Steelers have headset issues in New England, Tomlin says 'that's always the case'
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin isn't saying the Patriots messed around with the Steeler coaches' headsets in the first half.
He's just saying, you know, it does seem to happen a lot when he plays in New England.
"We were listening to the Patriots radio broadcast for the majority of the first half on our headsets," Tomlin said after New England beat the Steelers 28-21 on Thursday night in the NFL opener.
Responding to a report on the TV broadcast that the Pittsburgh coaches lost the ability to talk over their headsets, Tomlin said, "That's always the case."
"Here?" a reporter asked.
"Yes," Tomlin said.
A league spokesman said Thursday night that the interference in the Steelers' headsets was "caused by a stadium power infrastructure issue, which was exacerbated by the inclement weather.
"The coaches' communications equipment, including the headsets, is provided by the NFL for both clubs' use on game day," NFL spokesman Michael Signora said.
And the Patriots said they had problems with their headsets, too.
"We deal with that, it seems like, weekly," Belichick said. "They were on the verge of shutting it off and then they got it fixed. It was a problem all night."
Other teams in the league have been suspicious of the Patriots at least since 2007, when the league caught coach Bill Belichick illegally taping opposing coaches' signals. The team's reputation took another hit last season when the Indianapolis Colts questioned whether the footballs New England used in the AFC title game were properly inflated.
After a lengthy investigation, Commissioner Roger Goodell docked the Patriots $1 million and two draft picks and suspended quarterback Tom Brady four games. A federal judge ruled last week that Brady's suspension was not permitted by the collective bargaining agreement.
Lest anyone think that would be the end of the scandal that came to be known as "Deflategate," though, the league has appealed. And this week, ESPN reported widespread suspicions around the league — many of them voiced anonymously, and never proven — that the Patriots commonly resort to this type of shenanigans, including intentionally jamming opponents' communication systems at Gillette Stadium.
Asked if he was accusing the Patriots of deliberate subterfuge, Tomlin said, "I said what I said."
The Steelers were missing two All-Pros on offense — running back Le'Veon Bell (suspended) and center Maurkice Pouncey (injured) — along with suspended receiver Martavis Bryant. Pittsburgh gained 464 yards and cut the deficit to seven points in the final seconds.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 351 yards and a late TD to All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown. DeAngelo Williams rushed for 127 yards substituting for Bell.