It's been said that revenge is best served cold, and Steelers fans today are feasting on some they've waited 10 years enjoy. But the joy might not last long, as the Steelers are now facing conduct questions of their own.
The New England Patriots find themselves mired in the "DeflateGate" controversy, a week after their convincing after 45-7 thrashing of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game. Ten years ago, those some Patriots were coming off of a similar victory - a 41-27 pounding of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 23, 2005. After that game, Steelers' linebacker James Farrior said it seemed like the Patriot's Tom Brady knew their defensive signals, because he was calling out the defensive set before Farrior even finished his call.
Two years later, Bellichick and the Patriots were convicted in "Spygate" of stealing New York Jets defensive signals by secretly videotaping them from the sidelines during in a September 9, 2007 game. Although cheating was never proven to have occurred in the '05 AFC Championship, Spygate left many Steelers fans wondering if it had influenced the outcome.
The questions for the Steelers come from an "Outside The Lines" story on ESPN about their part-time head of security, Jack Kearney, who is also a deputy with the Allegheny County Sheriff's Department.
In a print version of the story titled "Deputy Also Steelers' Security Fixer" on espn.com, reporters Steve Fainaru andMark Fainaru-Wada details Kearney's work as a "fixer" for Steelers players who have had issues with the law, from seemingly harmless help in expediting the obtaining of gun permits, to potentially problematic involvement in criminal cases in which they were involved either directly or indirectly, including Mike Adams in 2013 (he was stabbed), Ben Roethlisberger's in 2010 (sexual assault charges), wide receiver Cedric Wilson in 2008 (girlfriend locked in his house, shots fired), and linebacker Richard Seigler in 2007 (accused of running a prostitution ring).
The reporters cited a statement from the Steelers outlining Kearney's duties, in which they are quoted as saying that they "were not aware of any conflicts in regard to his time on Steelers matters, nor are we aware of any conflicts of interest."
In a Friday press conference reported by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Allegheny County Sheriff William Mullen offered his support as well.
"Until someone gives me evidence that Lt. Kearney acted inappropriately or unprofessionally or unethically, he will stay in the assignment that he is in," Mullen said.