Signals were crossed on Thursday’s NFL season opener, and it’s unclear who — if anyone — is to blame.
In the Patriots 28-21 win over the Steelers, a Patriots radio broadcast played on the Steelers’ headsets, which interfered with communication between coaches. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said these sort of headset issues were commonplace at Gillette Stadium. In the context of a recent ESPN Outside the Lines report outlining Patriots’ cheating allegations, Tomlin’s comments raised eyebrows. So, too, did the Steelers’ website, as Steelers.com writer Bob Labriola chronicled the curious timing of the headset outages.
This is the kind of stuff that happens to the visiting team in Gillette Stadium all the time. From the start of the game through the opening 14 minutes of the first quarter, the Steelers’ coaches’ headsets were receiving the Patriots Radio Network broadcast of the game. The broadcast was so loud that the Steelers coaches were unable to communicate, and the NFL rule is that if one team’s headsets are not working the other team is supposed to be forced to take their headsets off. It’s what the NFL calls the Equity Rule. Strangely enough, whenever an NFL representative proceeded to the New England sideline to shut down their headsets, the Steelers headsets cleared. Then as the representative walked away from the New England sideline, the Steelers’ headsets again started to receive the Patriots game broadcast.
Bill Belichick’s not mad; this is just his RBF