Mike Tomlin wasn’t happy the last time the Steelers were at Gillette Stadium. (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)
It’s been roughly a year and a half, but it’s worth looking back at the last time the Steelers played at Gillette Stadium.
It was Sept. 10, 2015 and the Patriots raised the Super Bowl XLIX banner on a Thursday night to open the season.
The Patriots won the game 28-21, but the story of the game came afterwards when it was learned there were issues with the Steelers’ headsets in the first half.
Mike Tomlin and the Steelers were hearing the Patriots’ radio broadcast.
“That’s always the case,” Tomlin said after the game, inferring there are always some sort of issues occurring at Gillette Stadium.
The league said the Patriots were not to blame for the issue, saying a “stadium power infrastructure issue” caused the problem. It was brought up to Bill Belichick on a conference call the following morning and he went on a great rant, speaking on he number of times the Patriots franchise has been accused of things.
Belichick called things going to a “pretty low level.”
“It’s pretty common — there’s a lot of stuff down there, there’s the coach-quarterback stuff, offense and defense; there’s the headsets to the press box; there’s a lot of stuff going on there and, you know, we had some problems. Just as an example: We had some problems in the first half and then it seemed to be OK, and then we got to the end of the game and the most problems we had were on our last two possessions on offense and defense.
“So sometimes it goes along and it’s fine, and then for some reason something happens and then you go to the guys on the sidelines — the blue hats or the purple hats, whatever they’re called — and you tell them about it and they fix it. I don’t really know enough about technology to know how any of that works, but that’s how it goes. We ended up hard-wiring a couple of our headsets to eliminate the wireless part of it. It’s not an uncommon problem. We ended up having to signal some of our plays offensively. We couldn’t get them in. We look at it as something you have to be ready for every week, and we practice it — home, away, I don’t think there’s really any common denominator on that.”
The coach wasn’t done there, as he then went back to some other things the Patriots have been associated with.
“I’ll just say, kind of tying this in with a couple of things from last week or earlier in the week, I just think overall, it’s kind of sad, really, to see some stories written that obviously have an agenda to them with misinformation and anonymous type comments,” he said. “Writing about warm drinks and trash cans and stuff like that, it’s just a sad commentary and it’s gone to a pretty low level. It’s sunk pretty deep.
“First of all, let’s say that I think that our program here is built on competition and trying to improve every day and trying to work hard, and it’s not built on excuses. We just try to go to work and improve and find a way to get better. This organization has won a lot of games, but particularly in reference to the great teams from ’01, ’03, ’04 and back in there, all the great players that played on those teams – Ty Law, [Lawyer] Milloy, Otis Smith, Rodney Harrison, [Tedy] Bruschi, [Larry] Izzo, [Willie] McGinest, [Mike] Vrabel, [Anthony] Pleasant, [Richard] Seymour, Matt Light, [Joe] Andruzzi, Steve Neal, [Deion] Branch, Troy Brown, [Tom] Brady, Antowain Smith, Kevin Faulk, Corey Dillon, Lonie Paxton, [Adam] Vinatieri – to take away from what those guys accomplished, what those teams accomplished, how good they were, how many great players we had, how well they played in big games, how they consistently showed up and made big plays and game-winning plays, it’s just not right. Those guys, they were great players – and many more – but those are a few of them, and great teams, so I’m not going to get into a back and forth on it, but that’s the way I feel about it.”
As for this Sunday, Tomlin is expecting everything to be in working order.
“I’m going to proceed with the presumption that that’s the case,” Tomlin told reporters Tuesday.