The Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off the NFL season by gashing the New England Patriots Defense on their first drive gobbling up yardage with both runs and passes. Then they did a trick play that backfired, missed a field goal, and proceeded to watch New England quarterback, Tom Brady, and his New England receivers, decimate their Pittsburgh defense.
This was apparently all too much and beyond frustrating for Pittsburgh assistant coach, James Daniel, who allegedly attacked a fan as the lopsided game went into halftime, reports ESPN.
On his way to the Pittsburgh locker room, James Daniel, who coaches the Steelers’ tight ends, got into it with the Patriots fan and allegedly ended up kicking him in the back of the leg while also yelling at him, while several witnesses watched the bizarre scene unfold.
But the half time break apparently didn’t give James Daniel enough time to mellow out and get control of himself because the same witnesses got to catch Daniel in act 2 of his tantrum as he headed back out toward the field at the end of halftime.
NFL security officials were waiting for Daniel, who the witnesses identified as the Pittsburgh fan kicker, but when they tried to question James Daniel about what had happened with the fan, the Pittsburgh assistant coach reportedly let them have it too, unleashing a verbal barrage at the NFL security outfit.
In the end, James Daniel was apparently able to carry out the remainder of his coaching duties in Pittsburgh’s 28-21 loss to New England, as the NFL security team wasn’t able to catch up and question him until later Thursday night. The Steelers are also investigating the pre- and post-halftime brouhaha to try and shed light on what might have occurred between James Daniel, the New England fan, and NFL security.
According to USA Today, Brian McCarthy, the vice president of corporate communications for the NFL, confirmed that an investigation into what all occurred in the James Daniel incident is underway, as did Burt Lauten, the Steelers communications coordinator, the Steelers organization being made aware of what allegedly happened to James by NFL security.
Along with James Daniel allegedly attacking the fan and yelling at NFL security, and suffering a loss that by most accounts was far worse than the 28-21 score indicated, Pittsburgh also had technical problems with their coaching headsets, problems that many suspect weren’t accidental.
The headset problems plagued the Pittsburgh coaching staff throughout the first half, head coach Mike Tomlin telling reporters that such technical problems are “always the case” when playing the New England Patriots at home, reports the Daily Mail.
And Tomlin isn’t alone with his frustration, a report earlier in the week citing stories from other NFL teams that claim the Patriots had also sabotaged their headsets, basically destroying coach and player communications which is an integral part of the game.
Regardless, heading back to Pittsburgh with a first game defeat and questions about coach James Daniel and his alleged fan brouhaha, Tomlin appears to have his work cut out for him heading into week 2.
[Image via Getty Images]