In the lead-up to the AFC Championship Game, the major story was the drama surrounding Antonio Brown’s decision to Facebook Live a video from the Steelers locker room after their Divisional Round playoff victory.

The Facebook Live video drew the ire of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who was caught trying to fire up his troops in advance of the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots. Brown profusely apologized multiple times for disrupting the carefully balanced order of the National Football League locker room and potentially giving the Patriots any bulletin board material they probably didn’t even need in the first place.

While it may be a stretch to label this a “controversy” it definitely drew a lot of attention in this past week. Why would Brown choose to go live on Facebook at that opportune time? Why would he risk exposing a private moment with his coach and his team to the world? Could it be because he just got caught up in the moment nad did what any social media-loving millennial would do? Or was it because Facebook pays him a large sum of money in a lucrative business arrangement.

Turns out it’s actually the latter.

Via NFL.com:

Steelers receiver Antonio Brown’s much-publicized use of Facebook Live last week wasn’t an accident or a random event.

The star pass-catcher, who drew the public ire of coach Mike Tomlin, will play against the Patriots on Sunday, a week after opening up his team’s postgame locker room to hundreds of thousands of people via a live stream video. And he did so as a company man.

Brown actually has a big-time marketing deal with Facebook, sources say, part of his lucrative off-the-field portfolio. The deal is worth in the high six-figures, per the same sources.

And that explains everything.

It’s a fascinating subplot that ties a bow on this story and it’s really a brilliant marketing ploy from Facebook, if indeed they got Brown to capture intimate moments from the team. Just think about how much free marketing Facebook Live has got with this story in the headlines for pretty much the last seven days?

The NFL has been known to hand out some ridciulous fines over the years, but my guess is nothing the league or the Steelers will do will offset Brown getting paid with those Mark Zuckerberg dollars. To that end, it seems to be a profitable partnership for the Steelers wide receiver, who will have an entire offseason to now think of new creative ways in which to live stream on Facebook.

[NFL.com]

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.