7. So a grownazz man was crying because his coworkers picked somebody else for meaningless team award? Just make up a new award category and let him win. “Best Tantrum” maybe, although he might lose that one to Bell. Give AB an honorable mention certificate for that one, post it on Twitter then step back and enjoy the meltdown

  8. Steelers need to find a coach who can win a super bowl before Ben is done. Tomlin won with Cowhers players and he has brought in good talent but can’t control the talent. Ben has had problems with Tomlin as well as Bell and Brown. No reason with the rosters Tomlin has had to only win one super bowl.

  9. rolf1015 says:
    January 3, 2019 at 10:55 am
    Do all teams do this? What purpose does an internal vote for a team MVP serve?

    To me, it can be a good way to spotlight guys that the media overlooks, like your offensive linemen or your special teams gunners.

  10. Never thought I’d see the day when the Steelers organization became a dumpster fire. They may be more dysfunctional than the Redskins. Art Rooney Sr. must be turning over in his grave.

  11. The fact that JuJu won over him should tell you what ABs teammates think about him personally. Sounds like they hate his guts to me.

  12. This in season, team chosen MVP business is a problem waiting to happen.

    I looked around a bit. Seems it has been going on forever, but a lot of teams have stopped it, New England for instance. Sadly shutting it down now is closing the barn door after the cow got out.

    I think a few weeks need to pass before anything meaningful will happen. My bet. Ben and Juju and AB hook up. It will go well or …

  13. Next season Tomlin is going to make sure that every player gets voted MVP. That should take care of everyone’s feelings.

  14. I’ve never even heard of a team MVP, for any team (voted on by players no less) until this incident.

  15. Sorry but I just do not want to buy this theory. I’m choosing to believe that a professional athlete would not throw this kind of hissy fit because he wasn’t voted most popular.

  16. If Conner hadn’t gotten hurt, he’d have probably qualified as team MVP. Counting the game he got hurt, they went 1-3 without him.
    Also, Ben needs to retire and they need to get younger at the quarterback position.

  17. whole team is becoming a joke. coaches tripping players, pulling hair, running onto the field, qb trouble off field, bell issuea and now brown acting like a petted little baby. Time to wipe the slat and clean house and go forward.

  18. Frankly the MVP should go to either the OL and DL, the guys in the trenches. Without the OL holding off the opposition just long enough for Ben to throw the ball, for the WR to make their move, run their route, to get open. Not one of these WRs would last a game on the LOS. Sorry Brown, SS, you don’t deserve the award.

  19. colt13 says:
    January 3, 2019 at 11:01 am
    He is close with T.Y.Hilton, interesting to see if they can talk the Colts into trading for him.

    ———–

    Things are going well in Indy. Why would you introduce this headcase into your locker room?

  20. Why does the wide receiver position tend to draw so many “diva” players? AB really seems to have a problem with Juju getting so many looks and this might have pushed him over the edge. Or maybe it’s something else altogether.

    The Steelers have been doing this team-voted award forever, and I don’t recall it ever being an issue before. I think a punter (Josh Miller?) even won one year. Maybe the teammates gave it to Juju because he’s a better teammate. Like he doesn’t throw fits when things aren’t all about him.

  21. I’ve seen it on sports teams and I’ve seen it in business. Giving out internal MVP awards usually causes more negative than positive feelings. You make one person happy but alienate all those people who thought they were deserving of the award. And people, by nature, tend to value their own contributions the most.

  22. Diva. Probably expects some type of special trophy for collecting his millions. Great player, but not a great teammate.

  23. This is such a joke. The team MVP for 2018 was Ben and it has been Ben almost since the time he became a Steeler.

  24. AB is the hardest working player on the Steelers hands down but his ego gets in the way. The Saints game was one of the best performances I have seen from him in a while and I can understand how he may be upset with the team vote but he has had his accolade in that regard already. JuJu played injured and played his heart out and was distraught over his fumble against the Saints. The team vote makes sense to lift up a young player who gives his all. AB should be mature enough to accept it. I mean he bought a $20,000 ring with 100 diamonds forming the shape of a goat. Wasn’t that enough?

  25. jquaste says:
    January 3, 2019 at 11:03 am
    Never thought I’d see the day when the Steelers organization became a dumpster fire. They may be more dysfunctional than the Redskins. Art Rooney Sr. must be turning over in his grave.

    ———————

    The dumpster has been smoldering for a few seasons now. It was only a matter of time before it went up in flames.

  26. Voting JU JU MVP was stupid and silly. Voting DURING the season was unnecessary stupid and silly.
    The players who voted for him deserve some blame and should man up and explain themselves.
    Steeler MVP in order…
    1. AB
    2. Ben
    3. Connor
    4. Ju Ju

  27. This just proves that Brown cares more about himself and his stats than being a team player and winning. He’s been jealous of JuJu since the day they drafted him. What a little baby.

  28. no excuse for browns actions whatsoever, but if what james jones said is true, i hold ben just as accountable. also, this team mvp thing before the end of the year sounds like some childish thing concocted by somebody to try and put brown is his place. that’s on tomlin. between all this ab big ben drama and the pilfering of lev bells locker, who lets this type of shenanigans go on?

  29. monsterscream says:
    January 3, 2019 at 10:50 am
    The narrative is hilarious coming from the media. Nobody wants to look at the real problem which is the QB.

    ===================

    The QB is the only thing that has kept this team relevant for the last decade. Say what you like about him, but without Roethlisberger, this team wouldn’t stand a chance.

  30. >>Team MVP snub may have sparked Antonio Brown’s ire

    The obvious solution is to cut the entire team except for AB.
    Teach them not to cross AB.
    😉

    Seriously, if the TEAM voted for Juju then maybe AB should look in the mirror.
    Ask a few trusted players why he didn’t win it and learn from that.

  31. QB calls out teammates in the media, the RB and WR think they are bigger than the team, the coach is everybody’s best friend and the team underperforms year after year after year.

  32. footballpat says:
    January 3, 2019 at 11:34 am
    Don’t blame him this atmosphere was created by Tomlin
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It was, but an individual is ALWAYS responsible for their own actions regardless of the circumstances.

  33. Who cares at this point? The Steelers are at home on the couch and the playoffs are just starting. They have selfish players, a coach that has lost what little control he had of the team, and an owner that wont do anything about it. Thats really all that needs to be said until the draft about the Steelers.

  34. hedleykow says:
    January 3, 2019 at 11:29 am
    He pulled a shutdown because he didn’t get his way. hmm
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Funny joke but you are hilariously uninformed. He has not received anything to veto yet so the shutdown is not on him even though he said he would take the blame.

  35. A week or so ago when PFT reported Smith-Schuster won it over Ben Roethlisberger I was questioning why it wasn’t about Antonio Brown. I figured that was a much bigger story. I realize sometimes there is an anti-Ben thing working, but this was an obvious punch thrown at Brown from his teammates. But it wasn’t the snub that caused Brown’s behavior. It was Brown’s behavior that originally caused the voting snub. We don’t have access to the Steelers’ locker room, but the players do. This reminds me of when the Eagles got rid of Desean Jackson and Shady McCoy. From the outside it looked like a questionable move, but inside the Eagles’ locker room there were probably very few questions. They won the super bowl the very next year, so any questions were quickly answered. I think getting rid of Bell and Brown could put the Steelers right back in the super bowl next year. They call that addition by subtraction, or getting rid of the cancer. Either way, it makes for a healthier environment, and a better football team.

  36. If the Steelers really want to send the message that the party is over…trade him or cut him…if he remains on the team, then it’ll be the same because Brown has absolutely no restraint!!!

  37. mrplow3 says:
    Huh? Hes only been team MVP once and that was like 10 years ago. Why would he care now all of the sudden?

    Because Smith Schuster is a wide receiver as well. Basically the team is saying Brown isnt the most important Wide Receiver.

  38. People, the circus is here to stay. The clowns are preparing for their grand finale in the offseason. Stay tuned.

  39. lonelylibertarian says:
    January 3, 2019 at 11:54 am
    Voting JU JU MVP was stupid and silly. Voting DURING the season was unnecessary stupid and silly.
    The players who voted for him deserve some blame and should man up and explain themselves.
    Steeler MVP in order…
    1. AB
    2. Ben
    3. Connor
    4. Ju Ju

    ————-

    Ever stop to think that they might be sending AB a message?

  40. I used my brilliant mind to determine that it had to do with Ju Ju getting all the love or getting enough balls thrown to him so AB didnt reach his contract amount and missed a big bonus?
    Now that I hear about MVP, ya that too makes a lot of sense. The team should have just done two MVP’s and kept everyone happy.

  41. mrplow3 says:

    January 3, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Huh? Hes only been team MVP once and that was like 10 years ago. Why would he care now all of the sudden?
    ———————-

    I guess you missed the section where it said he’s won it 4 times. The last being last year.

  42. You can warn people. Say “hey! Do not do that”! But they do it anyway. Time and time again, NFL Super Stars go on the cover of Madden Football. They ignore the curse. They ignore the warnings. But the proof is in the pudding! 🙂

  43. Not defending Brown’s childish behavior here but… Why do teams vote for an internal MVP? seems like a really silly thing to do. What is the point?

  44. It’s really pathetic to read some of these comments from people never having played for the Steelers or been in their meetings lockerroom or at their practices. These so called experts are judge and jury without any factual basis…..in other words just plain internet trolls preaching like they really know the gospel…..which they don’t. From all appearances it appears Brown is a very self centered person needing constant praise and adulation, but an adult at 30 having accomplished what he has it should not be an issue but it appears to be. What is Tomlin to do…..? Don’t say cut him because no coach in the league would do that….even Belicheat.
    So enjoy your chance to pile on the Steelers,Tomlin, and AB but without the facts you are just making noise and revealing your simplistic analytical ability.

  45. I just get the impression that there are multiple Steelers players who are allowed to be absolute babies. We all know about Big Ben’s whining and expressions of self-pity. We know about AB’s nonsense. Last year there was Bryant. Bell felt the need to refuse to play for $14 million. It’s all about leadership….Tomlin clearly allows this nonsense.

  46. When your best player is so worried about his team MVP title you don’t make the playoffs. That is just a symptom of what ills this team.

  47. Nobody is going to care what made Antonio Clown whine for the 1000th time this year. The only thing people are going to care about is how much lying about “injuries” the Steelers have been doing all these years. No doubt this is going to be the team’s demise. Wouldn’t be surprised if Rooney is already entertaining offers to move out of Pittsburgh and make it all go away.

  48. Nofoolnodrool says:
    January 3, 2019 at 12:36 pm
    It’s really pathetic to read some of these comments from people never having played for the Steelers or been in their meetings lockerroom or at their practices. These so called experts are judge and jury without any factual basis…..in other words just plain internet trolls preaching like they really know the gospel…..which they don’t. From all appearances it appears Brown is a very self centered person needing constant praise and adulation, but an adult at 30 having accomplished what he has it should not be an issue but it appears to be. What is Tomlin to do…..? Don’t say cut him because no coach in the league would do that….even Belicheat.
    So enjoy your chance to pile on the Steelers,Tomlin, and AB but without the facts you are just making noise and revealing your simplistic analytical ability.

    ——

    so you make the “From all appearances it appears Brown is a very self centered person needing constant praise and adulation” judgment after not being on the Steelers team, or being in their meetings, locker room or practices.

    no different from the rest of us.

  49. When you have a member of the team who is an immature baby, and you know this for a fact, don’t have guys vote for team MVP before the last game has been played. I did not realize that teams did this, or is it just a Steeler thing?

  50. So sick of Brown and his antics. He’s all about his “brand”, and I’m now wondering if this was somehow all staged (a la the NBA) in order to try and force the Steelers to trade him. First he sends out that ridiculous tweet about his “free will”, and then he’s on The Masked Singer doing “My Prerogative”. This feigned persecution complex is of his own making. He brought all of the “everybody’s talkin’ all stuff about me” on himself. Look in the mirror AB.

  51. Why would ANY “team” vote for an MVP??
    What possible good could come from it? Things like this tear teams down by highlighting individuals. Let the media and fans have their fun and do stuff like this, not the teams themselves.

  52. I guess its true what they say… Little BRATS if not corrected Grow up to be BIG BRATS. This guy needs toget a clue. Amazing player horrible teammate. You can keep him

  53. Come to New England, AB, and be “Patriot of the Week”.

    Wait, there is no such thing as “Patriot of the Week” and yet that bogus story was big news for a long time.

    Now, the Steelers… there you have some REAL dysfunction!

  54. WOW just wow…if the veteran player and middle aged father of 5 is jealous of his 22 year old teammate for stepping up in his 2nd year with the team and being voted by their peers as the MVP of the *entire season* then he has a serious problem… JuJu was clutch(except for the fumble against the Saints) whereas AB was noticeably slower this season lwhich resulted in several interceptions while he was being targeted pretty sure other factors went into JuJu being awarded the MVP it’s too bad the veteran WR wasn’t mature enough to be happy for him.pathetic!

  55. Somewhere TJ is wondering what the heck he has to do to get elected team MVP. At least he didn’t leave the team when he heard the bad news. 🙂

  56. Tomlin should be thankful for this drama. It should be just enough to redirect any discussion about how the team performed this year. AB should be named team MVP for that fact alone.

  57. Looking at the other side of the coin, it could be the onset of CTE. It seems that this year, Brown’s behavior on and off of the field has become increasingly erratic, and in a few instances, downright dangerous. Throwing furniture off of a balcony, driving his car 100 mph, picking fights… He certainly wasn’t like this in his earlier playing days.

  58. A TRUE MVP…ESPECIALLY one who has already won it multiple times AND has gotten PAID…would be happy for his teammate. But nope – not this guy.

  59. bradygirl12 says:
    January 3, 2019 at 1:50 pm
    Looking at the other side of the coin, it could be the onset of CTE. It seems that this year, Brown’s behavior on and off of the field has become increasingly erratic, and in a few instances, downright dangerous. Throwing furniture off of a balcony, driving his car 100 mph, picking fights… He certainly wasn’t like this in his earlier playing days.

    ————————-

    Not disagreeing with you, but by all accounts, AB has been a jerk going, at least, back to his high school days. In 2012, there was enough of his true nature showing at the Steelers’ facility for Ryan Clark to make the statements he made. Apparently telling the defensive players not to touch him, “he was the franchise.” So, not saying he doesn’t have CTE, but if he does, it has only magnified is true self.

  60. MyCommentIsAwaitingModeration says:
    January 3, 2019 at 11:25 am
    Things are going well in Indy. Why would you introduce this headcase into your locker room?
    —————————————————–
    AB is not a headcase. JuJu should be thinking AB for even being mentioned for that team award. JuJu would not be JuJu if AB didnt take that heat off him with him being on the other side of the field. I’d be mad too, if the team decided to name someone MVP who fumbled the ball during a critical possession and caused them to lose the game. It looks like BooHoo is the real crybaby crying after that fumble.

  61. steelpenguin6687 says:

    January 3, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    bradygirl12 says:
    January 3, 2019 at 1:50 pm
    Looking at the other side of the coin, it could be the onset of CTE. It seems that this year, Brown’s behavior on and off of the field has become increasingly erratic, and in a few instances, downright dangerous. Throwing furniture off of a balcony, driving his car 100 mph, picking fights… He certainly wasn’t like this in his earlier playing days.

    ————————-

    Not disagreeing with you, but by all accounts, AB has been a jerk going, at least, back to his high school days. In 2012, there was enough of his true nature showing at the Steelers’ facility for Ryan Clark to make the statements he made. Apparently telling the defensive players not to touch him, “he was the franchise.” So, not saying he doesn’t have CTE, but if he does, it has only magnified is true self.

    ________________________________

    I see your point…I was not aware that his behavior goes all the way back to high school.

  62. At the end of the day despite all the drama…..AB is still a Steeler and a top receiver in the NFL. Glad he’s a Steeler. They practically won the division this year comming a half game short and have consistently won the division the last few years. Although their goal came short of winning the sb this year so will 31 other teams. They will eventually claim number 7.

  63. no different from the rest of us.

    I knew the word appearances would be lost on those more obtuse trolls. I clearly stated from whence my judgement comes unlike you loud mouth trolls throwing bombs like you had the facts to support your knee jerk fanboy comments. I understand you hate a team and it controls your little mind but that doesnt give you a pass to so obtuse.

  64. Good lord. Maybe it’s time the Steelers got rid of team mvp voting altogether. Hurts too many feelings evidently.

  65. Imagine if you’re one of the best people in your field. At trade shows people come up and talk to you, ask you for advice. You carry weight. You’ve been with the company for a long time also and areestablished as one of the industry leaders in market share.

    In a crucial project your company chooses a jr level employee to work a massive project that you volunteered for and he couldn’t bring the team up to speed. You lose the bid and the company lays off people and can’t achieve the goal.

    You’re just gonna sit there and be okay with it?

    I think most people have WRs mispegged as divas. Those guys are passionate football players and want to help their team win. Hard to do your job without the ball in your hands though so they feel under-utilized. Feeling like you can do more for your company without being allowed to do it will drive anybody nuts.

  66. I am shocked how long it took the media to put one and one together, I had a feeling this is why he got so mad and salty because his team voted for his counterpart as the MVP. He does not like the success JuJu is having. AB would rather for his team to go 4-12 as long as he gets 120 catches and 1850 yards and 18 TDs. Pathetic.

  67. What a selfish guy.

    Cut him, you will never, ever win with guys like this. It’ all about him, has stats and his success.

    Great Player, but not a winning player.

    WRs are the easiest position to find. Cut him, draft a guy, sign a guy in FA and move forward.

  68. Steelers FO shares plenty of blame for poor choices of late but AB is an emotional juvenile. Take my ball and go home Antonio? To where? You and Ben had RARE chemistry and wherever you land you will have less success. I used to admire you bro…but now am disgusted by your selfish behavior. Hope to land a first rounder and get a player who isn’t yet spoked rotten.

  69. What if all 52 other guys who didn’t win pitched a hissy fit? Why did Antonio just assume the team would vote for him?

    ======================================

    Probably because there isn’t another guy on the team who is arguably the best in the world. I don’t agree with his actions but on the field the guy is clearly the most valuable player on the field.

  70. I genuinely do not know, do many/all the teams in the league vote for a team MVP?

    I can see an end of year gag vote for “loudest snoring in team meetings,” or smelliest armpits, but team MVP strikes me as absurd.

  71. Despite being a baby he’s right. He’s the MVP and the JU JU thing was a diss by his teammates.

  72. Maybe Tomlin needs to hand out MVP/participation trophy’s to all the Steelers so their will not be any disappointed players.

  73. Ben didn’t want to come back
    Bell is gone
    AB I can’t imagine will be anything but traded, and the HC is on the hot seat.

    Wow what a HUGE fall from the peak of that division. HC should quit now!

  74. Ben didn’t want to come back
    Bell is gone
    AB I can’t imagine will be anything but traded, and the HC is on the hot seat.

    Wow what a HUGE fall from the peak of that division. HC should just put his hat in the ring fir someplace else!

  75. Yeah, there’s more to this than just on-field performance. My guess is that his teammates don’t think much of AB, so they didn’t want to vote for him.

    Playing a sport at a very high level demands a certain amount of ego, which also feeds competitiveness. I’m not in any way defending AB’s behavior, and I hate the Steelers, but there is also no way that any of us can relate in any way to what these guys lives are like. A player at AB’s level is more like a rock star than some contrived idea of the mythical gentleman athlete.

    Of course his ego is huge and of course his behavior is seen as unacceptable by us Normals. But his talent allows him to exist in a different world with different expectations from the rest of us.

    We all want our heroes to be role models, or at least decent people who we can relate to. I’ve been exposed to enough behind-the-scenes nonsense with celebrities of varying levels to accept the fact that most of them aren’t anything like normal people – or, really, who they appear to be – and much of what we think we know is really just PR people doing their jobs.

    Don’t expect too much from AB – he’s good at his job (other than being a decent teammate, apparently) and I wouldn’t invest anything else in him, emotionally. Even guys who play the “good guy” game aren’t always like that, they just hide it better.

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