Report confirms NFL had chance to avoid #DeflateGate

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The Ted Wells report insists, at footnote 25 on page 46, that the NFL did not launch a “sting” operation against the Patriots.  But that’s not the impression the body of the report creates.

Regardless of what the effort is labeled, the Wells report confirms that someone wanted to catch the Patriots in the act.

The Wells report explains that Colts G.M. Ryan Grigson sent an email to the league office raising concerns about air pressure in Patriots football.  Attached to the Grigson email was a message from Colts Equipment Manager Sean Sullivan, who said “it is well known around the league that after the Patriots gameballs [sic] are checked by the officials and brought out for game usage the ballboys [sic] for the patriots [sic] will let out some air with a ball needle because their quarterback likes a smaller football so he can grip it better, it would be great if someone would be able to check the air in the game balls as the game goes on so that they don’t get an illegal advantage.” (Emphasis added.)

Grigson’s email and Sullivan’s message went to David Gardi and Mike Kensil, members of the NFL Football Operations Department.  Gardi responded to Grigson by explaining that Kensil would be at the game, and that he would speak to the game officials about the concern.

Kensil then sent the email to three other high-level league employees:  James Daniel, Dean Blandino, and Alberto Riveron.  Blandino and Riverson said they would raise the issue with referee Walt Anderson.

The Wells report does not explain that anyone informed the Patriots of suspected irregularities with the footballs or of any intent to keep an eye out for problems. As one league source with no connection to the present controversy explained it to PFT in January, past Commissioners like Paul Tagliabue would have informed the Patriots of the situation — and warned them that the NFL is paying attention, that the league reserves the right to check the air pressure in the footballs during the game, and that any funny business would be met with a decidedly unfunny reaction from the league office.

Instead, whether it’s called a sting or something else, a trap was set for the Patriots.  And even when referee Walt Anderson noticed — for the first time in 19 years on the job — that the game balls had gone missing before the start of the game, nothing was done to ensure that no tampering with the footballs had occurred before the game started.  Which would have been the best time to capture PSI readings that never could have been credibly explained away by the affects of 90 minutes of cold, wet January conditions on the air inside a rubber bladder.

Setting aside whether the Patriots circumvented the rules (and the Wells report definitely contains enough evidence to support a reasonable conclusion that they did), the NFL apparently allowed non-conforming footballs to be used despite the fact that the referee assigned to the game had experienced the unprecedented development of footballs going AWOL, at a time when the NFL specifically is paying specific attention to whether someone with the Patriots was tampering with the balls.

Sure, checking the air pressure inside the footballs would have delayed the start of the game.  But it also would have provided much more conclusive proof about whether cheating occurred. More importantly, it would have kept the Patriots from realizing any benefit from their apparent misconduct.

Right or wrong, the NFL blew a chance to keep this mess from blowing up in the league’s face.  And that’s something all 32 owners should be concerned about, since the incident ultimately applies another layer of tarnish to recently unshiny shield.

176 responses to “Report confirms NFL had chance to avoid #DeflateGate

  1. It’s just gross. The Patriots should have their super bowl taken away, and Brady suspended for a year.

  2. Congratulations Mr. Grigson and the NFL. You have created a situation that may benefit the Colts and damage the overall reputation of the NFL. Good luck finding another job when the Patriots run through the Colts again!

  3. It wasn’t the league’s responsibility to tip a team off about cheating. The impetus is on the Patriots to not cheat.

  4. So what we know is the Pats cheated and did it for so long everyone knew it but the NFL refused to cross Kraft until they had no other choice.

    What other cheating are they doing that everyone knows about but the league keeps hidden?

    Oh yeah and Kraft should sober up, just once, before his pressers.

  5. Here’s what’s gonna happen.

    The Patriots will disavow all knowledge, and like Spygate, the little guy will be the fall guy. They’ll summarily dismiss that miscreant ball boys, those scofflaws! That’ll show the world how serious the organization is about running a clean operation! Harumph!

    The league office will fine Brady. It’ll sound like a lot to a McDonald’s worker, but not so much to Tommy. But such misdeed will not go unpunished, not by this league! We have our integrity! Harumph!

    Then Brady will go on as the face of the league. Pats fans will go on like with Spygate claiming it was all in the imagination of the “haters.”

    And the rest of us will be yawning.

  6. The NFL has an obligation to correct any irregularities before and during games. They blew it and now months later come out with some league sponsored nonsense.

  7. Even Boston sports radio wasn’t defending Brady today. The report is pretty damning and I would expect some changes to the pregame and in game process.

  8. Absolutely right. This became an issue because the bumbling fools in the NFL offices allowed it to happen.

  9. Even Patriot haters would still rather watch Tom Brady in the season opener than Jimmy Garoppolo. You know it’s true.

  10. Are you kidding me??? It was wrong. Warning teams to not do it..get real. They got caught let’s not act like more info should have been out here to deter teams

  11. I personally think that Roger had approval from some of the other owners to bring down Kraft whose influence may not be liked by that group.
    Whatever, Pats were insanely stupid to believe that with their past history, they would get away with it.

  12. if tom brady and the pats arent banned from playoff consideration this year then the nfl is a sham and goddell is in krafts pocket

  13. Suspend him for the season! Brady should get no pass on this! Bill should have not let this happen on his watch just like they suspended Payton he should get a year also! Loose two 2nd rounders and gm gets 6 games!

    Fair is fair. Way more evidence it this than the bounty stuff by a mile!

    Straight up cheating is tarnishing the shield and everybody should pay! And pay just like they did the last time!

  14. The NFL stinks. Wells lacks credibility for glossing over such things, and for glossing over mistakes by the officiating crew. And the rulebook’s fine for the misdemeanor of tampering with balls is just $25k. But I wonder what penalty the monster that is Brady will suffer, and what will angelic Aaron Rodgers’ punishment be? Perhaps the same as the Vikings and Panthers got for also tampering with balls in 2014: a gentle reminder not to do it.

  15. And yet, with all the supposed pre-game scrutiny it still required a Colts 1st half takeaway and actual possession of a Pats’ football before finally forcing the NFL to double-check the air pressure.

  16. Why it would have been “better” to let potential cheaters off the hook instead of holding them accountable? Can you imagine the backlash if it came out that the Colts asked the NFL to watch out for the cheating, and instead they told the Patriots that the rest of the league is on to them and to knock it off.

    The narrative would have (rightfully) been that the Patriots are untouchable and that the league was protecting them from being exposed as cheaters.

    I applaud that they investigated them rather than try to sweep it under the rug.

  17. Good thing it’s baseball season… actually Boston’s under .500 now so errr idk.

  18. Kraft needed to go to the Super Bowl & his friend let him play the usual games. One not wonder now why the league eliminated their special tax status premature to this report being released, for fear of reprisal for their actions.

    Hopefully, reasonable heads prevail and see that league helped them cheat and load the deck. Goodbye Roger & all friends related.

  19. The real reason it will blow up in the league’s face is that Kraft owns Goodell and the League will find yet another rug to sweep the Patriots’ dirty deeds under.

    But people are wise. The entire league– players, coaches, GMs, personnel people, fans, journalists– knows the Patriots are huge cheaters and when the League attempts to cover up this one there will be an uproar.

  20. If Kensil had knowledge to stop an infraction before it happened but kept silent that makes him complicit in the wrong doing.

    Kensil was an accomplice.

  21. I get what you are saying Mike, but at the time the refs had no idea how big this story would get. Should the refs delay the AFCCG knowing there may or may not be an issue and risk the nation wondering, speculating, and generating rumors or let the game start as planned and check the balls when given the opportunity? So delaying the game probably wouldn’t have been wise but as you pointed out, the league and refs knew, and if the ball boys had enough time to deflate them then the refs and league should have had enough time to watch over them to ensure there was no foul play.

    Even as a Hawks fan and still bitter about the SB, I’ll be the first to admit Brady is one of the best to ever play. But he has tarnished his image and has left doubt in the minds of millions of people and I don’t believe he needed to cheat to win with deflategate in the first place. We all make our own choices and Tom will forever have to live with his with an * at the end of every accomplishment.

  22. Brady had already slipped Walt Anderson a stack of Franklins to look the other way …

    Just kidding as I am already tired of the deflatgate overload so will the media please let this die …

    Let the NFL do what ever they feel fit to do to Brady, the equipment guys, the coach and the team and lets move on …

  23. Brady is cooked. When will people learn two things:

    1. If you’re doing something against the rules/law, don’t document the entire thing on a cell phone registered to you (Internet, texts, calls…).

    2. The system (be it court or employer) is always designed to be more friendly to those who are honest. Once you get caught, don’t lie about it. If you do, and make life harder on investigators, courts, and/or your employer, they will make it much, much harder on you. Confess and take your lumps.

    In short, do the opposite of everything Tom Brady did.

  24. Good article, and it points out the worst aspect of this entire investigation.

    The NFL expected tampering, and yet, allowed the balls to be used for the first half of the game, in an AFC Championship game no less, when they could easily have checked before the opening kickoff.

    The NFL believed the integrity of the game was being compromised, and their response was to knowingly compromise the integrity of the game .

  25. Tell me again how the league rigged the commission to make itself look good…

  26. Is it possible that the league likes the idea of staying in the news in the offseason? Bad news is good news as long as you are on the front page sort of thing.

  27. I do not know how other people are going to react to this but I am watching my hometown team Ravens games this season and that is all. NFL ruined the greatest American professional sport to me and have ruined it, this is just icing on the cake.

    Also can bet Brady cheated and beat the Ravens directly due to that cheating. If their was a game he needed it besides the Super Bowl it was that one. Pats fans call Suggs classless ha smfh. Brady should never be allowed to play in the NFL indefinite suspension at least, take away Pats rings and official champions this season but of course will not happen that’s why I am not investing anytime watching extra football games this year f it.

  28. It’s possible tom brady has played his last game for NE once he gets his 1 year suspension for cheating, lying & not cooperating with the investigation. For 15 years this dink & dunk specialist has been riding coattails & taking all the credit. I’d love to see brady play for another team so he’s exposed for how mediocre he truly is.

  29. The wells report contains more then enough info to conclude the patriots are innocent. Measurements at half time for both the colts and patriots are consistent with game day events and timing presented in the report.

    Pats balls tested about 2 minutes inside colts about ten. Data shows pressure takes about ten minutes to fully equilibrate. It’s all there in the report and fully explains the measurements. Wells just chose to ignore the data and instead focus on out of context text messages.

  30. Couldn’t agree more…..IF NOT FOR ANDERSONS INCOMPETENCE……this whole thing wouldn’t have looked like the witch hunt that it is!!, plus if Indys balls were also deflated, as noted, they too have some serious explaining to do?? And why aren’t they being grilled, and punished for 3 out of 4 balls being under inflated?? Something smells very fishy, and feels like a frame after the sting.

  31. It’s the same thing with the Saints’ bounty program or the Falcons pumping crowd noise or even the Browns sending text messages. I’m not saying EVERY team does it but you’re naive if you think only the teams that WERE CAUGHT are the only ones who did it

  32. The world will be watching to see how the NFL reconciles this situation with the current world champions and reigning Super Bowl MVP. This is a relatively big scandal and it would reflect poortly if the offenders are handled with gloves.

  33. I have to disagree here. It is being caught in the act. Having a heads up to look out. Why should cheaters be grated immunity rather then see if in fact the assumptions play out? This is a common act.

    And if they would have been tipped off and caught as the game was starting I assume it would have been as equal a mess.

  34. Let’s see how well Goodell and his good buddy Kraft can sweep all this under the rug.

  35. No surprise here. The NFL is a joke and are by far the most incompetent sporting organization(which is saying something since boxing still exist…..).

    This shouldn’t be difficult, warn the Patriots if there have been complaints about the football and check the balls at the start of the game. The fact that they even let the Pats play with these balls undercuts the entire point of these rule.

    Also, Grigson and the Colts look like cry babies, which is on par with the Colts history the last decade. This has apparently been an open secret among teams and yet they are the only ones to make this big of a fuss about it is a disgrace.

  36. Didn’t the league tell the head coach of NO that even if he didn’t know what was going on he was responsible for it? And we will see if they apply the same to the pats, however I am not holding my breath. Four games should do it. Bill

  37. Thank you for finally an article that makes sense. There is no smoking gun here anyhow. Nothing concrete. Ted wells and his firm have a shady past to say the least also…. This def was not an objective investigation. Where is the report on 2 of 4 colts balls being under? And only 4 were tested because they ran out of time at the half. Give me a break

  38. It is not the NFL’s responsibility to save face for the Patriots by hiding evidence of their cheating so they don’t get embarrassed by the public like they deserve, it is the Patriots’ responsibility not to cheat in the first place.

  39. Had it been any other team the league WOULD HAVE taken steps to avoid this.

    Remember the joke of an “investigation” the league launched several years ago when the Steelers and Patriots accused the Colts of piping fake crowd noise into their dome? That “investigation” lasted all of about four hours. The Patriots filed a formal complaint with the league on a Monday morning, and the league issued a statement THAT SAME DAY saying they had determined that the Colts had done nothing wrong.

    Wow, that was some exhaustive investigation, eh? No physicists or audio experts called in, No investigators sent to Indy to interrogate Colts’ employees, the way the league did to the Patriots. Nothing.

    And people have the nerve to say the Patriots have the commissioner in their pocket. If anyone has the league in his pocket it’s Jim “Thanks Dad” Irsay.

  40. How much did not going to the Super Bowl cost the Colts?

    Because that’s how much the class action suit against Brady should start at…

  41. I wonder how bad the league would look if it handled every situation of cheating by dragging it out in public.

    Doesn’t excuse Brady, but it does more harm than good to the league.

  42. You nailed the big story here! The big story is of an incompetent commissioner. All Goodell had to do upon getting Grigson’s email was to call Kraft and Belichick and tell them that a complaint was made about ball pressure, that the league takes the matter extremely seriously, that the balls would be meticulously checked, and if any funny business was found there would be huge negative consequences to the Patriots. This would have ended the matter right there! Instead, Goodell does nothing, a “sting” is set up, the league suffers a huge black eye, and the Patriots victory and Brady’s legacy is tarnished forever. This is incompetence at its highest level. The same thing happened in Bountygate. Instead of handling the matter firmly in private, Goodell allowed the matter to become public and cause huge damage to the Saints and the NFL. Think about it, did the NFL have these constant negative stories before Goodell became commissioner?

  43. I believe there’s a conflict of interest between Kraft and Goodell which is only one of the many reasons the league needs a new commissioner.

  44. The ravens star rb was caught on film punching his wife unconscious. But the patriots still took the cake for worst year ever!
    First their TE was convicted of murder and now their star qb was found cheating and totally undermines the validity of their championship.
    Does Brady get a year off like the bountygate offenders? Certainly seems reasonable.

  45. Look, this is yet another mishandled situation by the NFL.
    I can’t blame Rog or the office any longer. Only the owners, ie those with the real power, are to blame because they alone tell Rog and therefor the office where to poop, when, and what color.

    We can hate on everyone, but u gotta send the owners a message, and as fans , we aren’t doing that…ratings up, revenues up, interest globally up, and so on.

    I do agree, Pats cheated. Brady cheated. Ring(s) are but an asterisk for all time.

    If I was a Pats fan I would be so disgusted and upset to have lost yet another title

  46. I have adjusted all the Patriot Super Bowl titles to include an asterisk. What a bunch of losers. Zero legit titles for Brady/Bellichek. Everyone but Patriot fans seem to know this. Noodle armed Brady is just a slightly better version of Bernie Kosar. He’s not close to elite.

  47. It’s not the NFL’s responsibility to keep teams from cheating. The NFL provides teams with a set of rules, it’s the teams’ responsibility to follow them. The Patriots are the only one’s tarnished here. They should have known better, especially after they were caught the first time with Spygate.

  48. I knew if we waited long enough you’d be able to spin this onto Goodell and the league.

  49. Hard to imagine that that stiff and wooden dolt, Roger Goodell, wasn’t right on top of this from the very beginning.

  50. First, do no harm. Don’t harm the second or third largest game on your schedule in some attempt to catch someone breaking a rule. Even if you catch them, you’ve allowed the game to be harmed.

    That the NFL’s internal communication and coordination of this affair was lacking in quality simply adds to the notion that they didn’t know what they were doing. If you think something is up with the balls: write everything down and don’t let them out of your sight. Walt Anderson’s crew did both, probably because no one told them what they needed to do.

  51. Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

    Sounds like when the Giants beat the brakes off of them twice.

    The NFL had enough of their cheating shenanigans just like the rest of us.

    Where are the trolls to defend them?

    19-1 and a revoked super bowl championship.

    Congrats, Seattle.

  52. I think checking the Footballs right before the start of the game would have been a better idea. That said, it would still have been an attempt to catch them in the act which I am fine with.

    How else would the league catch this?

    Should the league warn players in similar fashion?

    Hey Mr. Player we are going to be checking you for steroids on October 24th so please be sure no PED’s are in your urine.

    It’s all irrelevant, there’s no way Kraft’s little pet will levy any significant punishment for fear of no more people food.

  53. The Perfect Punishment should forcing the Patriots into this years Hardknocks.

  54. Thank goodness there is a franchise like the historic Minnesota Vikings as opposed to these cheaters.

    The president already set the record straight. Brady wouldn’t go to the white house because he’s in “The Nile” and salty.

  55. Sean Payton took responsibility for his locker room, where “no facts were provided to the public” and you, Mr. Goodell forced him to a one year suspension, suspended multible players, G.M. Mickey loomis, coach Joe Vitt… half a season suspensions, WITH NO VERIFICATION TO THE PUBLIC OF ANY WRONGDOING. Owner Tom Benson took your punishment like a man, Saints fans were livid, and Roger Goodell you said, I feel your franchise broke the rules and thereby your organization will lose draft picks, and will be fined.

    What say you Mr. Goodell about your friend Mr. Kraft, Coach Belicheck, and Tom Brady? Are the Patriots treated differently from the other NFL teams? Why are the Patriots treated with compassion after their “second” cheating infraction, why Mr. Goodell?? NFL fans want to know.

  56. It’s Kraft/Belicheat/Brady’s high handedness in all this that angers me the most:

    Counsel for the Patriots,
    however, refused to make Jim McNally available for a follow-up interview requested by our
    investigative team on what we believed were important topics, despite our offer to meet at any
    time and location that would be convenient for McNally. Counsel for the Patriots apparently
    refused even to inform McNally of our request. We believe the failure by the Patriots and its
    counsel to produce McNally for the requested follow-up interview violated the club‟s obligations
    to cooperate with the investigation under the Policy on Integrity of the Game & Enforcement of
    League Rules and was inconsistent with public statements made by the Patriots pledging full
    cooperation with the investigation.

  57. Pats…your day of reckoning is coming…
    And the Bills will administer the right punishment…
    GO BILLS..!!!

  58. So this is now the NFL’s fault? Woulda, coulda, shoulda’s are great after the fact. I dont understand this, the NFL should of warned the Patriots so they wouldnt be busted so the NFL wouldnt have to worry about a cheating scandal. How is that deterring a team from cheating in the future?

  59. Cheaters. Zero legitimate superbowl wins. They need to re-write the books and give the runners up the trophies. Spygate, now this…tear that organization down, distribute their players evenly throughout the league, except Brady…lifetime ban for him and Belicheat. NFL buys out Kraft….no more Patriots. Done.

  60. It wouldn’t have avoided DeflateGate but yes as soon as the balls were missing alarms bells should have been ringing, they were on notice that the Pats were cheating and yet just ignored it at that stage and allowed them to get a competitive advantage in the first half – absolutely unbelievable.

  61. I’ll add this…sure they won the Superbowl this year without spying on Seattle’s practices, and the ball probably had the right psi…BUT they took the air out of the balls in every game prior to being busted…you can bet on it. The whole season up until the Colts playoff game. That means they need to forfeit every game up until then…and that would mean no playoffs, therefore no legitimate Superbowl win.

  62. Patriots had an opportunity to not cheat. Man the national media covering this has exposed themselves to not reading the entire report til much later in the day.

    The report is only like 125 pages from Wells and the other 125 is exhibits that he sites.

  63. Whatever Gooddell does I am sure will be the incorrect punishment because he doesn’t even follow his own standards set when it comes to fines and suspensions, he just does kneejerk reactions based on the media. Personally, I think this story is so overblown it’s insane. Would anyone be calling for a one year suspension of Alex Smith if he did this? I don’t think so. They would probably say he needs to be fined or just say well that’s kind of odd. It’s only because it’s Brady and Patriots that this is a witch hunt. If you want to say the NFL has to be fair, they should hold everyone to same standards. If this was that big of an infraction, I could understand the outrage but it’s not.

  64. Very well said. And it also doesn’t cover the basic fact that when the Patriots had under-inflated balls, they led 17-7. When they had balls inflated ABOVE the level of the Colts’ balls, they led 28-0. So, if the next step is to demonstrate the advantage gained to leverage punishment, there is an even bigger problem: the Patriots did better with the officially OK balls than they did with the possibly deflated balls. And, if the officials spent as much time on the Colts balls as the Patriots, why did they only measure 4/12 balls, when they got all of the Patriots balls? And why did one measurer find every Patriots ball lower than the other, yet find 3/4 Colts balls higher than the other? Hmmmm… Kinda calls the integrity of the process into question at the same time it calls the effect into question. Any punishment would never hold in a court of law. But, it appears that Brady will be punished no matter what.

  65. This taint good for the league. What is maddening is the feeling that this has been going on for years, with no repercussion. What else have they done that we don’t know a out? Wish those tapes hadn’t been destroyed.

  66. And this is another further example of the incompetence of the NFL operation.

    They were told and doesnt seem like they did anything about it.

    And to exonerate Belichick in this report is laughable. That dude knows everything about his team and the other team.

  67. If the league had informed the Patriots they were looking into this the Patriots obviously would have not done anything to the balls for that game. But, at some point word would have leaked that the league knew and informed the Patriots; which would have created an entirely different controversy involving the league knowing about the Patriots cheating, again, and tipping the Patriots off so they wouldn’t get caught.

    At least the way it is the league has an opportunity to enforce some form of punishment and make it look like they are trying to put a stop to this stuff. A controversy involving the league helping the Patriots not get caught cheating would have, in my opinion, would have created an even bigger problem for the NFL.

  68. The NFL can avoid this problem and take responsability for it by keeping the sole care, custody and control of the footballs and not the teams.

    Interesting that Brady lobbied for the current procedure.

    Any penalty given should be monetary only as a suspension also punishes the fans.

    Any future transgression by the team or player can be forewarned with a harsh penalty. Of course there are many that will point out that the team has had similar transgressions.

  69. What I would ask is what else were/are the patriots doing??? i would bet there is something else they ARE doing the league won’t admit to. Did they make all emails & texts public? Maybe Snowden or the NSA knows?

    No wonder they call it “national FIXED league.”

    Maybe bookies should refuse to take bets on patriots games.

  70. Exactly !

    Once Walt lost possession of the game balls, he should have immediately sent a search party after them. Once he found them, he should have had them checked right then and there prior to usage. If he could not find them, he should have switched to the backup set of game balls.

    Any impropriety should have been documented by Walt prior to the game starting. Epic fail on the part of the NFL.


  71. This is one of the few instances where I’m reluctant to heap much of the blame on the NFL’s approach to this matter.

    If you were a professor and heard a rumor that one of your star students routinely breaks test rules to give himself an advantage over other students who didn’t (cheating), would you write an email to that student, warning him that he will be punished if he cheats?

    Of course not, you would keep your testing environment as normal as possible and try to observe the cheating.

    Hindsight is always 20/20 and Roger and company could have done some things better but let’s not forgot what this is: A plan to deliberately cheat and circumvent rules to gain an advantage. The blame is on Brady and 2 other Patriots employees. The NFL should only receive blame if it doesn’t harshly punish Brady and New England.

  72. So, why didn’t Goodell know all about this beforehand? It never states that any of his under bosses told him. What about institutional control? As many have stated in other posts, shouldn’t the boss know what’s going on below him? (Belichick should have known) None of this has been good press for the league. Could have been handled privately and quietly instead of this circus.

  73. Colts letter clearly implies that this was not an isolated incident for the patriots. NFL should take stern action against both Brady and the team in order to protect the integrity of the game and the shield.

  74. When all the smoke is blown away and the spin doctors are done working their verbal magic it simply comes down to one thing:

  75. The NFL is run by the three Stooges why would they choose to do things that make sense when they can easily let things get out of hand. They need to clean house with a conga line of idiots sent packing. First is Goodell then all the other snakes in the den that leaked all of the incorrect information to the Media.

  76. Pine tar on a bat. Scuffing a baseball. Air out of a football. Move along sheeple. Nothing to see here.

  77. Game was already delayed by the end of the Seattle game.
    They should have had plenty of time.

  78. As a lifelong fan of the Pats and the NFL and today being my 50th birthday . The only thing the WeLLs report proves beyond a reasonable doubt is ….. Goodell HAS TO GO . What a sham and disgrace to my favorite sport … To drag the GOAT qb thru the mud over such nonsense shows how incompetent, petty, and childish Roger is . Before the haters trash Brady and his accomplishments just look at his performance in the Super Bowl …

  79. Sure, checking the air pressure inside the footballs would have delayed the start of the game

    So the Patriots dude can enter a bathroom, alter a bag of balls, and exit the bathroom in a minute and a half, BUT a team of officials would delay the game.


  80. The one thing people (and I include myself in this) often forget is that it is stuff like this that makes the NFL the ultimate reality show.

    The fact that there are – negative or not – storylines around NFL centered topics that non-sport news outlets talk about is everything they could want.

    It means the NFL is always there. Wether you want it or not. Because everything that happens in the NFL “matters.”

  81. So, they cannot afford goal line cameras, but they can afford a completely avoidable bill from one of the most expensive law firms in the world. Got it.

  82. Somebody still needs to explain how a team that RUNS on the Colts for 650 yards in three games has an “illegal advantage” with an under inflated football. They could have played with a canned ham and won. Semi-boneless, of course.

    This simply shows that Grigson is a whiner, who emails the league pressing for reasons why he can’t beat the Pats. It will be more of the same type of beating this year, regardless of whether Brady plays or not. Just run the ball.

  83. This cheating by Tom Brady has been going on for some time now. So much so that other teams had to notify league officials.

  84. Hard to believe other teams coaches knew but Belichick didn’t know. Both coach and player must be suspended for at least the coming season.

  85. So the entire thing was a sting operation? What’s the punishment for entrapment? This just further proves that the NFL has a bias against the Patriots.

    Sure, punish the Pats for this. What is the max fine, $25,000?

    If you are going to come after them for this, though, you better make sure that you are going after all teams for these types of situations. Weren’t some teams shown on air tampering with footballs? Where was their fine? How about Aaron Rodgers openly admitting that he over inflates the footballs? If the NFL checks the balls before the games, like they are supposed to, they would know his football was overinflated. So, why were those officials not punished?

    I see a lot of stupid changes coming to the game due to something was very overblown and minute.

  86. If the NFL would pay close attention to details they would catch the patriots cheating a lot more. I mean it’s not like they have one every home game the last two seasons (with the exception of the Bills game this year that didn’t matter) and lost 8 or 9 road games combined the last two seasons. Oh wait that is actually the case but I”m sure they are just tough to beat at home.

  87. I don’t think you have made the case adequately that there was ever plan in place to do anything, much less inform the Patriots of such plan.

  88. This finding relegates Robert Kraft’s indignant defense of his team on the eve of the Super Bowl to the same level as Richard Nixon’s comment that “…your President is not a crook”.

  89. Tom Brady cheated. The realized benefit of that cheating was a playoff victory leading to a Super Bowl title.

    Unless both wins are vacated, then “cheating does pay.”

    And parents all over the country should possibly reevaluate the lessons we teach our kids.

    “Cheat, if the prize is big enough. Even if you get caught you can keep the ill gotten bounty.”

    Perhaps stealing and robbing banks is ok after all?

  90. Somehow someway Tom will tell himself he was within the rules and move on. That’s what people do who are like him aka Lance, Barry, Roger, Alex need I continue. At the end of the day Tom is rich and 4 rings so there you go.

  91. Patriots fans aside, is anyone surprised, really? It appears to be a culture of cheating in that team, not sure from where it stems, and it only means an asterisk by many of the great wins they had over the years.

  92. So it’s the league’s fault, because they did not tell the Patriots to quit cheating we are watching. You can call it a “sting, a set up, or trap” but it is still catching someone cheating. It’s not how they got caught, it’s that they were cheating. AGAIN.

  93. Yes, lets start informing everyone being investigated for misconduct that we’re watching them. That SURELY won’t affect their behavior….

  94. So is this saying that the NFL willingly and knowingly allowed what is perceived by many as an advantage to throwing the football to take place? That they allowed an unfair advantage? Because that’s equally if not more troubling I would think.

    What if the stats had been reversed? As I remember Brady was lights out in the second half of that game when apparently there was no air pressure problem. He had a lot better 2nd half. What if he was off the charts in that first half and the Colts were trailing by a lot more than they were and the game was long gone by that time? And then he wasn’t as good in the 2nd half.

    Something like that, a reversal of what actually took place with Brady having a better 2nd half than he did in the 1st half, would then point to the NFL who would have allowed the breaking of the rules that affected the outcome of a championship game to take place.

    It’s inconceivable to me that they didn’t prevent the possibility of that happening before kickoff. I don’t see how if game or league officials suspect that something shady is happening that they would even let a game to begin. And what about Colt officials? If you thought your team was being cheated and that the playing field wasn’t level, what good would it have done if your team was buried at halftime because the QB was connecting off the charts? It should have been stopped from happening and not allowed so that your team wasn’t at a disadvantage.

    This whole thing is crazy to me the way it came down. It’s like knowing a poker player keeps a card up his sleeve and then complaining about it after he’s left the table with your money.

  95. I’m sure the NFL was afraid that if it ever got out that the League knew the Pats were deflating balls but did nothing except tell them to stop, it would appear that the NFL was showing favoritism to the Pats.

  96. This is the part I don’t understand. If the Colts thought under-inflated footballs would be a HUGE advantage for the Patriots, why not ensure they weren’t able to have them? Why try to catch them in the act after a half of unfair football? Seems to me the advantage gained must not have been great enough to worry about it, which means this is about following the rules to the letter of the law (or not and getting caught and punished) and not about any unfair playing field.

  97. Lol. How easy it would have been to simply fix this internally. Yet instead, Goodell and the “The Shield” decided to blow this out of all normal proportion.

    Every supervisor in the world knows that if something is going wrong, you try to solve at the lowest common denominator first. Then, if that doesn’t work, you take it higher.

    The NFL did nothing of the sort. They went straight for the throat, using lies, the media and public opinion to further whatever agenda they’ve got.

    Something more than deflated balls is going on behind the “The Shield” here.

    Should Brady be punished? Probably. A hefty fine if the NFL feels that there’s enough evidence in the report to determine that this has been happening for a while, which it appears to be. If they suspend him for more than 2 games, though, the same amount they originally gave Rice for using his fiancee as a punching bag? Well…

  98. No one has ” more chance” to avoid deflate gate than Tom Brady. Once caught it was Tom Brady who went before the world and then instead of telling the truth Tom Brady initiated a cover up, lied to everyone, lied to investigators, and chose not to cooperate with investigators during the investigation.

    Who knows for how long, how many years, how many games, and yes for how many championships Tom Brasy has been deflating footballs to gain a competitive advantage. A red flag fact is Tom Brady has less fumbles per 100 snaps than the next nearest QB. A stat pointed out on national tv this morning. The Pats as an organization and team have fewer fumbles than any other NFL team. What competive advantage did deflating footballs allow for the Pats to have the lowest fumble rate in the league.

    This thing stinks to high heaven, and no amount of trying to minimize Brady’s actions can minimize it’s impact on the integrity of the game. Brady knew, and his text messages and failure to cooperate with investigators point to the fact he knew. Brady lied, attempted to cover up his wrong doing, and needs to be held accountable for his actions. No player is above the rules, or above the game. I’m for a very hefty suspension and fine to establish a stern warning. You cheat the game, you will pay a very very high price in the way of a penalty to yourself and your team.

  99. This was destined to happen when the league lets teams play with their own footballs and not standard football that has to be used by all. I have a hard time believing that the Patriots were the only team using “illegal” footballs.

  100. The other thing I don’t get was if it was “well-known”, why didn’t the NFL deal with it before? How long has it been known and ignored until it could create the greatest media storm?

  101. This league’s management has been downhill since Pete Rozelle. Tags wasn’t as incompetent as Goodell and was lucky enough to come along coincident with the Internet, Sunday Ticket, and widespread FF. It’s a huge mess now and has been for most of the Goodell era.

  102. Don’t do anything wrong, you don’t get “set up” or “caught” or anything. What’s so difficult to understand about this? Same thing with people complaining about marijuana suspensions. Don’t do it, and you’ll be fine. Don’t go crying that the pats were set up. If they were following the rules, then the investigation wouldn’t have found anything.

  103. This whole thing is pathetic. If there is anything other than a $25K fine for this (or maybe $25Kx11) then the Pats are getting screwed. The RULEBOOK says that’s the penalty for tampering with the balls, and there is really no evidence that the balls were tampered with since there is no record of the PSI of the balls before the game.

    And if the Pats are fined $25K, the Colts should be as well. 3/4 of their balls tested below the legal limit.

  104. So what your saying is the NFL has a leadership problem. Agreed , see NFL draft 2015 and fans reaction to Goodell. That says it all , he is a joke, should have been fired but is still there. We are in a situation where the NFL (Goodell) is so incompetent at the top they are only reactionary, it’s all they can muster. It’s why the Colts had raise hell do get this checked out and as you pointed was done in a questionable way. If Tom would not have lied this would blow over. The issue now is he looks like the hippocrate Goodell has proven to be.

  105. Very few NFL officials noted the colts complaint to Anderson. At dinner and Over two hours of meetings on Sunday, Anderson doesn’t even mention the complaint to peers.. Seems like they just wanted him to follow protocol, meaning CYA

  106. To catch a cheater you don’t tell them the when and where it is going to happen!!! Call it what you want but I for one, believe the league did exactly what was necessary.

  107. Letting the air out of the footballs after the officials inspected them is a blatant violation and the Patriots should be sanctioned but the actions (inaction) of the officials is inexcusable. The entire point of having game officials is to ensure no unfair advantage is gained by any team. As soon as the balls were deemed to be missing they should have been found and rechecked. That did not happen and is an even worse decision because the officials were supposedly notified in advance to look for tampering. That essentially condoned the cheating and allowed the first half to be played under a Patriots advantage. The referee should undoubtedly be punished severely if not outright fired.

  108. Wonder how many more times Tommy boy will advise the Ravens in a presser, that they should know the rule book????? His arrogance knows no bounds! Goodell had better lay the hammer down, this time and not “dance around” because of his BFF, Kraft! BTW, Payton was suspended a year because “ignorance is not an excuse”. Does this also not apply to BB????? Just my thoughts….smh

  109. It sounds like the League wanted to ignore the warnings and sweep it under the rug too bad for them the Colts made an issue of it during the game and both the League and the the pats got got caught.

  110. The balls in the giants GB nfccg didn’t change and that game was in neg 23 deg. Tynes said the ball felt like a brick during his ot kick. Jonny boy let the air out.

  111. As a pats fan if it’s true im disgusted and disappointed, however I don’t believe they did anything yet. 3 of the 4 colts balls they tested were also deflated and no one is mentioning that at all. Assum Brady had his ball inflated to the lowest legal limit and imagine how easily air can come out from the ball from 300+ pound men falling on it and when you think about the fact that the report conducted scientific studies that showed the balls naturally lost pressure. If you want to suspend Brady a game or 2 to make this go away go ahead but I don’t think he has the evidence necessary to stop an appeal from overturning any suspension.

  112. Just imagine how the Colts would feel if Brady played great in the first half, built a 24pt lead playing with the apparently League condoned illegal balls, then played poorly in the 2nd half with the leagal balls & held on for a 3pt win?

  113. What was the punishment for the Panthers and Vikings when they tampered with the balls on natl tv?

  114. Why not banish the Patriots forever? Ban Belichik, Brady and force Kraft to sell the team. Also take away the Super Bowls. Nothing short of that will make the haters happy.

    League should have warned the Patriots – end of story. Now they have allowed a bunch of moronic text messages to bury Brady. Is this all so we can turn our attention to the new league role model – Jameis Winston??? What a bad joke.

  115. The NFL should have given the Pats a “heads up”? With their history please explain why they deserved a break?

  116. Ruling:

    Brady out 2 games
    Pats lose 2nd round pick in ’16
    Kraft & Belichick $500,000 fine each

    So let it be written…so let it be done.

  117. When all the smoke is blown away and the spin doctors are done working their verbal magic it simply comes down to one thing:


    There, fixed it for you.

  118. That’s how Goodell rolls. Do nothing until there’s a scandal. Then randomly do something, usually ignoring the NFL’s own rules on what he can do.

  119. for it to be a sting the NFL would have had to make it rain.
    No one expects Tom to be honest. He is a republican

  120. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if Tom Brady just manned up and took some responsibility. He could have just said, “Yes, I like a 12.5 ball, I asked them to lower the pressure…maybe it was more than they planned, ultimately I asked them to do it so blame me”. Instead, he put on a show as though he knew nothing…made things worse.

  121. It sounds like the NFL is where former TSA agents go to work after retirement.

    The league needs to shift their focus away from what happened…and put some quality control measures in place to keep it from happening again.

  122. This whole deflate fiasco is way way overblown!! A few psi’s under the limit? Hardly a competitive advantage ie. second half of championship game and the Superbowl. Three of four Colts balls tested were also underinflated yet they didn’t have time to test their other balls? Please give me a break! A 243 page report are you kidding me! They say this wasn’t a sting. Yet they allowed the first half of a championship game to be played under this allegation and claim they were concerned with the integrity of the game. Even if the inflation rule was broken the penalty calls for a $25K fine. Teams were found guilty of introducing artificial noise to disrupt the play of their opponents. This to me represents a more serious situation yet they received a minimal fine and in one case a loss of a low draft pick. Frustrated Patriot haters calling for Brady being suspended for a year or more and the loss of two number one draft picks and Kraft and Belechick suspended for a year is laughable!

  123. As I have said before, this whole thing is idiotic:

    1. Why is there a rule about the PSI of the football?
    2. How is there an advantage gained? There is only one ball on the field at a time?
    3. Why not eliminate the rule and let each quarterback set up the footballs anyway he wants? Who would be harmed?
    4. My understanding is that a lower air pressure means the ball will not cut through the air as well as a ball with higher air pressure, and, as a result, moves slower. Hence, there is a tradeoff, easier to grip, but also easier to intercept. Why not let individual quarterbacks weight that for themselves?

    This is just a tempest in a teapot. There, I said it.

  124. People are forgetting that this goes way beyond Brady throwing the ball and his grip. It also impacts the grip that ball carriers have. And NE’s fumble rates dropped considerably after teams were given control of their own footballs.

    Maybe…the main reason for the ball deflation was to improve their turnover rates. Brady may not have been involved at all…other than having input into how soft they can make the balls without impacting his throwing ability.

    Who knows.

  125. In other words, the league ITSELF showed an institutional contempt for both its own, supposedly sacrosanct, rules, as well as the much-ballyhooed “integrity” of the game. As ever, Roger and his minions themselves have no integrity. Why shouldn’t everyone else follow their example? The owners have only themselves to blame for these repeated black eyes, each of which has been created by the pathetically incompetent, not to mention megalomaniacal, management practices of Roger Goodell.

  126. realitycheckbaby: “Oh yeah and Kraft should sober up, just once, before his pressers.”

    Given that this matter intimately involves the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, perhaps you might want to cool any talk of Kraft’s drinking habits. Glass houses, don’t you know.

  127. noladat: “Suspend him for the season! Brady should get no pass on this! Bill should have not let this happen on his watch just like they suspended Payton he should get a year also! Loose two 2nd rounders and gm gets 6 games!

    Fair is fair. Way more evidence it this than the bounty stuff by a mile!

    Straight up cheating is tarnishing the shield and everybody should pay! And pay just like they did the last time!”
    Slow down, Tiger! A LOT of us were on your side when your team got hosed. So, in the end. was Roger’s former boss, Taglibue, when he slapped his naughty fanny in public. Yeah, you got screwed, but it wasn’t the Patriots who were calling for blood.

    This Commissioner needs to be pulled from his pedestal and frogmarched to his executioner. Keep justice in mind, rather than spread misery.

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