The latest controversy in the NFL involves headsets and, of course, the New England Patriots.
Not speaking specifically about the issue Steelers coaches had in Thursday night’s loss to the Patriots, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that headsets going in and out on coaches is a league-wide problem and not specific to any one team.
Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said after his team’s 28-21 loss to the Patriots that his coaches were listening to the Patriots Radio Network broadcast in their headsets for most of the first half. The NFL said in a statement that the problem was caused by a power infrastructure problem in Gillette Stadium and that the issue was resolved by the end of the first quarter.
Rivera said Friday afternoon that the kind of issues that Pittsburgh faced could happen anywhere.
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“It is a league problem. It’s wherever,” Rivera said. “Any time you’re using Wi-Fi and Internet and all that stuff, it can go out anywhere. We played in Buffalo when I was (the defensive coordinator) at San Diego and the whole system went down. Both sides went down too. Once that happened, we were basically back to hand signals again.”
The Patriots have been in the news lately after two national stories broke this week detailing a long history of the franchise’s alleged methods to circumvent rules, starting with Spygate in the 2000s and going into Deflategate this January. Among some of the tactics alleged in the stories were tampering with headsets.
The Steelers said in a statement Friday that they have not and would not file a complaint with the league.
Rivera, who has not been a head coach of a team that’s played in New England, said there’s always backup plans. The NFL had teams, which usually use wireless systems, use a hardwire system during the preseason.
And if all else fails, the team will use hand signals.
“If something does happen, man, we’ll go right to it,” Rivera said. “It’s gotten so bad (in his time as a coach) where we’ve had a guy on a hardline with a phone that goes straight to the booth just yelling to the sideline.
“And so now at least you’re getting some form of communication. But you do have a communication style, something going on. The nice thing, if (the phone) is close enough to the bench, you could actually yell to the corner who could yell to the middle linebacker.”