Antonio Brown makes big plays after catching Ben Roethlisberger's passes in just about every game. The four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver is known to celebrate for his amazing contributions to the Steelers offense, which is a no-no in today's NFL. Therefore, it's not uncommon for him to get hit with unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
Being targeted by the refs is nothing new for AB. But Big Ben claims that the officials are going after AB in the Steelers' big games when millions of fans are watching, not the smaller games against less respected competition.
When Roethlisberger appeared on Pittsburgh's 93.7 FM The Fan sports talk radio station Tuesday, he said the NFL targets Brown during the more publicized games, including last Thursday when Brown was penalized and fined after he celebrated with teammate Le'Veon Bell. The QB's exact words, via CBS Sports:
"I know for a fact that he scores touchdowns at 1 o'clock games that aren’t the big time games and they haven’t flagged him. I just think that it was him, it was Bell, it was Thanksgiving. I think (the officials) were put on notice. Those are two of the biggest names in the sport, so when [they] do something, things can happen."
Roethlisberger added that he predicted that Brown would get a celebration penalty during the game, and detailed that the official even admonished the team about the star wideout's dancing on the field.
"I knew that that (a celebration penalty) was gonna happen at some point," Roethlisberger said. "I think it was the Washington game, AB and DeAngelo (Williams) did a little dance coming off the field, and I know the ref said something to us. It’s a prime time game, everyone is watching."
Big Ben also talked about how he and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin have talked with Brown about how his celebrations have cost the team field position during games that they can't afford.
"Coach Tomlin brought it up (Monday)," Big Ben said. "That is a huge penalty that we can’t do. We put our cover team in a bad situation, and we can’t have it. AB knows that… he gets caught up in the moment sometimes."