Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completes 25 of 32 passes for 288 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. (Stephan Savoia/Associated Press)

The new NFL season began with quarterback Tom Brady and the New England Patriots back to doing what they do.

Brady threw four touchdown passes a week after a federal judge’s ruling made him eligible to play. The Patriots celebrated their most recent Super Bowl triumph and took an initial step toward another by beating the Pittsburgh Steelers, 28-21, on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.

The rainy night included more of the all-too-familiar speculation about prospective subterfuge, this time related to a failure of the Steelers’ communications system early in the game. But mostly the evening belonged to Brady, who had 19 straight completions at one point in a 25-for-32, 288-yard passing display, and tight end Rob Gronkowski, who caught three of Brady’s touchdown throws.

“There’s a lot of room for improvement,” Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said. “But we’ll take the production that we had. It’s good to be 1-0.”

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Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 26 of 38 passes for 351 yards, with one interception and a touchdown pass in the final seconds. The Steelers got 127 rushing yards by tailback DeAngelo Williams and 133 receiving yards from wideout Antonio Brown. But they couldn’t keep pace.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was not on hand for the opener. The league appealed the decision by U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman that overturned Brady’s four-game DeflateGate suspension.

Goodell’s absence prompted a “Where is Ro-ger?” chant by the crowd during the fourth quarter.

DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, and NFLPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who argued Brady’s case before Berman, were here. And, predictably, they were received warmly by Patriots fans.

The crowd cheered Brady’s arrival on the field for pregame warmups and chanted his name just before the Patriots’ opening offensive play. One sign in the stands read: “Hey, Mr. Trump: Tom Brady for V.P.”

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The Patriots’ pre-kickoff celebration of their fourth Super Bowl title with Bill Belichick as their coach and Brady as their quarterback was not exactly understated. There were fireworks. There was smoke everywhere. The team unfurled its championship banner, and the fans cheered wildly.

“It was a pretty special night,” Brady said. “I was excited . . . I love being out there with my teammates.”

It took less than a quarter for the new season’s first controversy — or at least quasi-controversy — involving the Patriots to emerge. NBC, which was carrying the game, reported during the first quarter that Steelers coaches were hearing the Patriots’ radio broadcast in their headsets.

Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin confirmed the report about the headset issue.

“That’s always the case,” Tomlin said at his postgame news conference. Asked whether he meant in Foxborough, Tomlin said, “Yes.”

Tomlin added later, “We let the league officials on site handle it.”

Asked whether the issue was addressed, Tomlin said, “Eventually.”

Such failures of coach-to-coach or coach-to-player in-game communications systems are relatively commonplace in stadiums league-wide. But in a league of suspicion, those malfunctions often generate whispers by the affected team about potential impropriety. And when the Patriots are involved, suspicions often are heightened. In this case, there was no immediate indication that anything improper was involved.

Belichick said the Patriots also experienced problems with their communications systems, and he was not given an explanation.

“It was a problem all night,” Belichick said.

The Steelers were shorthanded on offense for the game with tailback Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Martavis Bryant serving suspensions by the NFL and center Maurkice Pouncey on the short-term injured reserve list. Pittsburgh certainly didn’t help itself with a first-half performance that included two missed field goals by place kicker Josh Scobee and an ill-fated decision early on to attempt some offensive gimmickry.

That came with the Steelers moving the ball effectively on the game’s first possession. But on a first-down play from the New England 24-yard line, Roethlisberger threw a lateral to Brown, who looked to throw a pass but was under pressure and ended up being tackled for an eight-yard loss. A holding penalty followed, and the drive ended with Scobee sending a 44-yard field goal try wide right. Scobee also missed from 46 yards in the second quarter.

Brady was coming off a preseason in which he sometimes was off target, leaving room to wonder how much his issues with the league and his time spent in court were affecting his preparations for the season. He overthrew a pass to open wideout Danny Amendola on the Patriots’ opening possession Thursday, squandering a possible touchdown opportunity. But he basically was sharp from the outset on his way to a 15-for-17 first-half passing performance.

The first touchdown pass to Gronkowski came early in the second quarter. The tight end lined up to Brady’s right, grabbed a short pass and broke two tackles en route to a 16-yard touchdown. The duo struck again on the next New England drive as Brady lobbed a pass over two Pittsburgh defenders and Gronkowski made the catch in the back of the end zone for a six-yard touchdown.

After Scobee finally connected from 44 yards three seconds before halftime, the Patriots upped their lead to 21-3 early in the third quarter on Brady’s one-yard touchdown pass to another tight end, Scott Chandler. Pittsburgh had a reply this time with a one-yard touchdown run by fullback Will Johnson and a two-point conversion.

The Steelers reached the New England 1-yard line early in the fourth quarter but couldn’t get into the end zone, settling for Scobee’s second field goal of the night. Gronkowski did it all on the next Patriots drive with a 52-yard catch and run, a fumble recovery at the 1-yard line and then a one-yard touchdown grab.