By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s become a cliché around here, but it’s painfully true: if the roles were reversed in this situation, the uproar against the Patriots would be insufferable.
One year after the Pittsburgh Steelers had problems of their own with their headsets in Gillette Stadium when they faced the Patriots to kick off the 2015 season, on Sunday it was New England who had to deal with faulty headsets during their 35-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. A source told CSNNE’s Tom E. Curran that the Patriots eventually had to do away with the headsets altogether and “were forced to go old school” as Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia signaled plays from the sidelines to the players on the field.
The Patriots also had problems with their Microsoft Surface tablets on the sidelines, according to Curran’s report.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin infamously raised a stink after the Patriots defeated Pittsburgh 28-21 in Week 1 of the 2015 season, complaining that he was hearing the 98.5 The Sports Hub radio broadcast with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak. As it usually does with the Patriots, some fresh controversy flared up in the wake of Tomlin’s hissy-fit for a week or two.
Don’t expect much national coverage of this one. There’s nary a mention of the headset issues on ESPN. Of course, it didn’t matter in the end, as the Patriots rode a strong second half to victory anyway, but it’s just a prime example of the hypocrisy that exists in how the Patriots are covered on a national scale. It also shows how the Patriots organization is “not built on excuses,” as a fed-up Bill Belichick said in a conference call last season, considering that the coaches didn’t even bring it up after the game.
Thankfully, the Bengals apparently didn’t have similar communication problems with their headsets, which have long been an issue on both sides of the field at Gillette Stadium. They didn’t need help from the Patriots to self-destruct.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.