Sportress of Blogitude

Big Ben doesn’t expect headset issues at Gillette Stadium this time

Ben Roethlisberger expects a “hostile environment” at Gillette Stadium during Sunday’s AFC Championship Game showdown with the host New England Patriots. But the Pittsburgh Steelers signal-caller doesn’t anticipate any headset issues this time around.

There is, however, history explaining why headset issues would even be a point of discussion heading into Sunday’s game. During the teams’ season-opener game at Gillette Stadium in 2015, Steelers coaches’ headsets were picking up audio from the Patriots’ radio broadcast of the game during the first half of a 28-21 loss.

Roethlisberger at the time indicated the headset issue only occurred when the Steelers had the ball, saying the bizarre situation was “new to me.” Big Ben on Thursday said he doesn’t expect such a strange series of events to occur during this weekend’s AFC Championship Game. Further, he pointed out that there are contingencies in place if such a thing were to happen again.

“I’m not saying there’s always an issue, but there was an issue the last time we went up there,” Roethlisberger said Thursday morning, via TribLive.com. “But that’s why you have hand signals, wrist bands, and we’re ready to move on with whatever we have to do.”

The Steelers, despite winning five consecutive road games, including last weekend’s win over the Kansas Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, face an inordinately formidable task in trying to upset the Patriots. The Steelers have never beaten Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium. Beyond facing Brady and a Bill Belichick-led team, Roethlisberger pointed out that playing in Foxborough, Mass., also presents a completely unique set of challenges.

“You’ve got to understand there are a lot of elements to face,” Roethlisberger said. “The hostile environment, crowd, weather, you never know. We cherish that opportunity to go on the road, especially to awesome environments like Gillette Stadium with passionate fans that are going to be excited.

“It’s something you know you’re going to have to deal with if you’re not the (number) one or two seed.”

Kickoff for what should be memorable match-up between the two rivals is scheduled for 6:40 ET Sunday night.