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Steelers-Patriots headset drama: No blame, yet not sympathy

The don't need blamed for the mess on Thursday night, but that doesn't mean they need us to feel sorry for them either.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Hope you're done with Spygate and Deflategate, because now, we're onto another controversy that no doubt is going to get the -gate- tag. They aren't done, we'll have trickplay-gate, cheerleader-gate, and Kraft-gate, probably.  Memo to writers. Knock it off with the -gate- names. Watergate was over 40 years ago. Use creativity, we don't need gate attached to everything. Think of a better name.

OK, now that that's over, let's talk about Thursday night. Mike Tomlin made it pretty clear in his press conference, in an angry, nearly pent up frustration rant about how the Patriots were messing with the Steelers headsets. In case you haven't been following, the Steelers weren't hearing anything but the Patriots radio broadcast. I DID have video embed here, but the NFL took it down for copyright reasons.Thanks! Basically Pittsburgh believes this headset thing was another act of cheating.

Tomlin's rant insinuating cheating for the Patriots is better than John Harbaugh throwing a fit about his loss last year. Sure, it's shady, it's convenient, but it's also irrelevant.

The Steeler's headsets going out wasn't why they lost the game. They lost the game because DeAngelo Williams couldn't get into the goal line consistently. They lost because Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception late, they lost because their secondary makes a Swiss cheese green with envy. They lost because they couldn't contain Gronk.

You want to throw this loss on a headset malfunction, go ahead. Oh, and if you didn't know: The whole incident was on the league, not New England. The league is taking responsibility for once. Let's wrap our heads around that for a few seconds. Sure it's rather comical that once someone says something to New England officials, the radio magically comes back on, but that's neither here nor there.The Steelers lost because their offense couldn't capitalize. Not because of headsets.

Even if New England did have something to do with it, which I wouldn't put it past them, it didn't help them win the game. The real thing to get angry about is if there was cheating. Which at this point--there isn't. In Deflategate, New England still would have won if the balls had correct air in them--but they still cheated, that's the bottom line. Here, they didn't cheat, but we are suspecting they did. Until then, I welcome the shady look the team has. Headsets go out all the time, just with New England we think there's an agenda. It's their own fault they are portrayed this way, and if they want to get mad about cheating accusations, take a look in the mirror and point the finger.

The Patriots have no one to blame but themselves for an incident out of their hands. Now that they have been caught twice, this is their conviction: being labeled as cheaters for everything when they win. Now they are scrutinized for every single thing that goes wrong in the other team's loss. If a QB gets knocked out, I'm sure they'll blame Malcom Butler for passing on chicken pox. If Brady has all the time in the world to throw, I'm sure they will blame it on the team dressing rhinos in pads. It will be false, it won't be the reason they lost, it will be a media circus for New England, but they deserve it anyways, even if it's ludicrous. And this will forever follow the regime until it's done.

I'm not defending the NFL for that blunder either. Sounds crazy, but at this point I wouldn't be surprised if a conspiracy was at work, but this is far from being a cheating incident in Foxboro. Unfortunately, this is what New England is now. Every time they win, expect an incident to follow. I don't really feel sorry for them either. If New England didn't do anything scandalous, twice, would this be an issue?

Probably not. In fact, no one would think anything of the headsets going out. It's been reported other teams have had this problem, and the only reason we're hearing about it now is because of New England's rap sheet.  New England brought this on themselves. While this is not a fault of their own, they don't deserve our sympathy for the backlash that follows.

Advantage or not, just follow the damn rules in the first place and none of this happens. You didn't. You made this bed, deal with the consequences and distrust. Whether  merited or not.