The Steelers’ Headsets Surprisingly Failed at Gillette Stadium


How many other ‘gates’ involving the New England Patriots can there be? First was Spygate, then Deflategate and now we presume Headsetgate. On the opening night of the NFL 2015-16 season, what should have been a celebration of the Patriots’ latest Super Bowl victory became another blemish on the New England legacy. Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said that he and other Steelers coaches heard the Patriots’ radio broadcast “for the majority of the first half” on their headsets at Gillette Stadium. The non-working headsets prevented the Steelers’ coaches from communicating with each other. Eventually, The Steelers lost to the Patriots 28-21 in the National Football League’s season opener.

Tomlin said headset issues happen all the time when his team plays at Gillette Stadium. “That’s always the case,” said Tomlin, who is in his ninth season as Pittsburgh’s head coach. “Yes. I said what I said.” Asked if he got a satisfactory resolution, Tomlin answered, “Eventually.”
LaDainian Tomlinson’s reaction to Patriots’ reputation for cheating.

More Headset Fallout has a video showing Mike Tomlin angrily reacting to the ongoing headset issues. He added that some sort of malfunction always happens whenever his team plays in New England. On Friday, NFL spokesman Michael Signora released a statement regarding the matter. “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.”

A game story by Bob Labriola on didn’t mince words about the headset issues. “This is the kind of stuff that happens to the visiting team in Gillette Stadium all the time,” Labriola wrote. “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.”

The Equity Rule in the NFL states that if one team’s headsets are not working the other team is supposed to take their headsets off. Yet, 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.

Headsetgate Aftermath

The league office may try to ignore it, but the Patriots’ ‘gamesmanship’ is a bunch of malarkey. Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the Patriots organization take every opportunity imaginable to gain a competitive advantage. Internally, they believe it makes them smarter than their competition or more committed to winning. There’s another word for the Patriots way–cheating.

The Patriots have most likely destroyed videotapes of opposing team practices, tampered with footballs, and have stolen signals over the course of their dynasty. After the game, Bill Belichick had the nerve to say, technology is “not really a very strong area for me.” It was good enough to tape the practices of the St. Louis Rams at the Super Bowl. Give us a break. Commissioner Goodell should be furious, but we don’t expect him to punish the Pats for the Gillette Stadium headsets in any way.

A federal appeals court on Monday ruled in favor of the NFL in the “Deflategate” case.