Spygate. Deflategame. And, now, headsetgate?
One day into the regular season and the New England Patriots are already at the center of a firestorm after the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers had issues with their headsets during the first quarter of Thursday night's game - a 28-21 New England victory.
Although the NFL released a statement absolving the Patriots by pointing out the headsets are provided by the league and that the audio malfunction was the result of a stadium infrastructure issue "exacerbated by the inclement weather," a story on the Steelers' official website suggests New England had a role in the communications snafu.
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Following Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin's postgame narrative that the headset issue is "always the case" at Gillette Stadium," writer Bob Labriola took the accusations a step further and inferred that the Patriots had a hand in interrupting the communciations on the Steelers sideline.
The story mentioned that Pittsburgh's audio problems cleared up whenever an NFL representative approached the Patriots sideline - only for the issue to resume when that league official walked away from New England's side of the field.
The technical problems cropped up in the first quarter when Tomlin complained to the officiating crew that his staff receiving the Patriots' radio broadcast on their headsets, blocking him from communicating with his coaches. Per league rule, the Patriots were forced to turn their headsets off until the problem was resolved.