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Ben Roethlisberger, Jerome Bettis declare that Patriots cheated in opposition to Steelers in 2004 AFC Championship Sport


“They’d our indicators they usually known as a timeout to get them prepared for that play.”

Tom Brady and the Patriots handed Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers a number of losses through the years. Matthew J Lee / The Boston Globe

One other day, one other dishonest accusation tossed out in opposition to the Patriots.

Near 20 years after the Patriots trounced the Steelers, 41-27, within the 2004 AFC Championship Sport at Heinz Subject, two key gamers on that Pittsburgh squad alleged that Invoice Belichick and Co. conned their strategy to a visit again to the Tremendous Bowl.

On the most recent podcast episode of “Footbahlin with Ben Roethlisberger”, Ben Roethlisberger and Jerome Bettis mentioned that convention title sport. In keeping with them, the Patriots appeared to at all times be one step forward of the Steelers throughout pivotal sequences that night time. 

“Hey, to be honest, the Patriots cheated,” Roethlisberger stated. 

“For positive they did,” Bettis replied. “It’s not even a query in my thoughts.”

Bettis centered in on one play specifically, with the Steelers observing a 4th-and-1 state of affairs at New England’s 39-yard line. Earlier than the important thing snap, Bettis stated that New England known as a timeout — after which promptly snuffed out Bettis’ run up the center to pressure a turnover on downs.

In keeping with Bettis, the Patriots have been in a position to anticipate Bettis’ run throughout the timeout as a result of they have been conscious of the Steelers’ indicators.

“Who usually goes to the sideline on timeouts? The defensive captains, proper? They informed the nostril guard, [Ted] Washington, they pulled him to the sideline,” Bettis stated. “Massive 400-pound man, he don’t need to go to the sideline and are available all the way in which again,” Betts stated. “What he need to go to the sideline for? … They stopped us on fourth down. That’s a important play within the sport.“

“They’d our indicators they usually known as a timeout to get them prepared for that play as a result of they knew it was coming. No query in my thoughts. I keep in mind vividly as a result of I assumed, ‘Why is that this large dude going to the sideline?’”

On the very subsequent play, Tom Brady linked on a 60-yard landing move to Deion Department, giving New England a 10-0 lead within the first quarter.

That is removed from the primary time that the Patriots have been accused of dishonest in important video games. However Bettis’ recollection of the occasions does have some main discrepancies.

For the document, Ted Washington was not even on the 2004 Patriots roster, and Bettis truly fumbled on the play, as seen right here (go to the three:15 mark for the play in query).

Oh, and the Patriots didn’t even name a timeout earlier than this 4th-and-1 sequence. As noted by Jeff Howe of The Athletic, the Patriots solely known as one timeout in all the first half, and it got here within the second quarter. 

Regardless of Bettis and Roethlisberger’s feedback, former Steelers coach Invoice Cowher stated again in 2021 that he hasn’t used Spygate or another dishonest accusations directed on the Patriots as excuses for developing quick in opposition to New England through the years. 

“It’s solely dishonest for those who get caught,” Cowher stated in an interview with The Athletic. “Like all participant, for those who’re going to carry him, don’t get caught. In case you get caught, you’re improper, for those who don’t, you’re proper. I at all times thought we by no means misplaced the video games to New England due to Spygate. If [Bill Belichick] acquired the calls as a result of we didn’t do an excellent job of creating positive we signaled these in, that’s on us, it’s not on him. As a result of we’re at all times searching for aggressive edges. 

“I believe as any coach whether or not it’s somebody’s stance, somebody’s break up, somebody’s formation. You’re taking a look at somebody’s eyes, how are they popping out of a huddle? You’re at all times searching for these little issues that offer you a aggressive edge and that to me is what that was.”