“You’re either with us or against us”: Inside Antonio Brown’s stunning departure

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In the locker room when one of the most dramatic games of this or any NFL season had ended, Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians told his players—all except the most famous former one, Antonio Brown—how proud he was of them.

“You’re either with us or against us,” Arians said after the Bucs outscored the Jets 18-0 in the last 17 minutes Sunday to beat New York 28-24. “And I want you to know I’ll take the guys in this locker room and go play anyone in the world.”

Arians took a big gamble with Brown last year, and he made a significant contribution to a Super Bowl win. Arians took a bigger gamble this year after Brown used a phony vaccination card, got suspended for three games by the league, and the Bucs allowed him to stay on the team post-ban. That was even after Arians said Brown would be gone if he made one mistake.

Now there’s no turning back for either man. It’d be stunning if Brown, barring a major turnaround in his life, got another chance in the league after blowing this golden one and his previous three with the Steelers, Raiders and Patriots. And Arians will be forever known as the man who drew his line in the sand, then changed his mind on Brown, and got burned by Sunday’s insubordination.

“It’s a shame,” said Arians. “I feel bad for him. He just can’t help himself.”

Brown may need professional help, but it’s impossible to project that from the outside. What he did Sunday was irrational and almost scary.

This is what happened on a strange afternoon in New Jersey:

With about 3:30 left in the third quarter, the Bucs driving and the Jets leading 24-10, Arians said he asked Brown to go back in the game. According to Arians, Brown said, “Nope. I’m not going in.” The Athletic reported Brown’s ankle was sore, and that’s the reason why he wouldn’t go in. Whatever the reason, Arians told me he was “very” angry with Brown, who went to the bench area and began taking off his jersey and pads. At first, vet receiver Mike Evans tried to stop Brown, but, according to Arians, “he had that look in his eye that I haven’t seen for a long time.” Evans couldn’t stop Brown, who took his jersey, pads and black T-shirt off, tossing the shirt into the stands. He left the field, giving the peace sign to fans as he went up the end zone tunnel.

Meanwhile, Brady marched the undermanned Bucs receivers downfield, and two minutes later finished a TD drive with a four-yard pass to Cam Brate. When I asked Arians what Brady thought of the scene, he said, “I don’t think Tom knew. I knew and Mike Evans knew, but if anyone else did, I don’t know that. We kept playing the game.”

Brady led a 93-yard drive in the closing minute and threw a perfect 33-yard scoring pass to the inexperienced Cyril Grayson, who will probably be taking some of Brown’s playing time now. That won the game with 15 seconds left. Fifteen seconds is how long Tampa led the spunky Jets on this strange day.

“It’s all a credit to Tom,” Arians said. “Give the Jets credit. They played their asses off, but Tom never blinked. He’s the MVP of this league.”

Arians said the team, post-game, was excited, and he loves the young receivers that remain. But prime wideout Chris Godwin, out for the year with a knee injury, and now Brown, are two of Brady’s favorites—and maybe THE favorites. Without them, look for Brady to work long hours with Grayson, Jaelon Darden and Tyler Johnson to be sure they’re ready when the postseason begins.

For now, Brady sounded loyal to Brown, and urged those who might demonize him not to rush to judgment. “I think everyone should be very compassionate and empathetic toward some very difficult things that are happening,” Brady said, not being specific.

“I hope he can get fixed,” said Arians.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column

Super Bowl squares 2023: Explanation, how to play, rules and printable template


Star quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts are set to go head-to-head today, Super Bowl Sunday, when the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.

Even if you’re home watching on the couch, you can still get in on the action by filling out your squares, which has become a Super Bowl tradition.

What are Super Bowl squares and what is the format?

A board features 10 rows and 10 columns, adding up to 100 squares total. One of the teams is assigned the rows, while the other team is assigned the columns.

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Each person in the pool then chooses one (or multiple) squares, depending on your pool’s rules. In some pools, squares are randomly assigned, while you may choose your own square in other pools.

After all the squares have been filled, numbers between zero and nine are randomly chosen for each row and column.

How do Super Bowl squares work? How do I win?

Each square has a corresponding row and column number. At the end of each quarter, the player whose two numbers match the end digits of each team’s point total will win.

RELATED: Why does the Super Bowl use Roman numerals for naming?

For example, if the score at the end of the first quarter is Chiefs 13, Eagles 7, the player whose box corresponds with “3” for Kansas City and “7” for Philadelphia would win.

Most pools pay out for the final score at the end of each quarter, for a total of four winners (1st quarter, halftime, 3rd quarter, final score). Some pools pay out for every score throughout the game.

Where can I find a template for Super Bowl squares?

NBC Sports has provided a template below, complete with a 10 by 10 grid. Fans can click here to print this template out to use for their Super Bowl squares.

How can I watch and live stream Super Bowl 2023?

  • When: Sunday, February 12, 2023
  • Where: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
  • TV Channel: FOX
  • Follow along with ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports for NFL news, updates, scores, injuries, and more

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season and Playoffs, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

Marry Your Passion With Your Curiosity: Panelists Discuss Building Your Brand in Leadup to Super Bowl LVII


Fans in every color jersey of the rainbow internationally will tune into Super Bowl LVIII this Sunday. Ahead of the game, NBCU Academy partnered with PNE Showcase and Arizona State University to bring students and professionals an inside look at the people who color outside the lines for the National Football league.

The three powerhouses co-hosted the Building and Being Your Brand seminar in hopes of helping students and other national professionals identify their brand and the best ways to communicate the pillars of their brand to the masses.

There are just under 4,000 people employed by the NFL, which makes for hundreds of job paths within the league. As the panel began, NFL international marketing and player relations manager Emily Wirtz spoke about how her roots in Germany translated into the role she has now.

The first door opened for Wirtz in the NFL was as a digital video editor and producer. Wirtz transparently admitted she did not feel qualified for the job but with an extra push from her father, she decided to still go after the interview.

“My dad told me that even if I do not land the job, it will at least be good interview practice,” Wirtz said.

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Wirtz still thanks her father to this day. Her video supervisor learned she spoke German and instantly recommended her for a role within the NFL’s global expansion. She would go on to execute the first NFL game in Germany. Germany’s first official exposure to American football at the highest level sold out of millions of tickets in three minutes.

“When we are on the way to these international games in London, Germany and Mexico City, the NFL staff, we’re usually on a big bus or van,” Wirtz said. “In the van it’s about 40 of us and we’re literally trying to find a fan in one of the jerseys of all 32 teams. When we see someone we are like Chargers, Rams or whatever the team is! Every international game I’ve been to, all 5, we’ve been able to spot someone in each jersey.”

By showing up as her authentic self, Wirtz was able to leverage her job. All five of the panelists promoted a “helmet-off” approach to the game. This idea promotes getting to know the stories of the players to help advance the game.

Director of NFL college and club social marketing Sana Merchant-Rupani discussed taking on tasks that require you to grow. Before joining the league, Merchant-Rupani worked in digital marketing at Empire State Realty Trust. In the position, she was tasked with creating an Instagram presence for the company.

Merchant-Rupani had no experience with Instagram when taking on this task but it directly led her into her current role.

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“You have to marry your passion with your curiosity,” Merchant-Rupani said.

Senior manager of NFL game operations Karley Berry further emphasized Merchant-Rupani’s message by presenting the contrast. Berry posited that if a job is presented to someone and they check off all the job requirements, then the job is not for them.

The entire audience was initially confused by the statement but as Berry went on, she explained you must take a job that will offer you something new and will leave you with an extra skill you did not have going into the position.

Prior to stepping into the game operations realm, Berry took her first step into the football world when she was a recruiting assistant at Penn State University.

Growing up around Nittany Lion football her entire life, she knew the brand of the university’s football team. While in State College, PA, she challenged the recruitment staff to go after men with outstanding character.

“When we would go on home visits, I would make sure to pay attention,” Berry said. Berry wanted to be intentional with her tactics and believed the best players were those that were good people on and off the field.

Merchant-Rupani, Berry and Wirtz all used elements of their personal brand to succeed in their current spaces to get to their dream work destination. This message was passed on to the audience through painting their journey through experiences.

“We all know about Patrick Mahomes. There are other stories,” senior manager of NFL social marketing Jordan Dolbin said.

RELATED: Chiefs Super Bowl history

Dolbin called on storytellers to push their limits. She wanted to ensure she was challenging audience members to go beneath the surface of the performers with the best stat numbers.

She brought up a story she came across during her Super Bowl preparation that was a “where are they now’ approach to telling the stories of all the players that caught interceptions against Maholmes in high school.

“Now, that is the story I will remember when this is all over,” Dolbin said.

Cincinnati Bengals special teamer Trayveon Williams added his experience to the panel, emphasizing exploring his other interests outside of football. He also commended today’s players for the tenacity in their approach to leaving a legacy outside of football.

The panel agreed collectively their main reason for taking time away from all the Super Bowl work obligations and festivities was to provide the representation they did not see while carving out their career paths.

NBCU Academy will be virtually hosting the Next Level Summit on March 22, 2023.

Author’s Note: Alexis Davis is currently in her last semesters in Walter Cronkite’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She received her bachelor’s from North Carolina A&T State University in multimedia journalism in May 2022. Davis is a featured writer for the MEAC conference. Davis also switches between play-by-play announcer, analyst and sideline reporter for the PAC-12 conference’s app. She also hosts a podcast focusing on international basketball players and their fashion experiences called What’s in Your Bag?