FOXBORO, Mass. — It didn’t take long for the New England Patriots to find themselves in the middle of controversy this season.
NBC’s Al Michaels noted in the first quarter of Thursday night’s season opener at Gillette Stadium that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ coaches were being fed the Patriots’ radio broadcast into their headsets. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed such after the Patriots’ 28-21 win, and the NFL issued a statement on the communications issue.
The statement from NFL spokesman Michael Signora is below.
“In the first quarter of tonight’s game, the Pittsburgh coaches experienced interference in their headsets 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. Once the power issue was addressed, the equipment functioned properly with no additional issues.”
NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya added on Thursday’s broadcast that the communications issue was with Pittsburgh’s coach-to-coach headsets and that New England’s headsets were shut off while the situation was being resolved. Apparently, that’s the normal procedure for such malfunctions.
Tafoya’s report and the NFL’s statement suggest this wasn’t an instance of funny business by the Patriots, but Tomlin wasn’t happy after the game. The Pats obviously are under a microscope following Spygate, Deflategate and a pair of reports released earlier this week outlining a widespread distrust of the organization.
This could be an interesting year in New England.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin