Fresh #DeflateGate wrinkle involves special-teams ball

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It’s been more than two weeks since anyone has advanced the ball on the question of whether the Patriots used intentionally deflated footballs in the AFC championship game.  The latest twist has nothing to do with football inflation.

Kelly Naqi of ESPN.com reports that a Patriots locker-room attendant tried to introduce an unapproved kicking ball during the first half of the game between Indianapolis and New England.  Investigator Ted Wells has interviewed the attendant, 48-year-old Jim McNally, regarding the situation.

McNally, a part-time employee of the Patriots, had been assigned to the officials’ locker room for the game.   Alternate official Greg Yette became suspicious, according to Naqi, upon noticing that the football tendered by McNally lacked the “K” ball designation.  Yette notified NFL V.P. of game operations Mike Kensil regarding McNally’s attempt to insert a non-“K” ball into the game.

In 1999, the NFL revamped the procedures for the handling of special-teams balls due to concerns that teams were tampering with the balls to enhance their flight on kicks and punts.

Previously, NFL V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent acknowledged that Colts G.M. Ryan Grigson had contacted Kensil during the AFC title game regarding concerns that the Patriots were using underinflated footballs on offense.

It’s unknown whether McNally is the same person who, as Jay Glazer of FOX Sports first reported, was spotted by a surveillance camera at Gillette Stadium taking a bag of footballs into a separate area of the venue.  PFT thereafter reported that the separate area was a bathroom, and that the attendant spent roughly 90 seconds inside, with a bag of Patriots and Colts footballs.  Ian Rapoport of NFL Media has since reported that the precise number was 98 seconds, and that the attendant was “elderly.”

In the days prior to the Super Bowl, Wells said that the investigation will take several more weeks.  As explained during the NBC Super Bowl pregame show, the NFL has hired multiple scientists to conduct experiments regarding the impact of atmospheric conditions on football inflation and to duplicate perpetration activities that, according to Patriots coach Bill Belichick, caused the air pressure inside the footballs to change.

126 responses to “Fresh #DeflateGate wrinkle involves special-teams ball

  1. So he gave them a K-ball during offense by accident that was not approved and he knows Tom Brady don’t like his footballs right out of the box, no QBs does and the refs said no and took the Football? How would it help Brady ? And how is that a competetive advantage?

  2. I think the Pats are guilty … and even I’m sick of this story at this point. Just let it go.

  3. So they alternated between using under inflated balls and overinflated, untouched, shiny slippery balls?

    Which is it?

    Enough already. this is going nowhere, and everyone is grasping at straws.

  4. Kelly of ESPN???? You mean the same Organization that only reports their slight on events? And never states when something outside of their reality is proven??? Yeah, we all believe it.

    ESPN…a joke of a reporting agency

  5. These jokers should have to vacate the Title, just to prove a point. Anyone who tries to defend their culture of cheating (Robert Kraft), should be sent away for some time as well…

  6. If this is true there should be a minimum of a loss of first rond draft picks for a three year period. What is a shame is the Pats have a GREAT coach, and quarterback. They don’t need to resort to cheating. Again if it is true.

  7. This needs to be brought to a close already. I am curious how the nfl determines they need to hire a third party. Deflated football’s, let’s hire a lawyer to figure this out. Child abuse and spousal abuse, apparently they think they can handle those situations. Anyone else see a problem with that?

  8. I hate the Patriots more than any other team…but considering all of the bad information published on deflategate, perhaps there should be a moratorium on deflate gate articles until Wells and the NFL publish their official report. This article is nothing more than leaked information, and up to this point, the leaks have proven to contradictory, misleading, and lacking any reasonable measure of credibility.

  9. Suspect story – Kelly Naqi at ESPN names the ball”boy”, his home town and included his picture (maybe because he wouldn’t speak to one of the OTL reporters)

    Probably better if she named her ‘source’ AND explained the relevance of the wrong ball handed off to the referee in the context of the whole deflategate thing.

    or better yet – waited for the Wells report and the data to be released…..

    js

  10. don’t the k-balls benefit the kickers? why would they try to remove that advantage? this report from otl makes zero sense.

  11. Grigson to Kensil + FOUR insiders leaking inside information to the media.

    And now, a rogue K-ball?

    Oh yeah. This doesn’t stink to the high heavens.

  12. Why would the Patriots submit an unapproved kicking ball to an official who would obviously check the mark on the ball before letting it into the game? That would be dumb. That sounds like a rogue move or a guy that was paid to sabotage.

  13. “In 1999, the NFL revamped the procedures for the handling of special-teams balls due to concerns that teams were tampering with the balls to enhance their flight on kicks and punts.”
    —–
    I’ll let everyone else bash or defend the Pats, but the above should put an end to the “greased football” conspiracy theory behind Tony Romo’s botched hold on the potential GW FG at Seattle in ’07.

  14. So after being accused of trying to sneak softer footballs into a game for the offense, we’re now supposed to think those dastardly Patriots tried to sneak a harder K-ball into a game for the offense. For some reason.

    Right.

    And it sounds to me like the ref did his job and prevented the ball from entering the game anyway

    #yawn
    #reach
    #chasingsmoke
    #ugotnothing
    #graspingatstraws
    #thisstoryjumpedtheshark
    #lolgoodnight

  15. A part time employee gives a kicking ball to an alternate referee, it is disallowed and never gets into the game- Ball General Mike Kensil just happens to be around. – is this anything but a setup by Kensil, Grigson and the NfL!

  16. I wonder if this is an attempt to take the heat off of Indy. The way the ESPN report is written, it could be suggested that Mike Kensil was called initially in response to this baloney, and not in response to the report from Indy’s sideline. But why would Kensil check the psi if this is what caught his attention?

    Plus, it sounds like this ball never even made it into the game, so on the hierarchy of potential problems, this seems incredibly low. It would be an extremely lame way to cheat; it’s not hard to miss whether the K that the ref put on the ball was there (in fact, they apparently caught it right away). If they wanted to cheat, if this wasn’t just an accident, why not try to forge the ref’s mark?

    Also, why is this, of all things, being leaked today, with *four* sources ready to talk about it? Nothing for weeks, and now *four* people want to talk about a kicking ball? Four anonymous sources, all chatty at the same time…makes you wonder.

    Something fishy…

  17. Poor poor Patriots haters.

    To think you desperately wanted this story to turn into something meaningful. Just like the silly story about the Rams walkthrough that was a complete fabrication.

    You poor things. That has to sting. So tantalizingly close…and yet so far. You know, kind of like the Seahawks on the 1/2 yard line. We know you were frothing at the mouth desperately wanting them to score so you can run your mouths. Alas…it was not to be.

    28-24. 🙂

    #weownu
    #wedominateu
    #wedemoralizeu
    #urnothing
    #4shinylombardis
    #bowtothechamps
    #kissthering

  18. So let me see if I got this right a special teams ball that was taken out of play because it didn’t have the K was the cause of delategate? How would that benefit the Patriots offense again? Also why alert Mike Kensil and not the officiating crew? This story is beginning to stink more and more. Oh and this is coming from ESPN? Yeah because they’re the pinnacle of sports “reporting.”

  19. Ah, another “leak” from the esteemed office of the Commandant…I mean, Commissioner reported by the 4 letter mega-corporation known for their honesty an above reproach execution.

  20. Also, Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, told “60 Minutes Sports” that Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson told league officials in the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game that the Patriots might be tampering with footballs.

    A source told Outside the Lines that (ex-Jets Executive) Kensil decided to personally go down to the officials’ locker room at halftime of the Patriots-Colts game to check the game balls, in part, because of the suspicions McNally’s actions raised.

    Yeah, Ted Wells had better be casting a wide investigative net across this whole skunk works.

  21. mikedcc says:
    Feb 17, 2015 10:31 PM
    don’t the k-balls benefit the kickers? why would they try to remove that advantage? this report from otl makes zero sense.

    ———

    Even if there was an advantage, why would the Patriots think the official wouldn’t check the marks and report it? Isn’t that why they mark the balls?

  22. i think the nfl is scared that the real evidence is starting to be realized. the only ball truly underinflated was the one in the colts possession after the int by dqwell jackson. i think they are trying to distract people by running a new angle here that is of no consequence. the ball was caught and disallowed. this is a fresh wrinkle how? just a new story to wag the dog.

  23. jrl6 says: Feb 17, 2015 10:24 PM

    3 words. Super Bowl Champs

    ——–

    GREAT POST!

    #4Lombardis
    #kingsoftheNFL
    #GreatestNFLDynasty
    #greatestQB
    #greatestCoach
    #greatestOrganization
    #smartestFans

  24. i have to say, the play at the end of the game, with the sound fx catching the coaching staff telling ayers to leave, and butler to enter, is sweet justification that bill belichick’s staff is the best prepared, smartest coaching staff on the planet. 21 still has no idea how big that play is. he can come to my house anytime, i got beer food and whatever. lol. im not the only new englander that feels that way. he vindicated us forever. long live malcolm butler!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Some of these comments and others regarding the Patriots and their footballs make me wonder if people actually have the intellect to read and understand. That includes all of the media outlets not just sports. Let this discussion go until the report comes out. Idiots.

  26. Pats fans, being aggressively hyper focused on ridiculing every reporter who is doing their job is just obnoxious. We all know the pats are the best right now and have been close to it for years. However there is has been way too much dishonesty and over the line gamesmanship, and it has to be investigated. No one is taking a title away. But you are gonna lose picks and worse, honor.

  27. Dumbest story in the history of sports. I’m sure Tom Brady would risk his entire legacy in the conversation as the best QB to ever play the game for 1lb of air pressure. Anyone who believes this story is real is a complete moron.

  28. This tell us absolutely nothing accept that a ref saw a non marked ball for the kicking game before it was even used & stopped it from happening… In other words he did his job… Good for him!!!
    The non kicking balls were suppose to be under the refs supervision at all times so maybe a kickers practice ball got sent in by mistake being used to warm up??!!
    I’m not really sure where this story is even going!!
    Can we please wait till the report comes out??!!

  29. Yes.

    Colts knew they’d have Luck and be playing in the AFC Champ game 10 years ago when they scammed Kraft into hiring this guy just so he could set them up.

    Brilliant.

    Kink of like the fake birth announcement Obama’s people put into the Hawaii newspaper in 1960

  30. Ah yes, investigation via “league sourced” leaks.
    What a tight ship ol’ Roger runs eh?
    But as we’ve seen before with these league sourced leaks they tend to be quite misleading and once all the highly relevant facts surrounding the initial crumb of info becomes known it significantly changes the impact of the original info.
    America is dying to know if the special teams ball was filled with helium or merely stuffed with feathers.

  31. one more thing just thought of. anytime new england beats a big time team, like seattle, that team then seems to go into an uncontrollable tailspin. pats fans know what i mean. we showed the nfl that legendary legion of boom was not as big time as they thought. oh boo hoo injuries. everyones hurt. nobody truly knows the extent of any single ne patriots injury. but seattle, we knew every nick scrape, bump, band aid, maxipad, or anything else they wore. theyre gonna miss the playoffs next year. seattle fans save my post, then when im wrong show me. but i wont be.

  32. So let’s re-cap:

    The initial report concerning the supposedly under inflated balls was; “11 of 12 balls were severely under-inflated, by more than 2 psi”

    Then the truth came out, that; “only 1 of 12 balls was severely under inflated. The rest were only under inflated by “a couple of ticks”. Oh, and the 1 ball that was severely under inflated was the one that was handled by the Colts”.

    Next, we heard that; “a patriots employee was caught on video taking the balls into a locked room”.

    Once again the true story emerged, and this became; “an elderly man stopped to take a piss”.

    Yeah, I think I’ll wait a bit before I pass judgement on this kicking ball story.

  33. The disinformation generated by this “scandal” has really changed the way I view the Media.

    Kelly Naqi DOES NOT do what a competent-reporter should do:
    1) provide context that ties this information to the main issue (DeflateGate)
    2) does not independently validate the data from her “source” and
    3) doesn’t describe what impact it would have on the game

    But what she DOES DO is:
    1) Positions this as a significant breaking update
    2) implies it is evidence that further implicates the Patriots of wrong doing
    3) and goes on to publish the part-time ball’boy’ full name, his age, city of residence and photo in a national post. (ugh)

    My view – ESPN reports are paid on clicks vs. content and integrity of story. Kelly Naqi does not appear to have any problem portraying the Patriots and – in this case – a part-time ballboy as guilty of ‘something’ with uncorroborated information.

    Kelly Naqi and ESPN should be ashamed of themselves.

    Strongly suggest we all just wait for the report from Wells to come out – then have a coherent conversation of guilt or innocence with the data….

  34. This is getting embarrassing: an obvious attempt to make the Pats look bad. Another unsubstantiated leaked story of zero relevance.

    First off, this is a TOTALLY different story than the inflation level of the balls. Is this even news????? A ball was submitted and rejected. It happens every game! Big deal.

    I love how in the espn story the author completely ignores the Rappaport report that only 1 of the 12 balls was 2lbs under and the rest were a few ticks under and goes with the Mortensen report that is now thought to be inaccurate.

  35. An evil 4 letter report is your source? Good grief! The evil 4 letter only reports on Lebron and the Sec. Anything else are “Sources say” or ” (Add their reporters name here) confirms story”

  36. The NFL supports Cheating where appropriate. The Pat’s and others push it as far as they can with out getting caught. This story makes the NFL execs look like a bunch of fools the way it’s carried out only for show. I believe the Patriots tried to use doctored balls but I have no faith in the NFL HQ’s to do anything about it because it just creates more headaches for Godellbot and the owners.

    More importantly I look for the rule change created by their illegal substitutions in the Ravens game. That change proves they stretched the rules but hey they won so who cares!

  37. I’m curious, who’s going to be left to play the game? If you are accused, at least according to the Pats haters, you are guilty. Under that standard, there will be no winners, because everyone will be accused. Hmmm…. sounds like the same nuts who are trying everything else to shut the league down. You know, those who think there should be no kickoffs, punts, contact, etc….

  38. Maybe the next worst thing to not winning a Super Bowl is winning a Super Bowl that is tainted by possible cheating. Then, instead of having an achievement that the team and fans can savor for the rest of their lives there is always doubt about whether the title was legitimate. It will be partcularly sad if any tampering with the balls was done because it probably wouldnt have made enough difference to change the outcome of any games but the taint will last forever.

  39. What’s beyond ridiculous is that this story is now the main lead at ESPN.com…the same network that still hasn’t addressed NFL.com Ian Rapoport’s source saying two weeks ago than only 1 out of 12 balls was seriously deflated. That’s about as “fair and balanced” as FoxNews.

  40. Click on Kelly Naqi’s link to check her creds. All scandal sheet stuff. Hernandez murder case, Sandusky jurers, Bev Kearney intimate relationship-resignation, Patrick Peterson recruiting rumors, Cam Newton recruiting issues, and a whole whack of articles on Rothlesberger rape allegations. I think Don Henley had this writer in mind when he wrote Dirty Laundry.
    She can tell you ’bout the plane crash with a gleam
    In her eye .

  41. If it was any other team it wouldn’t be a story. But with the patriots history of shady business of course people are going to assume they were trying to get a little unfair advantage. Whatever. If Carrol runs the ball the Patriots lose and this story is dead. But gotta have a # or “gate” so here we are. I’m really just waiting to see Goodell somehow debacle this into a bigger mess and watch his handling of it become the story.

  42. So if Rodgers admits to handing an illegal ball to the refs because its their job to catch it, no problem.

    If the pats are alleged to have handed an illegal ball to the refs because its their job to catch it, big problem.

    Got it.

  43. First they’re deflating balls, now they’re trying to play with rock hard kicking balls. When will this anarchy end?! Those evil Patriots probably fund ISIS as well. They should be removed not only from the league, but the earth as well. No room for such evil on this planet. Think of the children!!!

  44. The officials stopped the game in the middle of a Patriots no huddle drive to remove this ball and they still went on to score a whole lot more points. Anyone who actually watched the game saw it. Deflategate remains a joke.

  45. Leaked reports are a joke. So wait, we’re supposed to believe 11 patriots footballs were 2 lbs underweight and went unnoticed by officials until halftime, but a K ball was immediately taken out of play? Ridiculous. Leave the Patriots alone already, if you watched the superbowl you know why they have the trophy.

  46. kenberthiaume says:
    Feb 17, 2015 10:42 PM
    So the pats tried to use an underinflated ball in their kicking game. Yeah that makes sense. Nothing like punting an underinflated ball to get an edge.
    _______________________________________

    Of course you are right but there are people who hate the Patriots so much they would argue an under-inflated ball is better for punts because it bounces differently.

  47. This thing is turning into a yawn. I liked this story a lot better when the ball-boy was actually elderly…

  48. I thought all kicking balls were in the officials control, so why would an official even ask a locker room attendant for a kicking ball. If that did happen, maybe the guy just made a mistake and threw in a regular ball. I guess if a Patriot employee does anything it a conspiracy.

  49. Wait, but this came from *four* unnamed sources so it must be true.

    So a guy who has worked Pats games and been assigned to the refs locker room since 2008 might know that K balls have a “K” on them. If he actually tried to give an unmarked ball to an official, I blame the Jim Beam.

  50. I don’t think the Patriots did it…but let’s say they did. Don’t ya think they would at least get the markings right? I think this was just an accident on the attendant’s part

  51. As far as scientific evidence regarding atmospheric conditions, etc.

    This will only fly if the Colts ball were under inflated also (which I understand they weren’t).

    Cause they were playing on the same field in the same conditions after all. Unless maybe the Patriots balls are “special.”

    Pun intended…

  52. I guess the issue is why was he in possession of a “K” ball. I am under the assumption the the officials handle all of the “K” balls and therefore he should not have had one try and enter into the game.

  53. Some of you are “special”. The allegation here is that they tried to use a non-K ball for special teams. Not that they tried to have Brady use a K ball.

  54. So it never made it in play and was given to an official.Dosen’t sound very sneaky to me,and I know you mean “inadvertently”.Bottom line,the ball didn’t get there,just like every other game.PEOPLE,THERE IS NO STORY! GEEZUS!

  55. This will only fly if the Colts ball were under inflated also (which I understand they weren’t).
    ===
    JFC on a pogo stick….we got a clever one over here. Did you think of that yourself?

    You have to know the initial conditions before you can say what the final conditions were. If IND’s balls were hard (13.5) and cold, then they would not drop while NEs would.

  56. 3 words: inveterate, unabashed cheaters

    Just dole out the 1-year suspensions for Belicheat & Tom “I don’t believe so” Brady & be done with it.

  57. How is this even news? “Tried” is not the same as “successfully put into game unapproved K-ball”. K-balls are handled only by officials and only on downs when they are required: punts, field goals, kickoffs, PAT’s. This ball never made it into the game; basically this latest story is about nothing.

    If anyone remembered the game at all, the Patriots dominated time of possession in the first half. The Colts balls hardly saw the field. The Patriots balls got wet. When leather gets wet, it expands. When leather which holds the shape of an inner rubber bladder expands, the ball will decrease in pressure. We learned this in kiddie school. If the Colts got anything going in the first half, their balls would have been on the field more, been exposed to the elements more, would have been subject to the conditions more. How is this news? Unless there is a Zapruder film out there, this is all bullocks. Patriots beat the snot out of Colts. End of story.

  58. Every single Pats championship has a cloud of scandal surrounding it. This is the legacy of Kraft, Belichick, Brady, et. al. Deal with it Bean Town!

  59. So some guy accidentally handed them the wrong ball? Stop the presses.

    If he was trying to pull one over on them…wouldn’t he have just put a K on the ball?

  60. No logic to this report at all. The kicking balls are used for both teams. It could be used on a FG or punt for either team, and even if it wa accepted by the official there would be no way to predict when it would come into the game and for what team if at all. I don’t see any way to gain an advantage from it and if there was one, either team could have gotten the advantage.

  61. Ortiz and Manny tainted their world series championships and now cheating has tainted their super bowls victories, no wonder they are such a defensive fan base. they constantly have to defend their cheating sports franchises

  62. “Culture of Cheating”

    If the Patriots lie, cheat, and steal to get to the top, well then they really are America’s team. Win at all costs to become champions, let’s not forget the grounds we stand on and the country we live in. Cmon, folks, it’s not like the USA is an honesty factory.

  63. You mention McNally is 48, then say it’s unknown if he’s the guy who went into the bathroom. This man was termed as “elderly”. If this WAS the same guy I’m going to need to look up the word elderly, it may not mean what I think it does anymore.

  64. … Gostowski continued to kick whatever ball you gave him out of end zone.

    Move along folks…nothing to see here…keep it moving please.

  65. Ok this is for the Patriots fans.

    1-That locker room attendant is not the person who is supposed to hand the official the ball. That immediately put up a red flag in the officials head. That is the reason he checked for the K on the ball. Otherwise the ball may have made it into play. He saw the ball was not approved and called a league official to investigate. This all happened in the 1st half. Kensil, league official, came down at halftime after the Colts had complained that they thought the Patriots footballs were not properly inflated. He measured the footballs himself, 11 of the 12 were 1-2 lbs under inflated. This is a league official and ESPN has 4 sources from the league office on this. 1 source I would question the legitimacy on it but 4?

    2-The K-Balls are all inspected and signed off on prior to the game.

    3-The ball handed to the official did not have the K and was therefore not approved for play.

    4-The ball was handed to the ref for use during a special teams play, not offense like so many of you are saying. Therefore an unapproved ball with more air in it then allowed will travel further thus giving the Patriots a competitive advantage. Which is why they tried to get that ball on the field in the first place.

    5-Naqi is an investigative reporter, not a sports reporter. Those are 2 very different things and that’s why you only see her credits centered around controversial pieces.

    6-The K-Balls are on the sideline all together in a bag just like the game day balls are all together in their bag. There is no way you could mistakenly grab an unapproved football if you were going to the bag to get one. This was not an accident.

    7-The fact that the Pats attempted to use an unapproved football for special teams play and circumvent the rules takes away any benefit of the doubt they may have been given from the NFL regarding the game day footballs and deflategate. If they’re willing to break the rules by using an unapproved K-Ball why wouldn’t they be willing to break the rules and adjust the game day footballs after they were inspected?

    8-This locker room attendant was assigned to the game day balls as well. He is the person who brings the balls out to the field 10 minutes before game time and keeps track of them. He is also, most likely, the person who took the balls into the bathroom with him prior to going out to the field. That’s not confirmed but he is the only one who has the ability to take the balls out of the officials room and bring them to the field. The person who took the balls into the bathroom had done so after taking them from the officials room and then after the bathroom took them straight out to the field. Only this locker room attendant could do that. Therefore the fact that he tried to put an unapproved ball onto the field, even though it is not his job to hand the official the ball, and the fact that he is more then likely the same person who disappeared with the game balls this sounds very fishy. Where there is smoke there’s fire.

  66. Haters gotta hate. You hate us ’cause you ain’t us.

    Final score: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24.

    The New England Patriots are Super Bowl XLIX Champions.

    No allegations of cheating has ever been proven. The championship is clean.

    Haters gotta hate. You hate us ’cause you ain’t us.

  67. Makes no sense. First off this said he “tried to”, implying that he actually did not. Secondly, no one wants to throw those shiny, slippery, hard special teams balls. And kickers don’t want to kick the soft ones. This would actually be a detriment to the Patriots if the ball made it into play. Sounds like a mix up to me.

    Face it, the Colts tampered with the one ball that was too low for atmospheric changes to account for. The only one they had their hands on was the only one whose PSI was that low.

  68. I’m reading this article and there’s one thing I don’t get. Isn’t the officials job to check these balls? Yes? Then they did their job. Where’s the controversy?

    This happens very often but since it’s the Patriots, it’s getting blown out of proportion. The NFL desperately wants to incriminate NE that they are willing to throw out anything in the news to make the Patriots look really bad because they have NO PROOF. That’s the real shame. Why the NFL was so quick to resolve the #textgate in Cleveland and #crowdnoisegate in Atlanta and so slow for the Patriots? They have no proof.

    Seriously, let it go, the witch hunt is embarrassing for the NFL. I’m pretty sure that in a week or two, there will be a new report that will indicate that this wasn’t exactly true, like the 11 out 12 balls deflated by 2PSI… *cough*ESPN*cough*

  69. To summarize, some balls were under-inflated, only one seriously so, we don’t know why, who or to what purpose, or even if it would have made any difference. Where is the story exactly ?

  70. The fact that a ref actually did his job is the only interesting part of the story. I think if there was a real attempt to circumvent the rules, they would have a better plan then have a guy who does not normally handle game balls give an unmarked ball to a ref to used as a ‘K’ ball which are all clearly marked and controlled by the referees. Even in the NFL that seems like something that would not likely work.

    I think this is a story to come up with a different explanation of why the referees checked the footballs at the half and take the focus off the Colts. I suspect that the Cokts had in their possession the only ball that was significantly lower than 12.5 PSI and the NFL is trying to take the wind out of the theory that tgey set this up.

  71. If this report is true wouldn’t the implications be completely contradictory to the earlier reports that they used under inflated balls to gain an advantage on offense? You can’t have it both ways. I’m no fan of the pats but this is getting a tad ridiculous don’t ya think?

  72. The only step the NFL takes to prevent tampering with the footballs is to mark them and then check the marks on the way into the game. Why would anyone imagine a good plan for mischief would be to completely ignore the only security step the league takes? This is truly bad reporting, but it’s also becoming the norm.

  73. More cheating scandals from the patriots what do u expect lets see if Rodger will get any balls and do anything ,probably not he a cheater also .this team is a joke everything about them sucks ,

  74. Patriots are cheaters, only die hard pats fans will think their dynasty is legit.
    Enjoy the fraud pats fans. Your dynasty is as real as John cena’s dynasty, enjoy

  75. Who cares about Goodell’s report? I guarantee it will satisfy no one. The final report could show that Belichick would have deflated the balls himself but he was too busy designing execution strategies for Isis- and Pats fans would still love him. On the other hand there could be video of him being blessed by the Virgin Mary standing next to the ghost of Vince Lombardi and the haters would still hate. Question: how many minds have been changed by this endless debate? Answer: Zero. This is getting like the WWE meets the Warren Commission. Where’s Vince McMahon & Cap’n Lou?

  76. Here’s the problem with the story. It doesn’t identify why he brought the football to the ref. He was the locker room attendant for the REFS not the Pats room.

    Could the Refs had simply left it in the locker room, he found it and brought it to them?

    ESPN needs to start vetting stories vs coming up with cute headlines to get clicks to make money.

  77. It’s very odd. Pats fans want to bury this story and they flip out if anyone writes or tweets about it. They start spewing nonsense like, “They hate us cause they ain’t us.” Lol. No. That’s not what’s going on. If the Pats cheated again, they had better get punished for it like every other NFL team must.

  78. This ball was “introduced” to the ref as a kicking ball? But it lacked the proper designation? Wouldn’t McNally have known the ball had no chance of ever being used? Wouldn’t the Patriots have no idea when this ball, out of a bag of balls, might be pulled out of the bag and used on the field? Since all the kicking balls are the same, wouldn’t the Patriots and Colts be sharing balls from that bag and therein exists the 50/50 possibility that the Colts would kick that ball too?

    This sounds more like “Hey Ref….is this your ball?”

    Good grief….

  79. Don’t stoop to ESPN’s level and report unsubstantiated garbage. They have egg on their face, because the story is going no where, so try to stir something else up. Kensil is the common denominator, and likely the source of all the leaks. Haters can’t hate. Try to justify why their teams lost.

  80. That’s the problem with the NFL he (Rodger) favor the fag Patriots any other team would have something done to them Brady is a punk little cry baby

  81. rodmacd55 says:
    Feb 18, 2015 12:14 PM
    ………………………….. Question: how many minds have been changed by this endless debate? Answer: Zero. This is getting like the WWE meets the Warren Commission. Where’s Vince McMahon & Cap’n Lou?

    **************************************************

    I can hear Classy Freddie Blassie now……”Where’s that pencil necked geek Roger Goodell? Commissioner?! Why he’s like the fifth post in the middle of the ring!”

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