Many NFL teams have had their of problems, but none more than the New England Patriots. The most recent accusations came during the opening game of the season against AFC North opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Thursday night season opener commenced at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Pittsburgh Steelers’ Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his coaching staff said whenever the Steelers had the ball, there were problems with their headsets.
“We were listening to the Patriots radio broadcast for most of the first half,” said Tomlin in a postgame press conference.
The NFL released a statement shortly after the game stating a nearby storm caused the equipment malfunction.
No one can say for sure what happened, nor can any fingers be pointed for the issues, but the scandal is added to the extensive list of questionable actions by the PAT’s organization.
Controversies date back to the 1985 squad where 12 of the players had serious drug problems.
Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder in April for killing Odin Lloyd in 2013. However, the number of on-field scandals is what is most astounding.
On Dec. 12, 1982, the Patriots faced the Oakland Raiders in a game in which both teams failed to score in the first three quarters due to the monstrous amounts of snowfall. Mark Henderson, the Pat’s then stadium snow plow operator, cleared a spot on the field for New England’s kicker, Josh Smith, who kicked the game-winning field goal.
The infamous Spy-gate scandal exposed the Patriots’ illegally videotaping opposing teams’ signals from 2002-2007. The NFL fined the team $250,000 and snatched away New England’s first-round draft pick. Head Coach Bill Belichick was also fined $500,000, which remains the largest fine against a coach in NFL history.
After the 2015 AFC Divisional playoffs against the Baltimore Ravens, Head Coach Jim Harbough accused the Patriots of an ‘illegal type’ formation.
“Because what they were doing was they would announce the eligible player and Tom [Brady] would take it to the line right away and snap the ball before [we] even figured out who was lined up where,” Harbaugh said. “And that was the deception part of it. It was clearly deception.” The NFL ruled the play was legal and no action was taken against New England.
Eight days later in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, the Pats allegedly deflated the footballs to give Tom Brady and his crew the upper hand. The NFL initially suspended Brady for the first four contests of this season, but the decision was not upheld and Brady did not face any consequences.
No matter what is assumed or said, the fact remains New England is constantly in the news for some sort of scandal,and usually receive minor to zero repercussions. The question is whether or not the NFL consistently covers for the Patriots. The verdict has been left for the fans to make.