The NFL season started Thursday night with more drama involving the New England Patriots.
Pittsburgh Steelers coaches complained on the sideline about hearing the Patriots’ radio broadcast in their headsets during the first quarter of Thursday night’s NFL opener in Foxborough, Mass.
Following the Patriots’ 28-21 win, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin was not happy about there being any controversy in a game at New England, saying, “That’s always the case. Yes. I said what I said.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said, “We had a lot of problems. We had to switch headphones a couple of times. The communication system wasn’t very good. We deal with that, it seems, weekly.”
The NFL called it an intermittent reception problem and said the issue was solved by the second quarter. League director of football operations Blake Jones went down to the field to help.
“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,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora said in a statement after the game. “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 Sports reported that Patriots coaches had to turn off their headsets according to NFL rules until the Steelers’ headsets were working properly again.
Yahoo Sports, citing an unnamed source, reported that the Steelers will file a complaint with the league about both the equipment failure and officials not turning off headsets on both teams’ sidelines.
The headset dilemma follows an offseason filled with controversy surrounding the Patriots over deflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game in January against the Indianapolis Colts and allegations of spying in previous seasons.
The NFL said Friday it will review what happened with the headsets during the game and the league reiterated that the Patriots did not provide the communications devices that malfunctioned.
“The coaches’ communications equipment, including the headsets, is provided by the NFL for both clubs use on game day,” the league said in a statement Friday morning. “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.”