It seems we just can’t get back to football around here.
In a conference call with reporters this morning, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick expanded upon the communication and headset issues that took place at Gillette Stadium in last night’s 28-21 season-opening win over the Steelers.
“I’d just say, kind of tying this in with a couple things from last week or earlier in the week, I just think overall it’s kind of sad, really, to see some stories written that obviously have an agenda to them with misinformation and anonymous-type comments and writing about warm drinks and trash cans and stuff like that.’’ Belichick said. “I think it’s just sad commentary and it’s gone to a pretty low level. It’s sunk pretty deep.’’
Belichick went on to defend past teams and former players against the recently rehashed Spygate-related charges raised by two high profile media reports that came out earlier in the week.
“I think that our program here is built on competition and trying to improve every day and trying to work hard, and it’s not built on excuses,’’ Belichick said. “We just try to go to work and improve and find a way to get better. This organization has won a lot of games, but particularly in reference to the great teams from ’01, ’03, ’04 and back in there, all the great players that played on those teams – Ty Law, [Lawyer] Milloy, Otis Smith, Rodney Harrison, [Tedy] Bruschi, [Larry] Izzo, [Willie] McGinest, [Mike] Vrabel, [Anthony] Pleasant, [Richard] Seymour, Matt Light, [Joe] Andruzzi, Steve Neal, [Deion] Branch, Troy Brown, [Tom] Brady, Antowain Smith, Kevin Faulk, Corey Dillon, Lonie Paxton, [Adam] Vinatieri – to take away from what those guys accomplished, what those teams accomplished, how good they were, how many great players we had, how well they played in big games, how they consistently showed up and made big plays and game-winning plays, it’s just not right.
“Those guys, they were great players – and many more – but those are a few of them, and great teams, so I’m not going to get into a back and forth on it, but that’s the way I feel about it.’’
When Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the headset issues after Thursday night’s game, he said “that’s always the case’’ when playing the Patriots in Foxborough. But Belichick reiterated Friday that the Patriots have also been dealing with communication problems, including last night.
“There is a lot of stuff going on there,’’ Belichick said. “Like just as an example, we had some problems in the first half and then it seemed to be OK, and then we got to the end of the game, and the most problems we had were our last possessions – our last two possessions on offense and defense. Sometimes it goes along and it’s fine and then for some reason something happens and then you go the guys on the sidelines – the blue hats or the purple hats, whatever they’re called – and you tell them about it and they fix it..
“I don’t know enough about technology to know how any of that works, but that’s how it goes. We ended up hard wiring a couple of our headsets to kind of eliminate the wireless part of it. It’s not an uncommon problem. We ended up having to signal a couple our plays offensively, and we couldn’t get them in. We look at it as something you have to be ready for every week, and we practice it. Home, away – I don’t really think there is any common denominator on that.’’
On Friday morning, the NFL released a statement stating that the league will investigate the matter: “The coaches’ communications equipment, including the headsets, is provided by the NFL for both clubs use on game day. The home team is responsible for the installation and maintenance of that equipment. Every team’s game day communications personnel are required to work with the NFL communications consultants to ensure wireless equipment is free and clear of interference and address any problems. Technological and stadium infrastructure issues of this type happen at many stadiums around the league and whenever there are issues of this nature, we do a thorough review.’’
Prior to last night’s game, Tom Brady also addressed the recent reports attacking the Patriots saying ESPN’s report on Spygate did a “disservice to the game’’ in his weekly interview with Jim Gray on Westwood One according to WEEI.com.
“I’ve pretty much ignored them, truthfully,’’ Brady told Gray per the WEEI.com report. “I think that’s a lot of things that are being said that I don’t necessarily agree with and if people feel that way about our team like I said, and people are critical of the way things are being reported, if those things ever happened or they didn’t happen — none of it really matters to me. I know what we’ve accomplished, we’ve had so many great players, coaches. I just think the only disservice is it takes away from the greatness of the playing that has actually happened. To take away from the actual games and talk about some of the things that were reported, I just think is a disservice to the game of football.’’
Brady also told Gray that he’s doesn’t resent the NFL for the way he was treated during the Deflategate scandal.
“No, not at all,’’ Brady said. “And I think that would be just as harmful to me as it would be to anybody else. Carrying those feelings and emotions with me are very destructive. I understand everybody has a job to do and everyone is trying to do what they feel may be in the best interests of their own particular position, and I respect that.
“I may disagree with some things, but at the same time I understand they have a perspective on what their decision may be, also. So I don’t think I’m resentful at all.’’
Belichick’s best Patriots draft picks: