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Tomlin Voices His Frustrations Over Headset Issues In New England

FOXBORO (KDKA) - Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin isn't too happy with the headset situation at Gillette Stadium, and he says it isn't the first time.

"We were listening to the Patriots radio broadcast for the majority of the first half on our headsets," said Tomlin.

He went on to say "that's always the case." When asked "here?" Tomlin responded "Yes" and went on to say, "I said what I said."

The communication issue was on the headsets used by coaches to talk to each other. It didn't appear to affect communicating between the sidelines and the quarterback's helmet.

The NFL's director of football operations, Blake Jones, went down to the field to help with the headset issues. The league says the problem was "intermittent."

"We were listening to the Patriots radio broadcast for the majority of the first half," said Tomlin.

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NFL spokesman Michael Signora released a statement after the game on Thursday Night.

"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. 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."

Because it was not a complete system failure, New England's coaches were not required to shut down their headsets.

But after the game, the Patriots said they had headset issues as well.

Head coach Bill Belichick said "we had a lot of problems, and had to switch headphones a couple of times. The communication system wasn't very good."

Ben Roethlisberger responded to the communication issues. "A few plays that didn't come in, but that happens," said Roethlisberger. He went on to say that Coach Tomlin was letting people listen to his headset on the sideline, and it was playing the Patriots radio broadcast.

"I don't think he thought we believed him. And so he let Bruce listen to it," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Tomlin said he handed over the situation to the NFL. Asked if the results were satisfactory, Tomlin responded with: "eventually."

The Steelers released the following statement:

"We have provided information to NFL representatives regarding issues that occurred Thursday night at Gillette Stadium with our coach-to-coach headset communications system. The problem was addressed during the game and we did not have further problems in the second half. We did not file a formal complaint, nor do we plan to do so."


On the Steelers official website, they released the following statement:

This is the kind of stuff that happens to the visiting team in Gillette Stadium all the time. 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, and the NFL rule is that if one team's headsets are not working the other team is supposed to be forced to take their headsets off. It's what the NFL calls the Equity Rule. Strangely enough, 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.

93-7 The Fan sports director Jeff Hathhorn covered the game, and he appeared on The Fan Morning Show on 93-7 The Fan on Friday to share his insight on the situation.

Hathhorn said that when you add up the evidence, there is absolutely zero question that the Patriots were behind the Steelers' headset issues.

"Once again, the Patriots are cheating," Hathhorn said. "The NFL lied. That statement is a bunch of crap. That is an all-out lie. We get frequencies before every game. Everybody knows them so nobody will interfere. The television stations, radio stations- they've got to know to stay away from these frequencies. That didn't happen. The Patriots cheated again."

Hathhorn ruled out the possibility that this all could have happened by accident.

"It's not a coincidence," Hathhorn said.

A veteran radio engineer confirmed to 93-7 The Fan that the Patriots possessed the capability of broadcasting interference on the Steelers' coaches' frequency, and said that NFL's claim that weather-related power issues were behind the headset issues was "ludicrous."

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