Buried in the latest curveball from the #DeflateGate investigation is a brand-new case of ESPN-on-ESPN crime.
In her item primarily focusing on the alleged attempt by a Patriots locker-room attendant to give a non-special teams football to officials during the AFC title game, Kelly Naqi of ESPN.com drops a tidbit that conflicts with the report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that transformed the question of deflated footballs from a curiosity into a national sensation.
Regarding the halftime inspection of the footballs at halftime of the Colts-Patriots game, Naqi writes: “One source said [NFL executive Mike] Kensil personally checked the PSI (pounds per square inch) levels of all 12 footballs the Patriots had for use on offense and found that 11 of those 12 were underinflated by ‘one to two pounds.'”
Reported Mortensen on January 20: “NFL has found that 11 of the Patriots footballs used in Sunday’s AFC title game were under-inflated by 2 lbs each, per league sources.”
Naqi’s report is more consistent with our report from January 25 regarding Mort’s contention that 11 balls were underinflated by two pounds: “As one league source has explained it to PFT, the football intercepted by Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson was roughly two pounds under the 12.5 PSI minimum. The other 10 balls that reportedly were two pounds under may have been, as the source explained it, closer to one pound below 12.5 PSI.”
Meanwhile, the new report from ESPN ignores the confusing Super Bowl Sunday item from NFL Media insisting that some of the balls were just “a few ticks under” the minimum. While the report contains inherent inconsistencies and was, as one league official told PFT in it’s aftermath, ultimately “wrong,” ESPN’s latest article apparently attempts to tell a comprehensive story about the controversy. It’s impossible to do that without at least mentioning the NFL Media report, especially since the NFL owns NFL Media.
Then again, it’s also impossible to tell a comprehensive story without mentioning Mort’s report that 11 of the balls were two pounds under 12.5 PSI.