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Tomlin hopes to avoid communication system issues

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The last time Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was at Gillette Stadium, he came away heated after some on-field communication system problems.

"We were listening to the Patriots' radio broadcast for the majority of the first half," Tomlin said back in September of 2015. He added that communication issues were "always" a problem when playing games in New England.

Flash forward to January of 2017, and Tomlin, with far more on the line this time, expects any and all issues to be cleared up.

"I'm going to proceed with the presumption that that's the case," Tomlin said Tuesday, via ESPN.com.

For the record, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick also reported communication issues during that 2015 matchup.

Although Tomlin and Belichick aren't likely thinking about that anymore, it does add another layer to what could become a pretty classic AFC rivalry between two very good franchises. Antonio Brown's social media mishap after Sunday's win also amounted to a tiny, contentious pebble throw into the fray.

Taken individually, none of these issues seem all that serious. But taken together, it could form the foundation of a healthy AFC hatred. However, the Steelers need to perform better against New England as a whole for that to happen. As the Patriots' team website pointed out, after Ben Roethlisberger ended New England's 21-game winning streak back in 2004, a Roethlisberger-led team has only beaten a Brady-led team one other time -- in 2011.

A Roethlisberger-led Steelers team has never beaten a Brady-led Patriots team at Gillette Stadium, either, though Pittsburgh did beat New England there with Matt Cassel under center in 2008.

With Brady-Manning over, perhaps its time we replace it with something else to look forward to. Tomlin-Belichick has a nice ring to it. Brady-Roethlisberger isn't bad, either.

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