The timing for Pittsburgh's headset issues on Thursday was something else, coming on the heels of a report last week about the Patriots trying to gain an advantage by any means necessary, including headset frequencies. It was almost funny, unless you're Mike Tomlin.
The Steelers coach was borderline irate during his postgame press conference, saying it's "always the case" in New England to deal with headset/connection issues.
Here's the full exchange between Tomlin and reporters at Gillette:
Mike there was a report that your radio went out?
“That’s always the case.”
So you’re saying every time you play here you have rad—
“I said what I said.”
Mike what exactly happened, you just didn’t have any communication?
“We were listening to the Patriots radio broadcast for the majority of the first half. On our headsets.”
Mike Tomlin PISSED about Steelers headsets going out. This is good. pic.twitter.com/VgYrJt0pBx— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) September 11, 2015
Tomlin then added that the issue was "coach to coach" in terms of communication before attempting to move onto a different subject. When reporters attempted to move it back toward the subject of the radios by saying Tomlin was "indicating" a serious claim with the radio issue, Tomlin made things abundantly clear.
“I’m not indicating nothing," Tomlin said. "I’m telling you what happened.”
Maybe it will make him feel better that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were having the same issue?
"We had a lot of problems. We had to switch headphones a couple times," Belichick said. "The communication system wasn’t very good. We deal with that what seems like weekly. They told us they were on the verge of shutting it off. But it was a problem there the whole game. We almost had to switch helmets with Brady."
This offseason the Patriots and their alleged willingness to blur the lines in competition have been a central focus. With football here it was supposed to move onto something else.
But with several days until the next NFL game and the Patriots once again victorious while an opponent publicly laments major issues with the technology at Gillette, you can all but guarantee this storyline will stick around.
Even with the NFL releasing a statement on the matter late Thursday to try and quash any concerns the public or Pittsburgh might have with the headset issue.
"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 league said in a statement. "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."