FOXBORO -- Nothing was at stake in thePatriots' regular-season finale last year against the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots had already clinched the No. 1 overall seed and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. So their game against the Dolphins was a glorified scrimmage. And personnel decisions made by Bill Belichick that day indicated that.
Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer was inserted mid-drive early in the second quarter and then replaced again by Tom Brady before halftime. The effort by the coaching staff was to give Hoyer a feel for being subbed in on the fly. Belichick said on Friday there would be no such whimsical exercises in Sunday's season finale against Buffalo. "If this were a game that has literally no bearing on the standings that's one thing," Belichick acknowledgd. "I wouldn't say we're really in that situation this time."Every game's important and there's important things in each game and we'll prepare for this game just like we have the last 15," Belichick added. "That's the best wayI can put it. We'll prepare for this game like every one of the others."In other words, the starters go until the game's secured.
Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown posted an apology on social media Tuesday night for his Facebook Live video that has caused a stir over the last few days.
"I let my emotions and genuine excitement get the best of me, and I wanted to share that moment with our fans," said Brown in a statement on his Twitter. ""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."
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that he has “absolutely no worries on the video's effect" on Sunday's game against the Patriots, but it was "selfish and inconsiderate" of his star wide receiver.
Brown could still be fined for violating the league's social-media policy. The policy states that players, coaches and football operations personnel are banned from using social media on game days 90 minutes before kickoff, during games, and before "traditional media interviews."
Former NFL player Dan Koppen says the team locker room after a win is a sacred place and that Steelers WR Antonio Brown should know not to be posting on Facebook.