The Pittsburgh Steelers came up short again last night against the New England Patriots. While the Patriots have made a habit of beating the Steelers lately, that isn’t the only thing that the Steelers have had problems with. The Steelers claimed that their coach-to-coach communication was hindered for the majority of the first half. Mike Tomlin, whose resting face makes him look angry all the time was even more evident when he spoke after the game.
“That’s always the case,” the Steelers coach said. “Here?” a reporter asked. “Yes, Tomlin answered. When asked if he got a satisfactory resolution, Tomlin said: “Eventually.”
It wasn’t just the Steelers who were affected by the communication issues, the Patriots made similar claims after the game on ESPN.
“We had a lot of problems,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We had to switch headphones a couple of times. The communication system wasn’t very good. We deal with that, it seems, weekly.
“They told us they were on the verge of shutting it off, but then I guess they got it working. I don’t know, but it was a problem the whole game. We almost had to switch helmets with [Tom] Brady there at the end. Couldn’t get the plays in to him. It was a problem all night.”
It was the NFL who took responsibility for what happened after they released this statement,
“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,” said Michael Signora, the league’s vice president of football communications. “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.”
Essentially what happened after the headset problems was that once a NFL rep was on the Patriots sideline the complication was fixed, but once they left the sideline the radio continued to have more trouble.
There was some coach-to-coach communication to sort out, but it’s worth asking if the headset dilemma mattered on a play that led to a TD.
No one on the Steelers defense saw Gronk and by then it was too late. The Steelers can file as many complaints as they want to but the fact is that this has happened before and it will continue to happen. After all, Mike Tomlin wouldn’t say that’s always the case if it hadn’t happened already.
This might be another reason why it is always so difficult to go to Foxsborough and win. The next team that will have to travel to Gillette Stadium and adjust to their headset problems are the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3.