Mike Tomlin wasn’t happy with the communication system at Gillette Stadium on Thursday night, but apparently that isn’t a problem unique to Patriots home games.
“I remember that happening at multiple stadiums, honestly,” former Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Bledsoe said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “We’d travel and we’d go out and everything would work fine, and then we’d get into the game and invariably at multiple places – I don’t remember it specifically at Foxboro, but I remember it happening – all of a sudden your headset wouldn’t work. Your communication from the sidelines wouldn’t work. There’s all kind of controversy that’s always going to follow the Patriots around. That’s just the name of the game. But I remember that happening at multiple places where some of your stuff wouldn’t work.”
That never seemed to bother Bledsoe, though.
“As a veteran quarterback, it just wasn’t that big of a deal,” he said. “I kind of knew what play was coming anyway. But I can imagine if you’re a rookie quarterback and you go into a stadium and that communication goes down, that would have been a problem. But as a veteran quarterback, you kind of knew what was coming anyway. If you’re Ben Roethlisberger, you know the game plan, you know what’s coming and you know what the next call is. If he’s working closely with Todd Haley – and I know he is – if I was 10, 12 years into the league, I knew what the next call was. And if the next call didn’t come from the sidelines, I’m going to come up with something good.”
“If the next call didn’t come from the sidelines, I’m going to come up with something good,” Bledsoe said, laughing. “Oftentimes, I felt like I was going to come up with something better than the offensive coordinator. So sometimes I’d pretend like those things went down rather than go with what he’s sending anyway.”
In all seriousness, though, why are the Patriots always accused of cheating or bending the rules?
“Well, go look at college football,” Bledsoe said. “If you look at college football, no college football program gets investigated when they go 3-8. The only ones that get investigated are the ones that go to multiple bowl games and win national championships. So you start there. The Patriots have been really successful for a number of years, so they’re going to be under the microscope more than other teams. Beyond that, Bill Belichick and his staff and his team, they work really, really hard and they’ll examine the rule book and go and try to find loopholes, try to find things that they can do. So they’re going to push the envelop all the time and try to find an advantage. When you do that and you come up with a formation against the Ravens in the playoffs that other people haven’t seen before, people are going to look at it and look at it sideways, but it’s within the rules – and that’s how you do it. And so because of that, because they’re innovative and because they always win, there are going to be people that are just looking at them with a microscope more than they are other teams.”
Of course, Tom Brady put the Steelers under the microscope Thursday, dissecting them for 288 yards and four touchdowns.
Bledsoe anticipates a lot of gaudy games for Brady this season.
“You take a guy with his ability and a franchise with their talent and you give him a little bit extra motivation, it can be kind of scary,” Bledsoe said. “That’s kind of what I think is going to happen this year. I think you’re going to see a guy that had every reason to kind of just ride out the string all of a sudden get really motivated by some unfortunate circumstances.”