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Antonio Brown: The NFL’s best receiver and a truly great Pittsburgh Steeler

Not only is Antonio Brown the best receiver in the NFL, he's a clutch player who continues to provide many great moments for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Far be it from me to pick the low-hanging fruit from the Steelers 21-18 Week 1 victory over the Browns on Sunday, but how about that Antonio Brown, huh?

After catching 11 passes (on 11 targets, mind you) for 182 yards, how do you think Brown is feeling today?

If I know Brown, and if he's like every other receiver who ever lived, he's probably thinking he didn't get nearly enough targets against Cleveland.

He had to be open on every play, right?

Brown has been known to annoyingly make his quarterback/offensive coordinator/head coach aware of his prowess for getting open throughout his eight-year career.

As someone who played a lot of receiver in my day, I can certainly attest to the frustrations of running down field time and time again, without my quarterback even looking in my direction.

Therefore, if I, a non-athletic blob of a human being, feel the urgency to complain about not getting enough targets during my co-ed recreational flag football game, can you imagine how an athletically gifted human being feels during each and every NFL game, especially when he knows he's the top player at his position?

Before the 2015 campaign, Brown was most known for little dust-ups including disagreements with quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick and Landry Jones, along with offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

Then, suddenly, about the time when "Business is Boomin'" became Brown's catchphrase and the theme for everything he represents on the football field, fans started to become a bit preoccupied with how he conducted himself off of the field.

Who was Brown dating? How many kids did he have?

Was he all about himself and his stats, or was he all about winning?

Do any of those things matter, really?

I mean, if social media had existed back in the '60's and 70's, there are many former sports icons who may not be so iconic right about now.

Why does it matter what Brown does off the field, as long as he's not getting arrested and hurting the Steelers in the process?

That's the thing about Brown, for someone who’s supposedly so selfish, he’s incredibly dependable on the gridiron.

Take Sunday, for example.

Where were his fellow receivers Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers and Juju Smith-Schuster?

It's hard to say, really, since they teamed up to catch only four passes for 25 yards. But we did know where Brown was on Sunday, as did Cleveland's defense. But that didn't stop No. 84 from still being the best player on the field.

Just how dominant was Brown and just how integral was he to the Steelers victory in Cleveland?

The Steelers had 290 yards in total offense—only 108 more than Brown had all by himself.

Just under half of Roethlisberger's completions, and roughly 70 percent of his passing yards went to Brown.

Late in the second quarter, Pittsburgh's first offensive touchdown was set up by a deflected Roethlisberger pass hauled in by Brown who raced 50 yards down to the Cleveland 39-yard line. Prior to this play, the Steelers offense had posted only 41 yards.

In the third quarter, the Steelers second and final offensive touchdown was set up thanks to a 41-yard pass interference penalty on Browns cornerback Jamar Taylor who was charged and convicted of grabbing Brown’s left wrist on a deep sideline pass.

And finally, late in the final period, after the Browns had pulled to within three points, No. 84 saved the day, by out-jumping three defenders and coming down with a 38-yard pass from Roethlisberger that iced the game with 2:28 to go.

Seconds later, as I looked over at my uncle who, like me, was watching the replay of Brown's heroics, instead of complaining about Brown being a self-promoter or worrying about his Twitter activity, he said, "Man, he is unbelievable!"

When you examine Brown's body of work and how many times he's saved the team's bacon during his career, it's obvious he’s a team-first player.

It was Brown who seemingly did the impossible last Christmas Night at Heinz Field, when he fought through three Ravens defenders and extended his arm over the goal line to score the winning touchdown with mere seconds left, giving Pittsburgh the AFC North title.

It was Brown who pulled in the huge reception on 3rd-and-3 that clinched the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Chiefs on January 15.

If you want to go back to the last time the Steelers made it to the Super Bowl, it was Brown who pulled in the famous helmet catch on 3rd-and-19 that set-up the winning touchdown against the Ravens in the 2010/2011 AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field.

A week later, it was Brown who secured a first down and a trip to Super Bowl XLV with a third-down reception against the Jets in the AFC title game.

Besides being absolutely clutch, Brown has been dependable and durable throughout his legendary career in Pittsburgh.

What more could you want from a Pittsburgh Steeler than the things Antonio Brown brings to the game on a regular basis?