Mike Tomlin returns to stadium where he “always” has communications issues

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The first game of the 2015 regular season was played at a time when the #DeflateGate controversy was still boiling — and when ESPN only two days earlier had gone all in with a broader look at past and present cheating allegations against the Patriots. And so, when Steelers coach Mike Tomlin opted in the aftermath of a 28-21 loss at New England to suggest foul play in connection with communications issues at Gillette Stadium, it instantly became a huge deal.

“We were listening to the Patriots radio broadcast for the majority of the first half on our headsets, coach to coach,” Tomlin said, adding that it’s “always the case” that the Steelers have trouble with their in-stadium communications when they play in New England. He said that eventually the problem got fixed.

The Steelers’ official website chimed in, declaring that “[t]his is the kind of stuff that happens to the visiting team in Gillette Stadium all the time.”

It quickly became clear that communications issues happen routinely and throughout the league, making Tomlin’s effort to suggest further cheating by the Patriots seem even more over the top than it was. Four days later, Tomlin declared the matter over.

But the not-so-subtle claim of cheating still exists on the Steelers’ website. Here’s the full entry: “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.”

The Steelers return to Gillette Stadium for the first time since September 2015 on Sunday, with a berth in Super Bowl LI on the line. And all eyes will be on the question of whether the Steelers will be able to properly use their ears during the game.

120 responses to “Mike Tomlin returns to stadium where he “always” has communications issues

  1. I’m going to turn on my NSA created scrambler just for this game! In all seriousness, it’s less likely to be a problem on a weekend day, rather than weekday night game.

  2. lol not surprised, this is the Pats were talking about…be prepared…..this week expect the headsets to work but expect the Pats to be listening to every word….

  3. I assure you he won’t have any problem communicating with the Pat’s fans.

    They will be calling him an A-hole loud and clear the whole game…

  4. So is Baltimore the only stadium that trips you up?! Shut up Tomlin. Bring your game. If you beat us in Foxborough fair and square, so be it. Should my patriots beat you which is pretty common under your leadership, don’t be a crybaby and run off the field and conduct post game interviews about losing because we “cheated”

  5. So you have the Pittsburgh refs going against the Gillette Stadium communication problems.

    I wonder who wins out on Sunday?

    I’m guessng the Pittsburgh and Green Bay refs pull out wins for their teams.

  6. From this past weekend’s games one of these things is not like the others.
    Tom Brady – 34 points
    Aaron Rodgers – 34 points
    Matt Ryan – 36 points
    Big Ben – A sweet, sweet, 18 points!
    18 points gets you into the AFCCG …. And that was with Le’Veon Bell rushing for 170 yards!
    The Patriots are only favored by 5.5 points so what do I know. My guess is that they will win by 20. Hopefully the Steelers can get a couple of defensive or special teams scores. Lord knows Small Ben in Big Games isn’t up to it.

  7. I’m a little tired of Tomlin’s holier than thou attitude. He’s been caught on video trying to trip a player in the field of play. He was on camera 2 weeks ago pretending that his players weren’t starting fights after almost every play, DHB was the most egregious. He let Joey Porter return to the sideline after he put his hands on a coach. He’s whining about the Patriots cheating when everyone and their grandmothers know that they do and prepare for it. Just shut up.

  8. Better have a good plan in place for combatting that then. I don’t think the boss will care if they cheated if you knew and didn’t take appropriate measures to overcome that.

  9. Be afraid Pittsburgh:

    The Patriots are 7-2 against the Steelers in the Belichick-Brady Era, and Brady is 5-1 against Tomlin.

    Brady is 4-0 at home against the Steelers, and the Pats’ only loss to the Pittsburgh under Belichick came in 2008, when Matt Cassel was the quarterback.

    In his four games at home since 2002, Brady has thrown 15 touchdowns and yet to throw an interception against the Steelers. It gets better: He hasn’t thrown an interception against the Steelers at any venue since 2005 — two years before Mike Tomlin took over — but has thrown 19 touchdowns in the Tomlin Era. In all, he has a more than 70 percent completion rate and more than 2,800 yards.

  10. I love it. There is no way the Pats win this game without someone crying about something. I’m sure Kensil is already digging through the rule book. The world cannot handle the Patriots going back to the Super Bowl yet again, which is why I hope it happens more than anything.

  11. Technically Tomlin had “communication issues” last weekend in KC’s looker room. Tomlin was communicating one thing while his star player decided to do the exact opposite.

    The entire world knows this and BB had absolutely nothing to do with it.

  12. Waa! They cheat! Waa!
    Lets look at the facts.
    Stealers ranked third of all NFL teams in cheating. While the Patriots are tied with the Seahawks at fifteen. Arizona thirty second. Who is number one? The Broncos.
    This isn’t rocket science, check the many sites that have done the work for you.

  13. Solution: Turn off all the communication stuff and let’s see which team is best prepared, best coached, etc. We don’t need no stinkin’ head sets!

  14. For a team that has always prided itself on toughness, Tomlin is constantly whining like a little girl.

    Times have changed in Pittsburgh.

    Now the players come skipping out on to the field with Justin Bieber!

  15. Once again, the NFL rewards their employees for incompetence. They have failed to solve 30 years of random on field communications problems. And I’m shocked, that many happen at Cheater’s field in NE.

    And I’m not gonna mention officiating SNAFU’s.

  16. That reminds me, during the week 17 game at Miami the TV broadcasters mentioned that New England’s communication went dark early in the game. I wonder why that never got any additional media coverage.

  17. This guy wins the internet today! Its like the analogy of an immovable object versus an unstopable force. Who wins? Ill say Brady.

    *************************************

    screamingyellowzonkers says:
    Jan 17, 2017 10:27 AM
    So you have the Pittsburgh refs going against the Gillette Stadium communication problems.

    I wonder who wins out on Sunday?

    I’m guessng the Pittsburgh and Green Bay refs pull out wins for their teams.

  18. The only communication Tomlin needs is between him and the refs.

  19. Tomlin disrespected New England. We’re taking it personally.

    He’ll hear about it when he gets to Gillette.

    Pats own the Steelers!

  20. “We spotted them a day and a half”

    “The league provided and maintained headsets didn’t work”

    “The Gatorade was warm”

    “Antonio Brown was livestreaming our playbook”

    “The sun was in my eyes the other 9 times they blew us out”

    “Ben shattered his cankle tripping over a coed”

    You know, for a supposed “tough guy” Tomlin sure comes across as a whiny little cheerleader huh?

  21. Look at the photo of that drama queen, phony coach.

    About says it all, as does the players in his locker room following his lead with his mouth, lacking maturity and in turn, respect for their own coach.

    Good leaders lead by example.

    Don’t think for a second, ONE MILLISECOND, the Pats haven’t been waiting to bury that arrogant, mouthy and cheating franchise.

    Kraft knows who the power brokers are in the league. One is Mara, and the other is silver-spooned Rooney.

    Prepare for a bludgeoning if the situation presents itself on national tv.

  22. Trip has communication issues wherever he goes with his foul-mouth and excuses. The Sqealers also complained in that last game that the Pats’ D-line shift on the goal line was illegal when it wasn’t and is something the Squealers’s D-line have done too on some downs (even saw them do it against the Fins last week).

    And publicly casting such aspertions is specifically listed in the rules as against the fundamental integrity of the game and will be penalized accordingly. So, Fraudger, over to you…

  23. What I find interesting, Tomlin makes the statement that it happens every time to every team visiting Gillette, and he still wasnt prepared for it???

    So either he is lying cuz he’s a d-bag and that’s d-baggery 101 to lose and make up stuff to make it seem the world was against you, OR, he is a complete moron who knew what was gonna happen but decided to not prepare for it… what a tool

  24. Multiple players suffer head-shot injuries against Steelers defense. This kind of dirty play “always” happens to teams that play the Steelers.

    See? Comments about tendencies that use the word “always” can go in both directions.

  25. grruffgrruff says:
    Jan 17, 2017 10:23 AM

    Oh please…it’s always something.
    ==============================
    i know right? Pats just cant help themselves from cheating.

  26. Pittsburgh refs indeed — two years in a row now.

    Note that the Steeler Fanboy would never mention it. Instead, headlines a non-controversy from years ago.

    Guarantee; If the locker room antics of Tomlin and Co. had instead happened in a Bengal or Ravens locker room, the Steeler Fanboy would be covering it like white on rice. Because it’s the Steelers, he switches the narrative ASAP, placing Steelers as the victimized, recasting Pats in his favorite characterization of them as cheaters.

    Fanboys will be fanboys.

  27. Tomlin has that look on his face like he is trying really really hard to drop a deuce, but he’s been holding it for a really long time cuz he doesn’t use public restrooms, and it’s reaching the point of painful…

  28. .
    The league is responsible for the in game communication, not the home team. Perhaps Tomlin should address his problems to 345 Park Avenue.
    .

  29. “lol not surprised, this is the Pats were talking about”
    __________

    Right… because they’d let the opposition listen in on their coaches’ internal communications.

  30. Its nice of the Coach to hand his team a ready made ExcusePacket ™. That’s what all the good coaches do.

    1. Short turnaround time.
    2. Communication issues.

    And its only Tuesday!!

  31. Tomlin actually tried to trip a player. The Giants also actually accused them of deflating footballs. Whereas the Colts lied when they said their player complained that he thought the ball was deflated. The Colts had no reason to insert the needle in the football which is in itself a violation.
    The Patriots’ tablet failed during the AFCC game against the Broncos. The Broncos scored a TD during the time frame. Did BB whine and made a big deal out of it? Headset malfunctions, locker room bugged all Patriots’ myths. BB encounter the same problem in other stadiums but he just deal with it. Other teams suffer from Patriots Paranoia.

  32. It’s league-wide and its most likely because the nfl is sponsored/endorsed by uber-inferior technologies and products such as:

    Microsoft – the surface tablet is junk. It freezes better than the one attached to my fridge.

    Bose headsets – who even uses these things? They are garbage. Noise cancelling = sound cancelling. There are no highs, no lows, it must be Bose.

  33. Tears are already coming down Tomlin’s face.

    Comm problems happen in all stadiums. They happen in large part because the league insists on providing wireless headsets.

    Wireless mics and headsets used to be in a dedicated range of frequencies. About 3 years ago our congress in their wisdom sold that bandwidth to the cell phone companies and lumped wireless comm into the consumer band.

    The league is well aware of this since they were part of a lobbying group that consisted of the NFL, Broadway/ NYC theaters, concert promoter Live Nation and large churches who all use tons of wireless and knew this would present problems.

    And lo and behold, the consumer bandwidth is a mess. There are so many devices in that range wireless comm, like cell phones, frequently has problems. That’s why comm has so many problems at all NFL stadiums.

    I know quite a lot about this because I’ve done concert lighting for over 30 years and use the same type of headsets to communicate and give instructions to my follow spot operators. And I never ever under any circumstances allow wireless headsets, I alway insist on hard wired ones because the wireless units are flaky and commonly have problems.

    Tomlin could easily insist on hard wired headsets. Or he could do what Belichick does in practice sometimes which is make the coaches take off their headsets to simulate comm failure so they’re prepared.

    These are league provide headsets and systems, and they’re providing wireless ones knowing full well what the problems are.

  34. Wow…he’s already doubling down on the hate for the Patriots and it’s only Tuesday morning.

    ————

    Actually, it’s a subliminal loser’s mentality.

  35. ‘Four days later, Tomlin declared the matter over.’

    And yet here we are 2 years later with the AFCCG coming up still talking about it. At this point even Tomlin knows the league controls and manages the headsets, there’s nothing new here. Can we maybe get to something relevant?

  36. Hey Roon:
    nice win in KC! you know i called the “code red” on that 2 point conversion to be called for you, you owe me a beer for that one pal!!! ;>)

    Anyhow, onto next week – i’m thinking of pulling Bill Leavy out of his cushy office gig and putting him back on the field for you next Sunday so we can relive SB40 glory and all the wonderful “unbiased” calls made that day ;>). Thoughts? Bottom line is we must not let those foxboro a-holes make it to the super bowl, i’m gonna have to be at the SB and i’m feeling a bit uneasy about the prospects of what may happen to me there if they make it. I love my $43M a year job, so please let me know what i can do from my end to ensure that doesn’t happen…

    your pal,
    Rog

  37. The biggest irony in all of this is this: They’d still be great WITHOUT THE CHEATING! They may not have beat the Rams that first time around without it, but still…

    The head coach mumbling at the media, the cheating, none of that is the main thing.

    With Brady ANY TEAM WOULD HAVE WON A 2 or 3 SB’S.

    But the taint and foul smell of dishonesty in what is supposed to be a mans game and is our national past time is as will always be unforgivable.

    I think most fans would rather lose fair and square than win by cheating, and Tomlin isn’t lying about this. It’s unreal.

  38. All head sets will work fine this year. This year the Pats will be listening to the Steelers head sets!

  39. The “Rooney Rule” has certainly enabled this turd to behave the way he has.

    He was the DC of the worst passing D in the league in Minny in 2006 and he got promoted, forcibly so.

    And, Bradshaw was right. He is a cheerleader and nothing more.

    What a disgrace.

    Will he cheat and try to trip a Pats player on Sunday?

  40. Pats fans can never handle the PROVEN AND DOCUMENTED FACTS… YOURTEAM CHEATS. I would respect any Pats fans who actually would own it, but none do. They would defend Brady and Bellacheat if there was video. They would take Hernandez back. Worst fans in football.

  41. and you fail to mention that communications are not the responsibility of the home team….
    it is the NFL’s job.

    you know, in case anyone wanted to draw conclusions about BS allegations about NE

  42. That porous Steelers secondary has zero chance of stopping the Patriots offense. The Patriots will hang 40+ points on the Steelers.

  43. Why doesn’t Pitt lose a 1st and 4th round pick. Along with Ben being suspended for 4 games. The Giants found underinflated balls in their game. LOL now you know how ridiculous the Deflategate accusations were. Rven the wells report said there was no evidence of tampering. Hopefully we get a great game between two of the best.

  44. You guys realize that the NFL is in charge of the in-stadium communications. So if there is any “cheating” you’re arguing that the NFL is cheating to help the Patriots. Not likely. This is FAKE news.

  45. Were it within my ability to make happen, I would have headset giveaway day for the AFC Championship game. I would also encourage every person who lives in the area near the Steelers Hotel who owns a Drone to fly it over the place over and over non-stop, following the bus to the stadium if necessary just the fuel their paranoia.

  46. …udontknowjaq says:
    Jan 17, 2017 11:24 AM
    …Tomlin was done with this 4 days after the game in 2015.

    Yes. After getting ripped by the media everywhere outside of Pittsburgh for his ignorant sour grape post-game comments, he said he was done with it.

  47. Tomlin has no control over his team. How else could you explain Brown continuing to rack up celebration penalties or live streaming a post game speech. No respected coach would enable this crap.

  48. I can’t wait til the steelers mop the floor with the pats this weekend. All year I’ve been saying if the Steelers get a chance with Ben to play the pats again they would win. I love how nobody brings up how mediocre the QBs Brady has played since he started in week 4. Goff, Kap, Fitzpatrick 2x, Landry Jones, Charlie Whitehurst, Brock Osweiler, Dalton, Flacco, Tyrod, and Russell Wilson. Wilson is the only elite qb they played and they lost. Have fun trying to stop the killer b’s

  49. Well in his post game remarks he played the “They have a day and a half advantage on us…………”

    So he is ready to play that one.

    Waiting for Tomlin to play the ‘Trump’ card next

  50. This time they should just broadcast the audio from the Steelers locker room video on a loop.

  51. “Have fun trying to stop the killer b’s”

    And by this, I assume you mean stopping their FG kicker Chris Boswell, since he accounted for all 18 of the Pitt points this weekend…

  52. The guy’s star receiver was live-streaming a locker-room talk where the coach was using profanity and telling his players specifically not to use social media.

    Darn right he has communication problems! He can’t even communicate effectively with his own players in a closed room.

  53. So here’s why the Pats are in the SB every year. Follow along:

    1) Crummy division. They start out 6-0 in June
    2) Need only win 6 out of the next 10 to lock up top seed. Easier said than done but still.
    3) Get top seed, play the weakest team in Rd 1 at home. This year, Osweiler
    4) Host AFCCG. Actually play someone decent. Scramble the headset signal to gain a competitive advantage.
    5) Go to SB and hopefully not play a team with a good pass rush or against a coach too dumb to run the ball on the 1.
    There’s your rings NE. Congrats.

  54. justintuckrule says:
    Jan 17, 2017 1:25 PM
    So here’s why the Pats are in the SB every year. Follow along:

    1) Crummy division. They start out 6-0 in June

    ———————-

    Better check those division records again, pal. AFC East outside of the Pats had one of the best records of any division this season. 7 more wins than the AFC North outside of the Steelers, and 9 more wins than the NFC West outside of the Seahawks.

    There have been lots of lousy divisions in recent years. Why hasn’t anyone else been to 6 straight conference championships and won 4 Super Bowls in the last 13 years? Pats are just an excellent, well-run, well-coached team, period.

  55. steelcurtainn says:
    Jan 17, 2017 1:32 PM
    The Pats defense has zero chance to stop Big Ben, Leveon Bell and AB. I see the Steelers putting up points this game.

    ——————-

    The Chiefs held them to only field goals, but the #1 scoring defense in the NFL can’t handle them?

  56. Instead of being a cheerleader maybe Tomlin can have his team prepared in case the headsets don’t work, like hand signals, etc. If it always happens why wasn’t he prepared last time?

    Tomlin is already starting with the excuses, not as much time to prepare as the Pats and blaming headsets before the game even starts.

    If Tomlin wanted more time to prepare he should have won more games during regular season so the Steelers were the number 1 seed!
    Waaaaaa!

  57. Pats can cheat again….problem is: Pitt has a superior team this time. Aside from Brady and your head coach, it’s not close. Even a couple bad calls won’t save you from 150+ yards from Bell and Big Ben having 11 alligator in the pocket. Weak ass regular season record, two byes in the playoffs, and you have a perfect recipe for a beat down! Steelers 31-20!

  58. justintuckrule says:
    Jan 17, 2017 1:25 PM
    So here’s why the Pats are in the SB every year. Follow along:

    1) Crummy division. They start out 6-0 in June

    Lame argument, AGAIN

    On average they go 4-2 in the division
    And win 8-10 games OUTSIDE the division

    What’s your excuse for all the wins outside the division

  59. Ummm…Mr. Tomiln…you know – and anyone with two brain cells knows – that the NFL provides all communications systems AND they monitor all systems at all times at every game.

    It would be impossible to tamper with them. This leaves only one common thread, Mr. Tomlin: YOU.

  60. How many of the whiners here know that the Patriot’s had communication problems in the first half of last year’s championship game in Denver while Denver did not? The reason why you don’t know is because they don’t make excuses when they lose. Time for 31 teams and their fans to grow up! Steelers fans are up there with the Colts and Ravens fans as being the biggest whiners when they lose!

  61. Not fair. Patriots had a day and half longer to.prepare..though they did not know who they were playing. Plane landong at 4 am. Ben is hurt. Now the headsets. Really dude..you sound like a high-school volleyball coach….err cheerleader.

  62. Hey, its in the Cheatin’ Steelers’ handbook to accuse everyone else of all sorts of cheating as well as taking steroids.

    Besides, Tomlin needs something else for his cheating team to focus on besides his being a “Cheerleading” coach.

  63. I have worked my whole life in AV and live event production, in every facet. These comm systems are NOT complex. Getting a radio or TV broadcast feed pumped into them would always have to be intentional, never an “accident”. (signals do not route/patch themselves, plus why would headset comm ever desire to hear the game feed?) Either every system in every stadium (from this article’s assertion that it “happens routinely and throughout the league”) means either they are all designed and run by idiots or something else is going on. I have been on headset at corporate, rock and roll, theatre, TV and satellite feeds, events with POTUS, where 20 more more people are across several channels. Mistakes happen, gear does fail, but this is made out to be like wireless mic failure (something actually more in the routine area) which it is not and should not be. I have never heard a broadcast of any kind on comm, unless we asked the engineer or A1 to pipe in a game. Billions spent on these stadiums and this is still routine? Um, ok. PLUS–this comm system is vital to the coaches and a clear advantage when one goes down, so why is there no redundancy (look it up for you Trump voters) in place? That would not be hard or that expensive. (I know, in theory when one team loses theirs, the other has to turn off, who here believes that?)

  64. Will Patriots fans be throwing old deflated footballs on the field as the Steelers enter the stadium, just to make a point???

    Will Big Ben be doing his James Brown Cape Routine?

  65. steelcurtainn says:
    Jan 17, 2017 11:40 AM

    Hire extra Security, hire extra refs. Keep full eyes on Belicheat and the crew every down is my only advice.
    ————————————————————–
    Distribute tin foil hats to all the Steelers staff and their fans.

  66. Happened to the Patriots while playing in Miami during the last game of the 2016 season. It was mentioned during the television broadcast.

    Several teams previously came out and said that it happens in many stadiums.

    The NFL previously came out and said that the NFL controls the headsets. Not the home teams.

  67. If the Steelers take their PED’s, they will win. History has shown how well they perform when they are “enhanced”. They are the only team I know of that has had a team doctor arrested by the Feds for distributing PED’s. I await the response of those Pittsburgh fans in glass houses.

  68. SteelersStairwayToSeven says:
    Jan 17, 2017 5:45 PM
    Patriots not playing Matt Moore or Atrociousweiler this week, big Ben is coming to town as all of NE wears a frown come Sunday night.
    Steelers win easily.

    ———————–

    You do realize that Big Ben is 2-5 against Brady-led Patriots, right?

    And the only time he’s ever won against the Pats in Gillette Stadium is when Matt Cassel was QB?

  69. richndc says:
    Jan 17, 2017 5:31 PM
    I have worked my whole life in AV and live event production, in every facet. These comm systems are NOT complex. Getting a radio or TV broadcast feed pumped into them would always have to be intentional, never an “accident”. (signals do not route/patch themselves, plus why would headset comm ever desire to hear the game feed?) Either every system in every stadium (from this article’s assertion that it “happens routinely and throughout the league”) means either they are all designed and run by idiots or something else is going on. I have been on headset at corporate, rock and roll, theatre, TV and satellite feeds, events with POTUS, where 20 more more people are across several channels. Mistakes happen, gear does fail, but this is made out to be like wireless mic failure (something actually more in the routine area) which it is not and should not be. I have never heard a broadcast of any kind on comm, unless we asked the engineer or A1 to pipe in a game. Billions spent on these stadiums and this is still routine? Um, ok. PLUS–this comm system is vital to the coaches and a clear advantage when one goes down, so why is there no redundancy (look it up for you Trump voters) in place? That would not be hard or that expensive. (I know, in theory when one team loses theirs, the other has to turn off, who here believes that?)

    So Mr. AV, in you humble and expert opinion, what is your conclusion? Are you saying the league’s equipment and operators are tampered with to help the Patriots win? If the interference has to be I tentio al and NEVER an accident, I guess you believe the league is conspiring against all teams that play in Foxboro. What about when it happens to the Patriots?

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