FOXBORO (CBS) — Apparently, one day can’t pass in 2015 without the New England Patriots being embroiled in controversy.
The latest issue cropped up Thursday night, in the NFL’s season opening game, when the TV broadcast reported that Pittsburgh’s headsets were picking up the Patriots’ radio broadcast of the game instead of the team’s communications.
Imagine having Scott Zolak in your ear while trying to call a play?
After the game, which the Patriots won 28-21, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin seemed especially perturbed over the issue.
“That’s always the case,” Tomlin said.
A follow-up question came, asking Tomlin if he meant specifically in Gillette Stadium.
When asked for more, Tomlin replied, “I said what I said. We were listening to the Patriots radio broadcasts for the majority of the first half on our [coach-to-coach] headsets.”
More cheating from the Patriots? Well, no.
NFL spokesman Michael Signora issued the following statement after the game:
“In the first quarter of [Thursday] night’s game, the Pittsburgh coaches experienced interference in their headsets caused by a stadium power infrastructure issue, which was exacerbated by the inclement weather. 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.”
Plus after the game, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick complained equally about the headsets, agreeing with Tomlin that the issue happens all the time.
“It did,” Belichick said, when asked if the communication issues affected the Patriots. “We had a lot of problems. We had to switch headphones a couple of times. The communication system was not very good. We deal with that it seems like weekly. They told us that they were on the verge of shutting it off, but I guess they got it working. … Tom [Brady] almost had to switch helmets near the end, we couldn’t get the plays into him.”
Belichick reiterated: “It was a problem all night.”
Belichick was asked if he ever got the answer for what the problem was.
“Well, no. We never get that answer,” Belichick said. “They just try to fix it, and they tell you that it’s up or it’s down or whatever. That’s not really my very strong area, technology.”
Though facts have never gotten in the way of a good controversy down at 1 Patriot Place before, don’t expect “HeadsetGate” to have legs.