The Latest on NFL opener: Tomlin says Pats radio on headset
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The Latest on the NFL’s season opener, Steelers-Patriots (all times local):
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is also complaining about technology issues during the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Belichick said after the 28-21 win on Thursday night that the communication systems during the game weren’t very good. He says it was a problem all night.
He says the league was on the verge of shutting off the headsets used by coaches, but then got things fixed.
Belichick says his team deals with the issue ”it seems like weekly.”
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin says his coaches were listening to the Patriots radio broadcast on their headsets for the majority of the first half of the game.
Tomlin said after the 28-21 loss Thursday night to the New England Patriots that he let NFL officials at the stadium handle the communications issues.
When asked if he got a satisfactory resolution, Tomlin said: ”Eventually.”
Tomlin is a member of the league’s competition committee.
The issue isn’t new, Tomlin said. When asked if there were problems with the headsets, Tomlin said: ”That’s always the case.”
When asked to specify whether he meant there at Gillette Stadium, Tomlin said: ”Yes. I said what I said.”
Tom Brady threw for four touchdowns to his tight ends, three going to favorite target Rob Gronkowski, as the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots beat Pittsburgh 28-21 in the NFL’s season opener.
The Patriots followed a wet but festive pregame celebration of their title by doing what they do best. Brady picked apart the Steelers; at one point he had as many TD passes as incompletions. He went 25 of 32 for 288 yards one week after a federal judge vacated the NFL’s four-game suspension in the deflated footballs scandal.
All-Pro tight end Gronkowski scored from 16, 6 and 1 yard. He also recovered running back Dion Lewis’ fumble at the Steelers 1, setting up his third score.
Brady set a franchise record with 19 consecutive completions in his 23rd game with four or more touchdown passes, third all-time along with Brett Favre.
Patriots fans are reveling in a 28-14, fourth-quarter lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers and taking the opportunity to mock NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The Gillette Stadium crowd broke into a chant of ”Where is Roger?” – taking shots at the league’s leader for the botched investigation in the scandal that came to be known as ”Deflategate.”
Goodell suspended Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games after a league investigation found the team supplied improperly inflated footballs for the AFC title game in January. But last week a federal judge vacated the suspension.
It’s made Goodell an unpopular figure in New England. He said he would skip th NFL opener for the first time as commissioner to avoid being a distraction.
The ”Where is Roger?” chant was a reprise. In the 1999 AL baseball playoffs, Boston fans mocked former Red Sox ace Roger Clemens – who had moved to the Yankees – with the same chant for his early exit in a much-hyped matchup with Pedro Martinez.
The Steelers are making a game of it, but not without a scare.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger limped off after a 2-point conversion cut New England’s lead to 10 points midway through the third quarter. After Roethlisberger hit Markus Wheaton to make it 21-11, Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich landed on the quarterback’s left foot.
Big Ben limped off the field, but he was back when the Steelers got the ball back.
The 80-yard touchdown drive started with a 28-yard run by DeAngelo Williams and a 33-yard pass to Antonio Brown. Will Johnson punched it in on the Steelers’ third try from the 1-yard line.
Steelers coaches were upset during the first half of Thursday night’s season opener because their headsets were not working properly.
Blake Jones, NFL director of football operations, went down to the field to help out with the headsets. The league described the reception problem as ”intermittent” and it was believed to be resolved early in the second quarter.
Because it was not a complete system failure, New England’s coaches were not required to shut down their headsets during the repairs.
Considering that the Patriots are coming off the deflated football scandal, anything unusual occurring during their home games will be met with increased scrutiny.
Patriots defensive tackle Dominique Easley has a hip injury, and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to return.
He was hurt on a play on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first drive of the opening game of the NFL season.
The Patriots are celebrating their Super Bowl title with fireworks and all four of their shiny Super Bowl trophies.
The on-field celebration began with dancing cheerleaders and soon the four Vince Lombardi trophies were brought out. The first three trophies were carried out to the field by Patriots Hall of Famers Troy Brown, Willie McGinest and Ty Law. Owner Robert Kraft carried out the fourth.
Although the smoke from the fireworks made it difficult for those in the stadium to see, the baubles got a big cheer from the crowd.
The Patriots won the toss. They will kick off.
The pregame ceremony has started at Gillette Stadium for the NFL opener.
With the Dropkick Murphys playing behind the south end zone, the field filled with cheerleaders. A 40-yard-long banner that said, ”We are all Patriots” was unfurled at midfield.
Fans were also instructed on what to do for a ”card stunt” planned during the ceremony.
The Patriots open against Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night as part of the league’s kickoff weekend. The defending Super Bowl champions are planning to unveil their fourth NFL championship banner before the game.
To loud cheers from a soaked crowd – fewer than half the seats were filled in the heavy rain – Tom Brady jogged onto the field to begin warmups for Thursday night’s season opener against Pittsburgh.
The Patriots star, able to play after a federal judge vacated his four-game suspension handed down by the NFL in the deflated footballs scandal, was joined by backup Jimmy Garoppolo. Brady then walked over to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for a short chat.
As Brady began tossing the ball – presumably properly inflated – to receiver Danny Amendola, the precipitation slowed to a drizzle.
While nearly all the attention has been on Tom Brady in the world of NFL quarterbacks this summer, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger will set an impressive team record when he steps behind center against New England.
It will be Roethlisberger’s 159th start, surpassing Terry Bradshaw’s record for the Steelers of 158. Roethlisberger is 106-52 as a starter. He appeared in one game in 2004, his rookie season, as a backup.
The two-time Super Bowl winner and the first quarterback to win the AP’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award, Roethlisberger has a bit of ways to go to equal Bradshaw’s four NFL titles. Then again, Roethlisberger is only 33.
Heavy rain has put a dent in any festivities in the parking lots of Gillette Stadium hours before kickoff of the NFL season when the Patriots host the Steelers.
The wet weather prompted fans to raise hundreds of tents for tailgating, but they did so relatively quietly. The usual blaring music was missing. No one was chanting Tom Brady’s name or carrying a fake Lombardi Trophy – or even railing against the NFL for the deflated footballs case.
Instead most of the fans were just trying to stay dry before heading into the stadium.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/AP-NFL