Steelers’ Mistakes, Not Headset Issues, Cost Them In Loss To Patriots

by NESN Staff

September 11, 2015

The Pittsburgh Steelers don’t take losses well.

We knew that before they lost 28-21 to the New England Patriots in the opening game of the 2015 NFL season Thursday night at Gillette Stadium, but we’re doubly sure of it now.

A headset issue became the focus of the game, unfortunately, after the Steelers could only hear the Pats’ radio broadcast in their ears instead of being able to communicate among coaches for most of the first quarter. After the game, Bob Labriola of described the headset problem and also made an interesting allegation (emphasis ours):

“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.”

This doesn’t make sense. The NFL controls the headsets for both teams. It’s not like the Pats could turn them off and on whenever they felt like it as an NFL official walked to and from their sideline.

Instead of whining or worrying about the headsets, Pittsburgh probably should focus on making some on-field adjustments, as an abundance of mistakes, not headset problems, cost them.

Let’s start with actually covering Rob Gronkowski, especially in the red zone.

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Or what about using a linebacker in single coverage on Gronk at the goal line, allowing Brady to easily find his Pro Bowl tight end for his second touchdown?

Did a headset issue prevent draft bust Darrius Heyward-Bey from staying inbounds in the end zone, thus costing his team a touchdown?

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The Steelers’ defense, specifically the secondary, as well as some strange play-calling on offense (why run a trick play in the first quarter when DeAngelo Williams was running the ball down the Patriots’ throats?) and a lack of awareness by Heyward-Bey and others were the primary reasons Pittsburgh lost.

Poor execution and bad decision-making will lead to losses against the Patriots every single time. That’s a fact the Steelers shouldn’t need headsets to communicate.

Mike Tomlin’s reaction to headset malfunction >>

Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Sep 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; The New England Patriots celebrate a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
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