NFL insists there was no sting operation against Patriots

The #DeflateGate controversy leaves little room for middle ground on many issues.  Either the Patriots tampered with the footballs or they didn’t, and pretty much everyone has an opinion on the issue — regardless of what the facts eventually may reveal.

One key fact that is unrelated to the issue of cheating but nevertheless critical to the broader context is whether the NFL entered the AFC title game intending to try to catch the Patriots in the act, or whether the issue came up during the game itself.

Bob Glauber of Newsday has reported (and reiterated) that the question first emerged during the game, after an interception by Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson sparked a chain of events that culminated in the league office deciding to test the footballs at halftime.  Jay Glazer of FOX Sports has reported that the NFL intended to test the footballs at halftime even before the game began.

The latter report speaks to the existence of a sting operation, with the NFL setting a trap for the Patriots and springing it unexpectedly at intermission of the AFC title game.  It also means that the NFL would have allowed the Patriots to potentially undermine the integrity of the AFC title game, allowing them to use balls that may have been underinflated.

As mentioned within the last hour during the Super Bowl pregame show on NBC, the NFL privately insists that there was no sting operation, and that the incident first arose during the Colts-Patriots game.  While some would call that a predictable denial, the failure of the officials to log the air pressure inside the footballs before the game began suggests that there was no plan — or if there was a plan it was a bad one — to catch New England in the act.

97 responses to “NFL insists there was no sting operation against Patriots

  1. Still waiting for an acknowledgment of the Rapoport story that basically clears the Patriots…………………………………………
    ………………………………………………………………Still waiting.

  2. No comment on the news from Ian Rappaport that only one ball was deflated more than 2 psi? And speculation that it was the ball the Colts turned in?

  3. If the Pats balls were inflated to 12.5, which is legal, and they lost .3 during the game, they would then test illegal. Everyone says the Colts balls were legal. Here’s why. Luck likes them at 13.5. During the game, they also lost .3 and would still test legal. Much ado about nothing, I believe.

  4. Its already being reported that the only ball 2psi under was the one turned in by the Colts. Thats where the investigation should be. The other balls were found to be 3-4 aprox 1psi and 3-4 others “just a tick” under legal limit.

  5. Goodell would never allow a sting operation without alerting Billicheat. And were the balls the correct psi? Nope. Did they follow the rules? Nope. Does this make them cheaters? No because they already were cheaters but it makes them more of a cheater.

  6. AFL title game? Wow, this is an old report.

    There was no NFL sting operation, but there was a Colts’ brass sting operation, and it failed.

  7. Jay Glazer is a piece of trash Pats hater. He tried to to blame trip gate on the Pats on the Fox pregame claiming his video evidence showed the Pats O-Line making a wall on the sideline. It was absolutely pathetic. Now this? He deserves to burn along with Mort for all this false reporting.

  8. Any response to the nfl.com report of only 1 ball being at, or near 2psi under. And the remaining 11 balls being “just a tick under 12.5” ?

    The public demands an answer from you! Especially in light of your subjective coverage of this situation. What say you?

  9. No sting? HOW DID THE REFS DECIDE TO CHECK THE FOOTBALLS WHEN THEY HAD PLAYED WITH THEM FOR THE FIRST HALF.

    This is some All Pro backpedaling by the NFL.

  10. With the way the league mishandled the Ray Rice situation and now this, Goodell’s position is untenable.

  11. Larry Moe and Curly could’ve done a better job on this situation. They need to drop all of this issue a huge apology to the patriors And focus on real actual problems around the league.

  12. Only ball refs found to be under 2 lb psi was taken from playing field in possession of a Colt player.
    Mike Kensil was on the Colt sideline.

    Tampering?? Hmmm……….

  13. No logging of pressures says : No sting. Eleven of twelve balls low after being checked before the game says: Yes, cheating.

  14. needs to be an investigation into the fact that the one football that was the most deflated was in the colts possession . very shady if you ask me , the patriots would only see a real advantage(asuming there is one) if all the footballs were the same psi under the legal psi .

  15. Just ask the ball boy to take a polygraph test. If he didn’t do or know what happen, you think he would jump at the chance to clear his name.

  16. If the Rapoport story is true – that the majority of the footballs were “a tick” under 12.5 – WITHIN the margin of error – then it’s long past time that Goodell is immediately relieved of his duties as commissioner of the National Football League.

    #FireGoodell

  17. I agree with Jeff Blake. Why on earth does the NFL require rock hard air pressure?

    Why not lower the pressure level to something that improves the quality of the game? Is there some reason why rock hard pressure is necessary? If not, change the rule. #it’snotrocketscience

  18. Mike Kensil was in on this with Harbaugh and Pagano. It may not be a sting in that the officials didn’t know about it before the game, but Mike Kensil, John Harbaugh, and Chuck Pagano had a plan.. That’s two coaches and a league official trying to nail the Patriots and they came up with footballs under the standard psi that was under standard because of weather or something the Patriots did. So far, there’s no evidence that this didn’t happen because of the weather conditions. Kensal = Goodell because the buck stops with Goodell and he hasn’t indicated that he’s calling Kensil’s behavior into question.

  19. The new report today, reported by Rich Eisen among others, is that only one football was 2 PSI under, with most of the rest only marginally under 12.5 PSI. If this proves true, then the NFL owes the Pats an apology and they have a lot of explaining to do as to why, just before the big game, they unleash this scandal, which is not much of a scandal after all!

  20. I hope if the Patriots win the SB, none of them shake Goodells hand and at least one (Browner?, Blount?) calls out the NFL for its ridiculous and absurd investigation.

  21. Wait a second ……. didn’t they say a week and a half ago that they WERE running a sting on the Patriots, and INTENDED to check the Patriots footballs at halftime?????

    The Patriots have been subjected to two weeks of accusations and suspicions because the league said they caught the Patriots using under-inflated balls, but they never said what the balls tested at before the game and at the half, or what the Colts balls tested at. They never addressed the natural physics of temperature drops on the air pressure inside ALL of those footballs. And then they said that they never RECORDED what those pressures were.

    Roger Gooddell has botched this whole thing beyond belief, and needlessly tarnished the reputation of the Patriots to a ridiculous degree.

    Either you WERE running a badly managed sting and failed miserably, or you weren’t. The NFL was either lying when they said they WERE running a sting, or they’re lying NOW when they say they weren’t.

    Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady are without a DOUBT owed that apology!!!!!

  22. The Illegal 20-Yard Swing in the Pats-Ravens Game

    Despite all of the attention heaped on deflategate, the bigger scandal of the playoffs will end up having been the refs mishandling of the Patriots eligibility-aided drive against the Ravens.

    Proper enforcement of the rules would have penalized the Patriots for 5 yards. Add that 5 to the 15 yard penalty that the Ravens took to call attention to the scheme and that’s a 20-yard swing on a scoring drive in a very close game.

    No one, including PROFOOTBALLTALK.COM, appears to have held the refs to the standards laid out in the NFL’s 2012 POINTS OF EMPHASIS, which specifically address the situation that occurred in the Patriots-Ravens game. Everyone, including PROFOOTBALLTALK.COM, has taken the refs at their word without much scrutiny. The refs still seem confused about how to handle this situation. If they looked at the 2012 POINTS OF EMPHASIS, the answer is right there.

    The cold logic here includes two points and one extrapolation.

    1. FACT: It was widely reported that Shane Vereen on at least one play reported his ineligibility just before the snap on the drive.

    2. FACT: Players wearing numbers that don’t qualify them for their position must report to the referee “BEFORE ENTERING THE HUDDLE.” And if a player fails to properly report his change in eligibility, “IT WILL RESULT IN A 5-YARD PENALTY FOR ILLEGAL SUBSTITUION.”

    3. EXTRAPOLATION: If the refs had thrown the flag, Harbaugh would not have gotten the unsportsmanlike conduct. That’s the 20-yard swing on a scoring drive.

    Here is the portion of the 2012 points of emphasis:
    The committee also reviewed the procedures for an offensive player who comes into the game wearing a number that does not qualify him for the position he takes. These players must report to the referee, before entering the huddle. The referee and umpire will then report the same to the defensive team.

    This rule prevails whether a player is already in the game or is an entering substitute and whether it is a play from scrimmage, an attempted field goal, or a try after a touchdown. If a player fails to report his change in eligibility, it will result in a 5-yard penalty for illegal substitution.

    Clearly no one wants to talk about this. Not the Patriots certainly, not the NFL refs (who are still confused about how to handle this issue) and not the Ravens (who in retrospect should have called a timeout.) But that doesn’t change the fact that if the refs had handled it properly, the outcome might have been different.

  23. There was a “sting”. It’s just that the NFL realizes how dumb they were not to log the PSI’s before the game. Now they’re going to “privately” claim there was no sting. Goodell is still full of hubris and arrogance.

  24. When did the AFL come back?
    Leave it up to the Patriots to undermine the integrity of 2 leagues!

    Seriously though, either EVERY SINGLE REPORT that’s been leaked has been spurious, or the NFL is backtracking and trying to prepare the world for….NOTHING! It seems to me they’re playing politics by hiring the firm to do experiments. It’s their only hope to save face but they’re hedging their bets by undoing all the speculative PR damage from the leaks. They SHOULD be looking for a few little dutch boys to plug all the leaks! THEY”RE DESPERATE!!

  25. corkspop says: Feb 1, 2015 2:15 PM

    No logging of pressures says : No sting. Eleven of twelve balls low after being checked before the game says: Yes, cheating.

    —————————————————-

    They weren’t checked before the game, genius, unless checking them means they were squeezed like a package of Charmin, if even that.

  26. Yeah, they said this a couple days ago, remember? When you don’t measure the pregame inflation in a sting you make Inspector Clouseau look like a genius.

  27. Another interesting tidbit: The “ball boy” was actually an elderly man.

    Who apparently can deflate 11 footballs in 90ish seconds.

    Good night story.

    #GoodellMustGo

  28. >Mort needs to publicly apologize and immediately resign.

    He’s doing exactly what ESPN is paying him to do, generate insane amounts of attention.

  29. Ya, we know.

    Clearly the NFL leadership group isn’t clever enough to execute a sting operation.

    They can’t even keep a log of the air pressure of the footballs in an investigation into the air pressure of footballs. Haha!

  30. Would one of you Pats fans please name the person with the NFL who has stated any of this? Nope, you decried the initial MEDIA reports, and now are declaring this latest MEDIA report as gospel truth. Make up your minds

  31. It frosts me as a Patriots fan that the NFL left the Patriots twisting in the wind for two weeks, knowing they didn’t have a shred of evidence that the Patriots cheated, and let the world think they had the goods on New England.

    For decades to come, football fans around the country will believe that the Patriots cheated by deflating 11 of 12 footballs, when – just like those alleged “taping of practices” there isn’t a shred of evidence that the Patriots did ANYTHING wrong.

    Shame on Roger Gooddell. Mark my words, this betrayal of Bob Kraft is going to be what finally gets Roger Gooddell fired, only they’re all going to call it a “mutual parting”.

  32. Seriously is this what all the media should be surrounding just before the Super Bowl? I have heard way to much on this topic and its ridiculous that it is all over every sports page for weeks now! The worst is when you see all the Indy fans complaining in forums. I do not see where the pressure in the ball being off by 1 or 2 psi is going to make as many headlines in the news like Steroids in baseball. Yeah it all should be on an even playing field and no one should be able to adjust something for even a slight advantage, but it doesn’t need this much media coverage seriously earlier in the season Vontaze Burfict was twisting peoples ankles intentionally trying injure people after the play and that was hardly covered and done, but a balls psi being off gets all this? Lets move past it NFL and find a better way of controlling it through out a game instead of having these crap issues linger in the media and real issues like Burfict, Rice & Suh’s stuff be blown over quickly. For you Colts fans crying in the forums just be happy you made it to the Championship and got to see a couple extra games because the Colts weren’t even that good and they just won the right games to get them as far as they did. No disrespect to the Colts because I am a huge Andrew Luck fan and think he is going to be great but during the AFC Championship game Tom Brady could have been throwing a completely flat football with his left hand and it wouldn’t have changed the outcome in that game.

  33. Cheaters deserve to get stung.

    If police didn’t watch criminals more closely… they might commit another crime.

    Such is how the NFL should police the NFL.

    THAT SAID… everyone knows that the NFL is selective in their policing of NFL rules.

  34. brazzz01 says: Feb 1, 2015 2:17 PM

    If the Rapoport story is true – that the majority of the footballs were “a tick” under 12.5 – WITHIN the margin of error – then it’s long past time that Goodell is immediately relieved of his duties as commissioner of the National Football League.

    #FireGoodell

    15 1 <<<<<< Interesting. I guess Roger himself reads PFT comments! Wow!

    Hey Roger – your incompetence is a disgrace. Resign now.

  35. Culture of cheating.

    #*******

    We’re not hating on you. We just hate you. Kinda like, we’re not laughing with you. We’re laughing at you because the only stretch of success your organization has ever seen is fueled by breaking the rules.

    #*****

  36. “deflate gate” is just a John Harbaugh lackey(on the colts staff) who decided to burn Brady for clowning Ravens about knowing the rules after he sent Harbaugh off to the pro bowl.

    I bet dollars to donuts Harbaugh is behind this

  37. League investigating Colts now for tampering with AFC Championship game ball now??
    Only deflated ball was in Colts hands last.
    Pretty clearly Colts deflated ball.
    Was Colts owner drunk again…or pills again?

  38. Eleven of the 12 footballs used in the first half were judged by the officials to be the minimum of 12.5 PSI, but just ONE was two pounds under. Many of them were just a few ticks under the minimum.

    Anyone wanna guess where the ONE ball came from?? From the Colts sideline.

    PTF. NFL dot com is reporting this.. Why isn’t PFT. Oh, why ask. We know why

  39. Shame on Roger Gooddell. Mark my words, this betrayal of Bob Kraft is going to be what finally gets Roger Gooddell fired, only they’re all going to call it a “mutual parting”.


    If the man had any integrity, he would resign as commissioner of the National Football League effective immediately.

    His fanboys of course will defend him to suit their agenda but this level of incompetence is indefensible.

  40. Ravens fans are a joke a team full of murderers and steroid users are crying foul I hate the ravens their sore losers team and owner and coach

  41. Not so much a “sting” as a planned distraction to keep people from talking about CTE, brain trauma, incompetent officiating and a scary high tolerance for domestic violence.

    But not a “sting” per se…

  42. I keep reading all these Patriot fans that say the Pats balls were inflated to 12.5 and Colts at 13.5.

    Where the hell did you get that info? I have not seen one report saying what either teams balls started at.

    But hey just make up stuff up, what ever works for ya.

  43. Worst commissioner in the history of American professional sports.

    I hope my truthful PFT board name trends tonight.

  44. Per Rappaport

    Eleven of the 12 footballs used in the first half were judged by the officials to be the minimum of 12.5 PSI, but just ONE was two pounds under. Many of them were just a few ticks under the minimum.

    Anyone wanna guess where the ONE ball came from?? From the Colts sideline.

    PTF. NFL dot com is reporting this.. Why isn’t PFT. Oh, we know why.

  45. Lol! We’re sore losers… How bout Brady spiking reed in the groin? How bout welkers wife taking to twitter to cry after we smoked you in AFC championship 2012? His bout Brady crying to the ref whenever he’s touched??? YOU are the cry baby cheating losers.

  46. Goodell does have a big pr problem, and a potential litigation one. It wasn’t what the Patriots did in “spygate” that had such an impact, it was Goodell’s mishandling it by over-penalizing the Patriots and Belichick. 90% of the public has no clue what really happen in “spygate”, they just know the huge fines and loss of a first round draft pick must mean it was “huge”.

    Now, if the Patriots are exonerated and no other team (or the NFL itself) or individuals are heavily penalized the stink will stay unfairly with the Patriots. The question is who will Goodell punish and what will it cost.

  47. olddirtytruth says:
    Feb 1, 2015 2:56 PM
    But hey just make up stuff up, what ever works for ya.
    ———
    You mean like you haters making up the patriots were taping practices when in reality they were taping coaches in game in front of national tv cameras and 80,000 fans? Making stuff up like that?

  48. @ravensdominate, so how does that statue the Ravens put up for RAY LEWIS look? Will the Ravens be putting up another one to honor RAY RICE?

  49. Lewis never killed anyone. Hernandez was killing multiple people for years while wearing a pats uniform. Ironically his last game was vs the ravens when we destroyed you in the AFC Chsmpionship. Without cheating.

  50. Only one ball significantly under inflated and it’s the one that was out of site in the hands of the Colt’s equipment manager for a period of time.

    There needs to be fines, suspensions and a loss of draft picks.. On the Colts.

  51. This doesn’t have anything to do with the Colts, anymore than Barry Bonds and steroids have to do with the Dodgers. It’s about competition. It’s about Tom Brady using balls that were doctored in order to be able to grip it better in cold & wet weather. Did Brady cheat NFL history, and if so, how long has he been doing it? That’s what most people are wondering. A few Colts diehard fans are ready to convict without evidence, and a few Patriots’ fans are ready to let a guilty person walk free. Most football fans just want to make sure that it’s a level playing field, and this is going to be discussed as long as people are discussing Tom Brady’s legacy. Barry Bonds isn’t in the MLB HOF and he was clearly a first ballot HOFer and one of the top 5 players all time. Nobody wants to hate Tom Brady, it’s more about his place among the all time greats, and whether or not this is going to knock him down a little. Like Bonds, I know Brady is a great player, but I also think he cheated.

  52. I’m betting that the little Hispanic couple’s homemade tortilla business down the street is run better than the nfls multi-billion operation.

  53. Oh for pity’s sake. Fine ’em, banish ’em from the league, move ’em to Jacksonville but let’s move on from this already.

    The NFL and the media have dragged this out so we forget or overlook all the ineptness of God-dell and the drunken, greedy, and corrupt owners. The Marquis de Sade never had so much fun as these entitled owners.

    Haslam & Irsay are still not in jail, and the taxpayers of St. Louis and Jacksonville are still getting “played” liked string puppets by their respective billionaire owners. “Dance for me, dance for me.”

    And, the biggest football event of the year still falls second to its sponsors.

  54. Lewis never killed anyone. Hernandez was killing multiple people for years while wearing a pats uniform. Ironically his last game was vs the ravens when we destroyed you in the AFC Chsmpionship. Without cheating.

    —-

    Umm. He and two of his friends stabbed two guys to death in a parking lot. That would be killing someone. Just because he managed to clean up all the evidence (where IS that white suit, anyways?) doesn’t mean he didn’t do it.

  55. There needs to be fines, suspensions and a loss of draft picks.. On the Colts.

    —-

    No. The only thing that “needs” to happen is Roger Goodell given his walking papers. Everything else for the time being takes a back seat to that immediate need.

    #FIREGoodell

  56. Mort’s sources also told him Jimmy Garoppolo would replace Brady “sooner rather than later” after the Chiefs loss. The guy is a pudgy man-boy with garbage sources designed to give the tabloid that is ESPN more page views and ratings. This entire story is an absolute manufactured sham.

  57. The Pats fan remind me of ISIS without the killings.
    Seriously they think they are right when the rest of the world know they are wrong.

  58. And the question I would like to know the answer to is does the league bother to log the psi for all of the games?

    It seems to be a simple, though tedious, task given that it has no apparent affect on the game. The refs touch the ball on every play and there was no protest or notice by them that anything was untoward.

    Moral of the Story: re-set the psi limits to a broader range and let each team play with the footballs the the way they like ’em. If it looks like a football and catches like football ITS A FOOTBALL.

  59. Culture of cheating.

    #*******

    We’re not hating on you. We just hate you. Kinda like, we’re not laughing with you. We’re laughing at you because the only stretch of success your organization has ever seen is fueled by breaking the rules.

    #*****

    While not a Pats fan I am tired of Raven fans whining about their loss to the Pats. Cheaters? Maybe, but they don’t support abusers and murders….there isn’t a statue outside of Gillette stadium to a convicted criminal….. The Pats didn’t try to hide spousal abuse like the Ravens tried to…..so for a Raven fan to call anyone a cheater is a joke….but then again you are talking about the biggest cry babies in the NFL.

  60. ok NFL, we believe you…. Just like there were walk through tape you forces the Patriots to respond to the day before the biggest game in NFL history causing them to miss a day or coaching and preparation?

  61. BTW, where are the Ravens? Oh, right, they’re busy playing golf because they aren’t as good as the Patriots. LOL

  62. nyerinbaltimore says:

    1. FACT: It was widely reported that Shane Vereen on at least one play reported his ineligibility just before the snap on the drive.
    ——————————

    Typical intelligent Ravens fan. Not only doesn’t know the facts, hasn’t even a clue to what a fact is.

    HINT to all Ravens fans: just because you heard it on ESPN doesn’t make it a fact.

  63. Ravens had two (2!) fourteen (14!) point leads and STILL lost to the Patriots. Eat your hearts out, Ravens fans! LOL

  64. Ok, so Pats fans all claim innocence while the haters all claim guilty. No actual evidence either way yet, only a multitude of speculation. Now it appears that all the reports that started this whole mess are unraveling, but will that change the haters minds? Not one bit, so why bother to try? Even if the Patriots are innocent of any wrongdoing, the damage has been done. To the haters, the Pats are guilty and if the NFL can’t prove it then the NFL is covering up. The report we all are seeing now is that only one ball was down 2 psi and the others were just a tick under and that the 2 psi ball was the one turned in by the Colts.
    There is only one thing that will vindicate the Patriots and that is if there was irrefutable video proof that the Colts tampered with the one ball that they turned in. Do you think the NFL will even look at this as a possibility? NO! It wouldn’t matter if the NFL did find proof the Colts tampered with that ball anyways, because everybody knows that the media wouldn’t have the integrity to report it or admit that they were wrong, and the haters already know that the Pats are guilty regardless of whether or not there is proof of their innocence.

  65. D’Qwell Jackson is on record the week before last as saying there was nothing wrong with the ball he caught for the INT…

    If that’s the case then the Colts had to have tampered with it on their sideline while it was in their possession. END OF STORY!

    Now investigate the Colts for cheating again.

  66. Think about it the story got to big even for the nfl they had to kill it or potentially lose millions cuz everyone thinks one team cheated to get there, and if they win wood be in another contravercy of should a team that was found cheating be able to win the super bowl. NFL HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO KILL THE STORY COMMON SENSE pats been cheating for years 14 to be exact.

  67. mmack66 says: Feb 1, 2015 2:26 PM

    corkspop says: Feb 1, 2015 2:15 PM

    No logging of pressures says : No sting. Eleven of twelve balls low after being checked before the game says: Yes, cheating.

    —————————————————-

    They weren’t checked before the game, genius, unless checking them means they were squeezed like a package of Charmin, if even that

    Umm, so if they didn’t log them on paper they couldn’t have checked them? Strange. I check my tire pressure all the time and never write it down. Now I realise that I never actually checked them. Talk about genius.

  68. Hi Noel Thomas,

    If Vereen reported before the huddle and the referees notified the Ravens at the inception of the huddle, then there’s no issue, and the refs did exactly the right thing, according to the rule.

    If you read Vinovich’s interview with Peter King at Sports Illustrated, you will see that he doesn’t appear to have any idea that the NFL emphasized enforcement of this rule in a way that contemplated this very situation.

    A few outlets reported that Vereen’s report on one play came right before the snap. If you read closely I am saying that people reported it, not that it’s necessarily true. If it’s not, post a tape or give a link with contrary evidence. Don’t get nasty about it. You are better than that.

    Yes, I root for the Ravens. But I grew up about 10 minutes away from Yankee Stadium, so I’ve rooted my whole life for the Giants and the Yankees. I am pretty sure you know who they are.

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