Tom Brady's quick release was taken away by the Bengals. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Tom Brady is back, and the Patriots are back at No. 1. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

It took seven weeks, but New England fans can rejoice that the Patriots finally have reclaimed their rightful spot atop the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. The Vikings were victimized by the bye week here. They did nothing to lose their spot, but the Patriots offense looks too good right now. The Cowboys jump into the top five for the first time since I’ve started writing these. Ezekiel Elliot should have enough yards by Week 10 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Another team making a big leap is the Bills, who have won four straight games and might actually believe in themselves. Rex Ryan was supposed to be fired by now, but LeSean McCoy and Tyrod Taylor have saved his career.

The Panthers take the biggest drop of the week, falling seven slots to 28th. It’s amazing that this is basically the same team (minus Josh Norman) that won 15 games a year ago. The other team that’s floundering in mediocrity is the Packers. Aaron Rodgers looks like a shell of his former self. Mike McCarthy is one loss away from firing himself and handing off the play-calling duties to someone else. The most shocking upset of the week happened in Miami as the Dolphins trounced the Steelers. Weird things happen in Miami. The heat took many of the Steelers by surprise, and even worse, their Hall of Fame-bound quarterback will miss at least one week with a knee injury.

1. (2 last week) Patriots (5-1) — Tom Brady has 782 yards passing and six TDs with no picks in his first two games since his suspension. Those numbers are impressive but expected from the future HOF QB. Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett give Brady so many options in the middle of the field, while Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola continue to find pockets in the secondary on third down. The offense was expected to produce at a hight level, but it’s the fact that defense is allowing just a hair over 15 points per game that gives the Patriots the top spot.

2. (1) Vikings (5-0) — The only undefeated team in the league probably would have liked to continue playing games but the Vikings were saddled with a bye in Week 6. As good as the defense has looked, the five teams Minnesota beat (Titans, Packers, Panthers, Giants and Texans) all have been struggling offensively. The Vikings head to Philly to play an Eagles team that’s coming off back-to-back losses, so the streak could come to an end soon.

3. (8) Cowboys (5-1) — For as much as attention as Dak Prescott has garnered, it’s really RB Ezekiel Elliott who’s been carrying the load for the Cowboys. Through six games Elliott is averaging 117 rushing yards per game, which is on pace to break Eric Dickerson’s rookie record. With the Cowboys at 5-1, it’s preposterous to think there’s any type of QB controversy. This is Dak’s team now.

4. (12) Seahawks (4-1) — After a Week 2 loss to the Rams in which the Seahawks scored only three points, there likely was a bit of panic in Seattle. The Seahawks have since figured it out and are back on top of the NFC West. They have a tough stretch ahead of them, though, as their next five games are at Arizona, at New Orleans, vs. Buffalo, at New England and home vs. the Eagles.

5. (3) Falcons (4-2) — A tough loss to the Seahawks killed Atlanta’s four-game winning streak, but Seattle is a tough place to play. The Falcons have one of the best offenses in the league and still are 1 1/2 games up in the NFC South. The players and coaches seemed pretty pissed off about the lack of a DPI call late in Sunday’s game, but they’ll get their chance to avenge that loss in the playoffs.

6. (10) Bills (4-2) — LeSean McCoy rushed for 140 yards and scored three times. Credit to new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, who has McCoy averaging a whopping 7.1 yards per carry. The Bills hadn’t won four straight since 2008. If they can the beat the Dolphins in Miami, they’ll play the Pats at home in Week 8 for first place in the AFC East.

7. (4) Steelers (4-2) — It was 80 degrees in Miami, and LB Lawrence Timmons was seen puking on the field after a Miami touchdown. Steelers fans are sick to learn that in the perplexing loss to Dolphins they also lost QB Ben Roethlisberger with a torn meniscus in his knee. The Steelers go into Week 7 facing the Patriots with Landry Jones under center.

8. (5) Broncos (4-2) — Thursday night’s loss to the Chargers wasn’t really all that shocking considering coach Gary Kubiak was absent with some scary health conditions. Trevor Siemian started the season on a hot streak, but the offense still is struggling to score in the first quarter, with just six points on the year. Denver proved last year that defense wins championships, but everything has a limit.

9. (6) Eagles (3-2) — The darlings of the NFL during the first three weeks have come crashing back to Earth with back-to-back losses. The defense had been carrying the team up until this point, but on Sunday Philadelphia allowed 493 yards to the Redskins, including 231 on the ground.

10. (15) Redskins (4-2) — After starting the season with back-to-back losses, the Redskins have won four in a row. Washington is running the ball well, and for the most part Kirk Cousins is doing just enough to keep the team in the game. Working against the Redskins is the fact that they’ve lost to two good teams and beaten four pretty bad ones. The next six games are all really hard, and they’ll be lucky to go 3-3 over that period.

11. (7) Packers (3-2) — The Packers have no running backs behind Eddie Lacy, and Aaron Rodgers isn’t good enough to throw the ball 50 times a game anymore. Rodgers’ completion percentage is among the worst in the league. There are murmurs around the league that something may be wrong with him physically, or maybe personally.

12. (9) Raiders (4-2) — The Raiders had a chance to take control of the AFC West, but a 26-10 loss the Chiefs keeps things muddled in a talented division. The Oakland defense is last in the NFL, allowing a staggering 444 yards per game.

13. (17) Cardinals (3-3) — After a 1-3 start, the Cardinals have won two in a row and have started to figure things out offensively behind RB David Johnson. The real test comes this Sunday in primetime as the Seahawks head to Arizona in a game that should set the stage for the NFC West. If the Cardinals want to play meaningful games in December, they need to win this one.

14. (16) Texans (4-2) — A big comeback win over the Colts will keep Houston in first place in the abysmal AFC South. Fortunately for the Texans, the division is so bad that they likely can coast to a division title at 9-7 or even 8-8 before getting waxed in the first round of the playoffs.

15. (14) Rams (3-3) — Although the defense has looked good, you still need to be decent on the offensive side of the ball to win games. Case Keenum hasn’t been a complete dumpster fire this year, but the team is ranked 31st in yards per game. The offensive line could be the bigger problem. On Sunday, Todd Gurley ran for 58 yards, which is the most he’s run for in any game this season. Last year he had five rushes of 40 yards or more. This year through six games his longest rush is just 16 yards.

16. (20) Chiefs (3-2) — As usual, the Kansas City ground game is keeping the teamm afloat as Alex Smith continues to be the prototypical game manager. Spencer Ware has been impressive holding the fort the injured Jamaal Charles. Charles returned to action on Sunday but only in a limited role. Kansas City has been alternating wins and losses since Week 1 but could group a few wins together and challenge the Broncos and Raiders for the AFC West title.

17. (18) Lions (3-3) — All six games this season have been decided by seven points or less. At 3-3, the Lions have been on both sides of some late-game heroics. Since the Vikings are the only team pulling away in the NFC North, Detroit has two winnable games (Washington and Houston) before it plays Minnesota in what could be a battle for first place.

18. (13) Ravens (3-3) — The Ravens limped into Sunday’s game against the Giants with a staggering number of injuries. Their inability to stop Odell Beckham Jr. increased their losing streak to three games. Baltimore has a tough road ahead, with two more games against the Steelers, two more games against the Bengals, and games against the Cowboys, Patriots and Eagles. A playoff appearance would shocking.

19. (11) Bengals (2-4) — Sunday marked Cincinnati’s seventh straight loss to the Patriots. At 2-4, the Bengals are on pace to miss the playoffs and should start preparing for life after Marvin Lewis. He’s had a great regular-season run, but after five straight wild card losses, he’s got no room for mistakes. Cincinnati has so much talent, but Lewis can’t seem to reign in players like Vontaze Burfict who continually lose their cool and cost their team games.

20. (19) Giants (2-4) — OBJ’s eight catches for 222 yards helped the Giants get their 700th win as a franchise and snap a three-game losing streak. However, Beckham’s stupid antics will be the death of this team. Ripping off his helmet and running down the sideline is classic wide receiver “me-first” diva attitude, and that tears apart locker rooms. Even the biggest fans of the G-Men have to realize that the kicking net jokes are childish. But even worse than that, it’s so unfunny that it’s awkward to watch.

21. (31) Chargers (2-4) — After weeks of humiliating and heart-wrenching losses, the Chargers finally held on in the fourth quarter for a quality win. At 2-4, they’re only two games back in the division and hold the tiebreaker over the Broncos. Philip Rivers is playing some of the best football of his career, but he needs some help from the defense — and coaches.

22. (23) Titans (3-3) — For the first time since the end of the 2013 season, the Titans have won back-to-back games. At 3-3, they’ve already matched their win total from the entire 2015 season. Unfortunately for their status here in the rankings, you can only climb one spot when you beat the winless Browns.

23. (22) Colts (2-4) — The Colts’ fourth-quarter collapse marked the first time a team lost a 14-point lead with three minutes left in a game since 2011. Andrew Luck’s career is crumbling under the leadership of Ryan Grigson. The Colts need to improve the line on both sides of the ball and protect Luck before they acquire any more skill position players.

24. (26) Saints (2-3) — After throwing for 465 yards on Sunday, Drew Brees is the all-time leader in 400-yard passing games with 15. The Saints need to get back to winning at home. New Orleans is 5-11 in its last 16 games at the Superdome, a place where they used to dominate earlier in the decade.

25. (25) Jaguars (2-3) — Blake Bortles showed some poise as he led his team to a win over Chicago after facing a 13-point deficit. He couldn’t get through the game without throwing an interception, so that’s still a little troubling.

26. (30) Dolphins (2-4) — Miami entered Sunday’s game against the Steelers as seven-point underdogs and left with the biggest win of the Adam Gase era. Only a team as wildly inconsistent as the Dolphins would have two wins against teams as polarizing as the Browns and the Steelers. RB Jay Ajayi rushed for 204 yards and could keep Arian Foster out of the starting role as Foster continues to recover from a groin injury.

27. (28) Buccaneers (2-3) — The Bucs hit the early bye week with a 2-3 record and a win over the Panthers. The offense still is struggling under Jameis Winston, who has been decent in his first few years in the league but underwhelming as a No. 1 overall draft pick. He has nine TDs through five games but has thrown eight INTs. He should improve that ratio down the stretch this season, and by 2017 the Bucs should expect to be in the playoff hunt.

28. (21) Panthers (1-5) — What happened to the Panthers? The Super Bowl hangover is in full effect with the 2015 NFC champs, who have lost four straight. The team needs to look at the 2015 Chiefs, who started their season at 1-5 but turned things around to win 10 straight and earn a wild card spot.

29. (27) 49ers (1-5) — That opening night win seems like a loooooong time ago. Chip Kelly might be a worse head coach than Jim Tomsula, who was 2-4 at this point last season. Colin Kaepernick looked rusty in his first start of the season, but he wasn’t the problem in San Francisco’s 45-16 loss to the Bills. Kaepernick will get another chance this week against the Bucs.

30. (29) Jets (1-5) — Ryan Fitzpatrick’s penchant for turning the ball over is the reason the Jets are 32nd in the league with just 15.8 points per game. Geno Smith is clearly a worse option or Todd Bowles would have gone to him by now. Matt Forte likely is shocked to find out that life was better with Jay Cutler.

31. (24) Bears (1-5) — Losing to the Jaguars at home is about as bad as it gets. At 1-5, the Bears are off to their worst start since 2004. Brian Hoyer is putting up a lot of yards but very few points, which means that Jay Cutler likely will assume his role as the starting QB once he’s healthy.

32. (32) Browns (0-6) — A loss to the Titans hurts because it was viewed as the most winnable game of the year. Now the Browns look at a Week 8 matchup with Jets and and a Week 15 matchup with the Chargers as the only two games they have a reasonable chance of winning. Brian Billick’s prediction that Cleveland would go 0-16 is looking better and better by the week.

Blog Author: 
Paul Chartier
Oct 9, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) runs between New York Jets strong safety Rontez Miles (45) and outside linebacker Erin Henderson (58) during the fourth quarter of a game at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Le’Veon Bell (26) has been running wild since returning from his 3-game suspnsion. (Mark Konezny/USA Today Sports)

Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia know full well that all is not lost in Pittsburgh just because Ben Roethlisberger is out this week following a procedure Monday to clean up torn meniscus in his knee.

The Steelers still have the likes of Le’Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams and Antonio Brown.

Even if it’s just Landry Jones throwing the passes, those are still three of the best weapons in football.

Since coming back from his three-game suspension to start the season, Bell is averaging 5.5 yards a carry. Only Miami’s Jay Ajayi (5.7) and Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy (5.6) are doing better this year. Throw in the 3.7 average and 275 yards of Williams, who filled the bill nicely in the first three weeks and you have 538 yards in their feature running game. That would put them second in the NFL behind McCoy’s 587 yards.

“He’s not only a good runner but a good receiver,” Bill Belichick said. “He does a great job with the ball in his hands however they get it to him. Tackling will definitely be an issue for us. [He has] good balance, good vision and I’d say he’s a very determined runner. He does a good job of fighting for extra yards, keeping his balance, but just making it difficult, too, to get him down. But, you know, the Steelers have a lot of good skill players. He’s certainly one of them but the receivers do an excellent job of attacking all areas of the field.”

Brown is tied with Jarvis Landry for second in the NFL with 41 catches. His five touchdown catches are tied with Michael Crabtree for most in the NFL.

“They’ve got great vertical receivers with [Sammie] Coates and [Darrius] Heyward-Bey, [Markus] Wheaton as well as Brown, of course,” Belichick added. “They’re great catch-and-run players as well, like how Heyward-Bey scored on the reverse last week. There are a lot of threats there. Certainly Bell is a big one. Williams; we’ve got to be ready for all of these guys. They can all do a lot of damage.”

Against Cleveland, it was Elandon Roberts who played a big role in helping to limit the Browns to 27 yards on 22 carries. Against the Bengals, Dont’a Hightower picked up the slack for an injured Jamie Collins and had a monster game, racking up 13 tackles and 1.5 sacks and a safety. It’ll be up to defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to come up with a plan to contain Pittsburgh’s offense.

“I think their running back position with both Bell and Williams is really a very difficult tandem to handle,” Patricia said. “Bell is a very multiple player. He’s extremely good in all down-and-distance situations. Very athletic, very quick in space, shifty, has real good moves to kind of get away from defenders whether it’s guys trying to tackle him or guys trying to cover him. It’s really the same situation. You can just see him out in space; he’s a very good space player. As far as the run game, he is extremely patient with the reads.

“They do a real good job up front of covering guys up. They’re extremely large from an offensive line standpoint. Big, long, tall guys that really just cover up defenders and they allow Bell and Williams to be able to sit back there and find some space. You know, hit it through the hole or bounce out outside and get really good yardage by the time the defenders get a chance to get off the blocks and find him. They’ve gained some substantial yardage there. Both of them I think are running extremely well right now in their offense.”

What happened last week in a 30-15 loss in Miami? The Steelers ran just 53 plays and Bell and Williams ran a combined 13 times for 63 yards. Bell did catch six passes on seven targets for 55 yards. Bottom line: Patricia and the Patriots defense has to be ready for everything and anything.

“With Bell and Williams, both of them will catch the ball,” Patricia said. “Bell they’ll put out there a little bit more as a receiver type and actually split him out of the formation and try to design the plays a little bit more to get him the ball when he’s out there in space. But Williams does a great job when he gets the ball whether it’s the shorter passing game or they have a designed route to get him the ball in the passing game. Both of them are extremely hard to tackle. They’re both very quick; short space quickness and [they] have good speed.

“If they can get the ball out in space and put a defender in a one-on-one tackling situation, it usually turns out pretty well for them. I think that’s what they’re trying to do with them when they’re in the passing game but like I said, the combination of the running game and the way those guys are running right now with the blocking of the offensive line, it’s really, really difficult to kind of handle both of the scenarios.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

On Sunday against the Browns, the Patriots were hit with six penalties for 55 yards, not including the calls that were declined or offset. Through six games, New England has been whistled for 38 penalties (21st most in the league) and 339 penalty yards (21st). Here’s a breakdown of the flags that have gone against the Patriots after six regular-season games:

Most penalized players, listed by total flags and with total yardage lost:
OL Joe Thuney: 4 (2 offensive holding, 2 false starts), 30 yards
TE Rob Gronkowski: 3 (offensive holding, false start, taunting), 30 yards
OL David Andrews: 3 (tripping, 2 offensive holding), 30 yards
OL Marcus Cannon: 3 (2 offensive holding, false start) 25 yards
CB Malcolm Butler: 2 (defensive pass interference, defensive holding), 26 yards
CB Logan Ryan: 2 (defensive pass interference, illegal use of hands), 25 yards
WR Chris Hogan: 2 (offensive pass interference, offensive holding), 14 yards
WR Julian Edelman: 2 (2 false starts), 10 yards
RB LeGarrette Blount: 1 (unnecessary roughness), 15 yards
CB Cyrus Jones: 1 (disqualification), 15 yards
LB Jamie Collins: 1 (leaping), 15 yards
DE Chris Long: 1 (roughing the passer), 15 yards
OL Nate Solder: 1 (chop block), 15 yards
OL Shaq Mason: 1 (offensive holding), 10 yards
TE Martellus Bennett: 1 (offensive holding), 10 yards
OL Ted Karras: 1 (offensive holding), 9 yards
DB/ST Brandon King: 1 (false start), 5 yards
P Ryan Allen: 1 (delay of game), 5 yards
TE AJ Derby: 1 (false start), 5 yards
QB Jimmy Garoppolo: 1 (delay of game), 5 yards
LB Jonathan Freeny: 1 (defensive holding), 5 yards
LB/ST Barkevious Mingo: 1 (false start), 5 yards
Team/ST: 1 (12 men on the field), 5 yards
CB Justin Coleman: 1 (defensive holding), 5 yards
DL Malcom Brown: 1 (defensive holding), 5 yards

Most penalized by position
Offensive line: 13 penalties, 119 yards
Cornerback: 6 penalties, 71 yards
Special teams: 4 penalties, 20 yards
Tight end: 5 penalties, 45 yards
Linebacker: 2 penalty, 20 yards
Wide receiver: 4 penalties, 24 yards
Defensive line: 2 penalty, 20 yards
Running back: 1 penalty, 15 yards
Quarterback: 1 penalty, 5 yards

Most frequently called penalties
Offensive holding: 11
False start: 8
Defensive holding: 4
Delay of game: 2
Defensive pass interference: 2
Offensive pass interference: 1
Leaping: 1
Disqualification: 1
Tripping: 1
12 men on the field: 1
Roughing the passer: 1
Chop block: 1
Illegal use of hands: 1
Unnecessary roughness: 1

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Julian Edelman

Julian Edelman

Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains a vaguely imperfect stat — a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback — it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer or coach might have in said pass catcher. With all that in mind, here’s a look at the target breakdown through the first six games of the regular season.

WR Julian Edelman: 28 catches on 45 targets
TE Martellus Bennett: 26 catches on 33 targets
RB James White: 25 catches on 32 targets
WR Chris Hogan: 13 catches on 21 targets
TE Rob Gronkowski: 13 catches on 19 targets
WR Danny Amendola: 13 catches on 16 targets
WR Malcolm Mitchell: 6 catches on 12 targets
RB LeGarrette Blount: 5 catches on 5 targets
RB Brandon Bolden: 2 catches on 3 targets
RB D.J. Foster: 1 catch on 2 targets
QB Jimmy Garoppolo: 1 catch on 1 target
WR Matthew Slater: 0 catches on 1 target

Breakdown of targets by position
Wide Receiver: 60 catches on 87 targets
Tight End: 39 catches on 54 targets
Running Back: 33 catches on 42 targets
Quarterback: 1 catch on 1 target

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Outside of Super Bowl XXXI, Brett Favre doesn’t have much of a history with the Patriots. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a sizable measure of respect for what Bill Belichick has accomplished, especially in the last few years.

Brett Favre is impressed with Bill Belichick. (Mark Konezny/Getty Images)

Brett Favre is impressed with Bill Belichick. (Mark Konezny/Getty Images)

Outside of Super Bowl XXXI, Brett Favre doesn’t have much of a history with the Patriots. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a sizable measure of respect for what Bill Belichick has accomplished, especially in the last few years.

On his Sirius/XM show Tuesday, the former Green Bay quarterback said he has a “tremendous amount of respect” for what Belichick has done. Favre recalled a story from a couple years ago when the New England coach was down South taking a look at linebacker Jamie Collins when he was a collegian.

“[Bill] came here to Hattiesburg a couple years ago as a special guest for Ray Perkins — who lives here — and I got to introduce Bill and we really got to talk a little bit,” said Favre. “You know, Bill’s always got his guard up it seems, and that’s OK, but he had his guard down and he was actually here for Ray. But he was also looking at Jamie Collins — who I knew real well — and I told him what a spectacular player he is.  I don’t think he listened to me in drafting him, I just think that he already knew that.

“But I really enjoyed visiting with him, you know, in a different light as we know him,” he added. “There’s a tremendous amount of respect that has to go to him, and how he’s just changed the culture there and really has dominated the league for so long. And that’s so hard to do in today’s game. He’s done it the way he wants to do it, year in and year out, and if you don’t buy in you’re gone. And it’s impressive.”

For more Patriots news, check out

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Earlier on Tuesday Bill Belichick voiced his displeasure of the Microsoft tablets NFL teams have been using on the sidelines this season, saying he’s given up on them because they aren’t reliabl

Earlier on Tuesday Bill Belichick voiced his displeasure of the Microsoft tablets NFL teams have been using on the sidelines this season, saying he’s given up on them because they aren’t reliable.

Just a few hours later, Microsoft responded with a statement of their own, defending their product.

The statement reads: We respect Coach Belichick’s decision, but stand behind the reliability of Surface. We continue to receive positive feedback on having Surface devices on the sidelines from coaches, players and team personnel across the league. In the instances where sideline issues are reported in NFL games, we work closely with the NFL to quickly address and resolve.

Belichick says he will go back to using picture print outs like he has in the past.

For more Patriots news, visit

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

From the moment that Bill Belichick was trying to fix his car clock in his own NFL Films documentary, it’s been clear that the head coach and technology don’t always mix.

Oct 16, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts to a call during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick isn’t always in sync with technology on Patriots sideline. (Stew Milne-USA Today Sports)

From the moment that Bill Belichick was trying to fix his clock in his own NFL Films documentary, it’s been clear that the head coach and technology don’t always mix.

But the coach gave it his best chance, using tablets on the sidelines to read pictures of plays on the field and make in-game adjustments. That even included video this preseason in an experiment through the NFL.

But now, Belichick has reached his breaking point. No more tablets on the sidelines. Why? They’re just not dependable. He went into great detail Tuesday, spending over five minutes explaining his decision to break with technology.

“As you know, there are multiple communication systems on the sideline. And as you probably noticed, I’m done with the tablets. I’ve given them as much time as I can give them,” Belichick said. “They’re just too undependable for me. I’m going to stick with pictures. Several of our other coaches do as well because there’s just not enough consistency in the performance of the tablets. I just can’t take it anymore.”

There was the image of Belichick destroying his tablet during the 16-0 loss to the Bills. But there’s more to it than that. Much more. Belichick was one of thousands on Sunday who was inconvenienced by a breakdown of the internet service at the start of the Bengals game.

What Belichick doesn’t understand is why the NFL limits teams to their ability to work with the equipment during the week to make sure both teams can have good communication with their players and coaches during games.

“The other communication systems involve the press box to the coaches on the field and the coach on the field, the signal-caller to the quarterback-coach signal-calling system. Those fail on a regular basis. They’re very few games that we play, home or away, day, night, cold, hot, preseason, regular season, postseason, doesn’t make any difference, there are very few games where there aren’t issues in some form or fashion with the equipment. Again, there’s a lot of equipment involved, too. There’s headsets in the helmets, there’s the beltpack communication, there’s a hook-up or a connection to internet service or that process and so forth with the coaches in the press box. There’s a number of pieces of equipment. There’s a number of connections. They’re on different frequencies, again not that I know anything about this [technology].

“But as it’s been explained to me, there’s a lot of things that are involved in it. Inevitably, something goes wrong somewhere at some point in time. I’d said weekly, we have to deal with something. Dan Famosi is our IT person and he does a great job of handling those things. This is all league equipment and we have it. We use it but it isn’t like we have the equipment during the week and work with it and say, ‘OK, this is a problem. Let’s fix this.’ That’s not how it works. We get the equipment… a few hours before the game and we test it and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Usually, by game time, it is working but I would say not always.

“Then, during the game, sometimes something happens and it has to be fixed and first of all, they have to figure out what the problem is. Is it a battery? Is it the helmet? Is it the coaches’ pack? Again, it could be one of 15 different things. I would just say there are problems in every game. There were problems last week but there were problems the week before that, too. Some are worse than others. Sometimes, both teams have them. Sometimes one team has them and the other team doesn’t have them. There’s an equity rule that’s involved there on certain aspects of the communication system but not on all aspects. What happens on one side the other team has to have the same. If ours are down theirs have to be down and vice versa. But that’s only true on certain aspects of the communication system, not everything.

Ironically, the Patriots are playing the Steelers in Pittsburgh this week. The last time these two teams played, the season opener of 2015 at Gillette Stadium, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin suggested that the Patriots were piping in radio play-by-play calls of the game to the Steelers coaches’ headsets, interfering with their ability to call plays. Belichick’s point is that it’s the NFL is in charge of controlling that, not the Patriots, something Rodney Harrison agreed with, calling Tomlin’s charges “utterly ridiculous” in response.

“Overall, there’s a lot of complexity to the technology, there’s complexity to the multiple systems,” Belichick noted. “There are a lot of failures. I know on our end, Dan does a great job to fix those as quickly as possible. He has very limited access to. I don’t know how much urgency there is on the other part, from the league’s standpoint. How much urgency is there from them to everything right? I don’t know. I’m not involved in that.

“It was problem last week. It’s basically a problem every week. The degrees aren’t always the same but we’re usually dealing with something. But as far as the tablet goes, there was an experiment in a couple of preseason games… where we had video on the tablets. But for me, personally, it’s a personal decision. I’m done with the tablets. I’ll use the paper pictures from here on because… I’ve given it my best shot. I’ve tried to work through the process but it just doesn’t work for me and that’s because there’s no consistency to it. Long answer to a short question, sorry.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia