We’re only one game into the 2015 NFL season, and there is already no shortage of accusations against the Patriots for being stinky cheaters. Not only did Mike Tomlin all but accuse the Patriots of tampering with the Steeelers’ radio headsets during the first quarter of Thursday’s opener in New England, now Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is accusing the Pats of intentionally bending the rules in their favor.
With the Steelers down 21-11 and just a few yards away from an offensive touchdown, the Patriots may or may not have intentionally baited the Pittsburgh offense into a false start on a crucial third down on the goal line. As the Steelers lined up and prepared to snap the ball, the Patriots defensive line executed a synchronized shift that caused several of Pittsburgh’s offensive linemen to jump. The offense was called for a false start and pushed back five yards, and the Steelers would ultimately settle for a field goal. The game ended 28-21.
On the field, Roethlisberger was visibly upset that the Patriots were able to get away with what he thought was intentionally drawing the offense into a false start, making an animated argument to the officials. After the game, he explained why he was so angry.
“I thought that there was a rule against that,” Roethlisberger said. “Maybe there’s not. Maybe it’s just an unwritten rule. . . . We saw it on film, that the Patriots do that. They shift and slide and do stuff on the goal line, knowing that it’s an itchy trigger finger-type down there.”