Spygate, Deflategate, now HeadsetGate?
There was actual football on Thursday night as the Patriots had the opening game of the 2015 season to celebrate their Super Bowl 49 win with a symphony, T-Pain and Robert Kraft walking out with the Lombardi trophy while "All I Do is Win" was performed live.
The Patriots beat the Steelers 28-21 after a four touchdown performance by Tom Brady, the man centered around a controversy involving under-inflated balls, who had his four-game suspension wiped out by a federal judge because the National Football League mishandled their "independent" investigation.
So you have the pomp and circumstance, the national anthem and finally! Kickoff. Time to put all controversy aside, right?
Well, that was until the first quarter when it was reported that the Steelers coaches were receiving the Patriots radio broadcast in their ear.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said there have been headset issues in the past when his team plays in Foxboro.
Uh, oh! Do we have another case of cheating by New England?!
No. This isn't stealing signs or letting air out of footballs to get a competitive edge. It's an odd coincidence that just happened to occur at Gillette Stadium, home to the team that many are convinced have cheated their way to four Super Bowl titles in the last 13 years.
Tomlin was clearly irritated during his postgame Thursday night. First, his team lost, and second, he's listening to Bob Socci and homer color commentator Scott Zolak in his ear during the first half while trying to talk to his coordinators and other coaches upstairs. Tomlin is the more vocal version of Belichick. Bill will disregard your question with a scowl and mumble, but Tomlin will be short and direct with you.
The NFL said that the malfunction was due to the heavy rain, and the league does control communication on the sidelines. It's an embarrassing moment for them, but some will try to come up with a theory that the Patriots have a man on the staff they call "The Transmitter" who tampered with the Steelers signal to gain a competitive edge.
If you think that, I hope you're wearing your tin foil hat.
Even Bill Belichick said the Patriots experienced some issues. He wasn't specific on what he was receiving in his ear, but don't think for a second he was receiving Keith Butler calling out defensive plays. The way Brady and Gronkowski abused the Steelers secondary, it wasn't necessary. Also, the Patriots head coach said they've had issues before.
But please, for the love of God, do not turn this into another "Gate" situation.
I am "gated" out, and a lot of people who follow the NFL are, too.
Roger Goodell, who was probably in a secret, underground bunker watching the game Thursday night, moaned when he heard Al Michaels say that the Steelers were getting the Patriots radio team in their ear.
But, with the NFL news cycle operation on a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year format, it will have a clever nickname and hashtag on Twitter, and with the Patriots' reputation, people will look far too deep into this headset thing.
Side note: Former Patriots tight end, current convicted killer and bad prison inmate Aaron Hernandez was brought up by Chris Collinsworth during the NBC broadcast Thursday night. It was like the joke a comedian makes during a roast that makes the audience groin and go "oh". Too soon? Yes. It will always be "too soon" for Hernandez.