As the NFL continues to process the events of two Sundays ago regarding the inflation of certain footballs, the media company owned by the NFL has tried to advance the ball from a news standpoint.
The end result creates plenty of questions — questions that undoubtedly will be answered, one way or the other.
Much of Ian Rapoport’s new report isn’t new. He confirmed without crediting reports from FOX and PFT regarding the surveillance video that shows Patriots employee taking 12 Patriots balls and 12 Colts balls into a restroom. The new information: Rapoport describes the man as “elderly,” and Rapoport says the man was in the restroom for 98 seconds. (PFT previously reported that the man was in the restroom for approximately 90 seconds.) Rapoport also confirmed without crediting the PFT report that the Patriots turned the video over to the NFL early in the process.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Chris Mortensen of ESPN initially reported that 11 of the 12 balls were two pounds under the 12.5 PSI minimum. PFT later reported that 10 of the balls were closer to one pound under the minimum than two. Now, the media company owned by the NFL reports that “[m]any of [the footballs] were just a few ticks under the minimum.”
So how many are “many”? And how much is “just a few ticks”?
Making the NFL media report even more confusing is the fact that, when Rapoport discussed the issue on the air, he specifically said that “a couple, three or four were about a pound under and three or four more were right at the line but a little bit under.”
As one league source with knowledge of the situation told PFT in response to the NFL Media report, “Ian’s wrong.” Apart from the inherent conflict between the written assertion that “many” were “just a few ticks under” and only “three or four” were “right at the line but a little bit under,” it’s possible that both versions are incorrect.
Either way, the truth eventually will be known. As a different source told PFT on Sunday morning, the NFL logged all PSI readings for the Patriots and Colts footballs at halftime of the AFC title game. Assuming that this information makes its way into Ted Wells’ report (and surely it will), the hard numbers eventually will become public.
In the end, it will be more than a little awkward, to say the least, if the official NFL investigation report conflicts with the latest NFL Media report on the investigation.