NFL Issues Statement Explaining Headset Issues in Steelers vs. Patriots

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2015

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during an NFL football preseason game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Carolina Panthers, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Don Wright/Associated Press

The NFL issued an explanation on Friday for the headset issues that plagued the Pittsburgh Steelers during their season-opening loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Thursday evening.

Albert Breer of passed along word from the league, which said the issues were "entirely attributable to an electrical issue made worse by the inclement weather."

"The Patriots had nothing to do with it," the league continued, via Breer. "The issue was promptly resolved and there were no further problems."

The league also said it would continue to review the situation to "determine if there are technical steps that can be taken to avoid similar problems," via Breer.

The statement came after Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette confirmed earlier in the day that the league planned to look into the matter. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports previously reported the Steelers became angrier because league officials didn't shut down the Patriots' communications while they attempted to fix the issue.

NFL spokesman Michael Signora had issued a statement on the matter, which Conor Orr of the NFL's website passed on: "Technological and stadium infrastructure issues of this type happen at many stadiums around the league and whenever there are issues of this nature, we do a thorough review."

Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten also issued a statement, via ESPN's Adam Schefter:

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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.

Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman passed along the team's thoughts from a source, who said "We're letting the league office handle this. We're done with it."

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wasn't exactly shocked by the problems in New England, stating it's "always the case," per Robinson. The team's official site also took a clear and direct shot at the Pats, via Kenny Ducey of Sports Illustrated:

Yet as Robinson noted, the NFL is in charge of the sideline communication devices for both teams. The Patriots shouldn't be able to have any impact on what the Steelers are hearing in their headsets, which in this case was often the home radio broadcast.

In the bigger picture, the fact something went wrong during a New England game on the heels of the Deflategate drama is terrible timing for the league. The focus was finally supposed to shift back to the field, and now Commissioner Roger Goodell and Co. seemingly have another budding controversy to deal with.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who stated his team's sideline also dealt with communication issues throughout the game, discussed Friday how he's becoming tired of the constant attacks on the organization, as Kevin Duffy of noted:

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. 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.

At this point, it's no surprise the Patriots aren't going to receive the benefit of the doubt from opponents.

It's another headache for the NFL just as the league was trying to turn the page.