Timing of Colts’ complaint shows they were looking for an edge, too


There’s plenty of blame to go around in the #DeflateGate case. The Patriots deserve the bulk of it. The NFL merits some as well, for apparently making a desire to catch the Patriots more of a priority than the mission to ensure that properly inflated footballs were used in the AFC championship game.

But how about the Colts? Vindicated on the surface by the finding that their suspicions of deflation were accurate, a question about their motives emerges from the Wells report.

Why did they wait two months to share with the league their suspicions about football inflation levels? If game-integrity is such a major concern for the NFL and its member teams, the Colts should have immediately complained to the league upon becoming suspicious of the Patriots.

Page 46 of the report explains that the Colts became suspicious as a result of two footballs intercepted by safety Mike Adams during the Week 11 game between the two teams. But the Colts said nothing to the league about the air pressure concerns in November.

If the goal was to ensure the integrity of the game, the Colts should have immediately alerted the NFL to the concern after the regular-season contest. Appearing on Thursday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, former Colts and Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy initially expressed concern about a quick complaint due to the possible appearance of sour grapes. But then he realized that it would have made more sense to promptly alert the NFL to the situation, so that the tactic (if occurring) could be stopped, quickly.

Instead, the Colts kept their suspicions to themselves until only one day before the playoff rematch.

“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,” Colts equipment manager Sean Sullivan wrote in a message sent by G.M. Ryan Grigson to the league office on January 17. It would have been even better if the Colts had informed the NFL about the situation immediately after the Week 11 game, which would have prevented the Patriots from getting an “unfair advantage” in any of their remaining regular-season games, or in the divisional-round game against the Ravens.

Right or wrong (and the assessment of that one resides in the eye and biases of the beholder), the Colts opted for gamesmanship, dropping the report into the NFL’s lap one day before the game in the obvious hope that the Patriots would be forced to change their procedures with the smallest amount of time to react to the disappearance of the ill-gotten advantage.

The Colts didn’t want a sting operation; they wanted a level-playing field. With, of course, the least possible opportunity for the Patriots to adjust to the leveling of the playing field.

Some think that Commissioner Roger Goodell should have called the Patriots and told them to knock it off. That one phone call could have prevented the entire debacle. That also could have been exactly what the Colts wanted.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter. The Patriots once again blew out Indianapolis. And when it’s time for the two teams to play again this season on October 18 in Indianapolis on NBC, coach Bill Belichick likely will have his players primed for another blowout.

If Tom Brady eventually receives a four-game suspension, he’ll be primed, too.  The Week Five game against the Colts would be his first game back.

67 responses to “Timing of Colts’ complaint shows they were looking for an edge, too

  1. Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties in reporting our suspicions to the league – we did.

    But you can’t hold a whole team responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole NFL? And if the NFL as a whole is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our sports institutions in general? I put it to you, Mike- isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

  2. Yeah, next time you want to catch a criminal, lets complain about what they’re doing to them first, and that way they’ll wait a while before trying it again. Great idea

  3. Page 228 of the Wells report – “In sum, the data did not provide a basis for us to determine with absolute certainty whether there was or was not tampering as the analysis of such data ultimately is dependent upon assumptions and information that is not certain.”

  4. “The Colts didn’t want a sting operation; they wanted a level-playing field. ”

    Right. And they probably weren’t in a rush to share info with the league because they don’t trust the league. The league has disliked the Colts ever since their departure from Baltimore, and has needled them for it in various ways over the last three decades.

    If it isn’t little annoyances, like not letting Peyton wear high-tops in honor of Unitas (and subsequently having no issues with other teams honoring people with almost identical wardrobe gestures), it’s something else.

  5. Why on earth would Brady receive anything even remotely close to a 4 game suspension? There is no proof whatsoever he did anything, the precedent was set when the Panthers and Vikings were caught on Natl TV, and the RULE BOOK says 25K fine. Stick to the issue at hand please, sorry to “deflate” your enthusiasm.

  6. “And when it’s time for the two teams to play again this season on October 18 in Indianapolis on NBC, coach Bill Belichick likely will have his players primed for another blowout.”

    I wouldn’t be so sure that Belichick will be allowed anywhere near the Patriots organization before October 18th. I also wouldn’t be so sure that the Colts will get blown out by a second string quarterback.

  7. So the Colts should have brought up suspicions about the Patriots… so that the league would warn the Patriots ‘not to break the rules’…. and everyone would then doubt the Colts suspicions?

    I bet there would be articles written about how the Colts are sore losers and are trying to tarnish the image of the Patriots.

    Seriously, does anyone doubt the line of thought that some of the media would adopt?

    I find this idea that the league should have let the Patriots know about the suspicions so ridiculous. The onus is on the cheaters. There’s no good reason to tell a team not to cheat. There’s a rulebook. Try not to cheat.

    By the way, this whole situation is incredible: the Patriots guy took the balls out of the referees locker and went to the bathroom…

    How could the Colts ever predict all of this?

    The Patriots man called himself “deflator” for crying out loud. And somehow the League and the Colts are in the wrong for not letting the cheaters know… that they could be caught?

    This whole thing reflects badly on the Patriots and on them alone.

  8. This time Colts will hand the PATS thier largest defeat of the decade!
    Every team in the NFL should be primed against the cheaters and beat them handily. Game doesn’t stay the same way for ever. PATS are cheats and they have been exposed.
    Now is the time to expose them on the field.

  9. The Colts only advantage was to have the balls within the regulations.

    The Patriots were only caught because:

    1) one ball was intercepted and was underinflated;

    2) their guy deflated the balls after taking them away from the refs;

    Otherwise, there never would have been an investigation or a half time re-check.

    I don’t care about the Colts, but it’s pretty obvious they were only concerned about the refs making sure the Patriots balls were within the rules.

  10. If they really wanted to see if they were deflating the balls after they were checked pregame by the officials then they should have noted the PSI when they were checked pregame. #Sting

  11. Blaming the Colts is lazy and irresponsible. They weren’t the one’s caught cheating (again).

  12. Perhaps the Colts were just tired of the Pats constant cheating ( since they said it was known around the league the Pats deflated balls) and since the NFL elite was not going to police this team they felt compelled to put it out in the open.

    Maybe the Colts had had enough and did not want this issue to be swept under the rug so the Pats could continue this practice after they were not being looked at.

  13. The patriots don’t need a good qb to beat the colts. Heck they don’t even need a qb. The last three games played rushing yardage is like 750 yards and 8 TDs in the ground. lol lmao

  14. Love how Pats fans are scrambling on this one, saying there is no proof. Most of us with the ability to take emotional attachment out of it can see plenty of it. Tom lied, plain and simple. That is much worse than the offense and the league has a history of dropping the hammer on those who lie and those who fail to cooperate fully with the investigation. He’ll get two games and the Pats will get a hefty fine for lack of institutional control for yet a second time. Goodell has made it clear that ignorance is no excuse.

  15. The history is that the Patriots are tough and prone to cheat and the Colts are soft and prone to be whiny.

  16. The Patriots and Colts play in Week Six. It will however, be the Patriots fifth game as they have an early bye. Fact checking is useful.

  17. vincentbojackson says:
    May 7, 2015 4:10 PM

    Love how Pats fans are scrambling on this one, saying there is no proof


    Pats fans didn’t say it. Wells said. Read page 228 and free yourself of your hatred

  18. I feel like there is a lot of comments from people with bad reading comprehension.

    The article isn’t stating that the Colts should have asked the NFL to warn the Patriots that they should stop in the future. The article is pointing out that the Colts purposely allowed the Patriots to continue with the ‘cheating’ until they played them, then they told the league. So, the Colts were looking to get an advantage against the Patriots that no other team did this year.

    If the deflation is such a factor, then the Colts could have helped the rest of the AFC by getting the Pats to stop cheating prior to the playoffs. Who knows what would have happened if they didn’t have this ‘advantage’ during the close games at the end of the season.

    Now, as a Patriot hater, I’d like to jump in with the angry mob, but really, I don’t think a slightly deflated ball is any different than asking the ball boy to scuff the balls the way the QB likes it. All QBs have their balls handled to their liking…

  19. Pretty simple– The Colts knew that the league favors the Pats and the Pats would just find another way to do their dirty business. By waiting until the playoff game– and avoiding Kraft’s boy Goodell– they sprung the trap which caught the cheaters red-handed. Again.

  20. I don’t condone what the Patriots did and they should be punished for it, but… Colts were so over matched they had no chance no matter what balls were used in that game.

  21. If the psi of the footballs don’t really make a difference, then why is there a rule?
    Brady got caught. Accept the punishment Pats, and move on.

  22. Like Billy Martin and George Brett’s Pine Tar bat, they waited until it was viewed as advantageous to say something.

  23. I’m sure the Colts will do just as well in the years following Deflategate as the Jets have done in the years since Spygate.

    Snitches get stitches. They don’t get Superbowl rings.

  24. Brady could announce that he deflated the balls himself, and Pats fans would probably claim he was under a spell put on him by Ryan Grigson.

    Of course, if the Pats weren’t a good team, then they’d be throwing Brady under the bus. When it comes to sports, it’s either fair weather or a storm of disloyalty in New England.

  25. Pats fans didn’t say it. Wells said. Read page 228 and free yourself of your hatred

    Funny that you are using a single phrase of a 234 report to validate the wrongdoing. Perhaps you missed the words absolute certainty, which means that they didn’t catch the ball boy or Brady with the needle, but the report also states that:

    1) Walt Anderson inspected the balls for both teams prior to the game (all within range)
    2) At halftime 16 balls were tested. 12 NE and 4 IND. 11 out of 12 NE balls were below the minimun required and all IND balls were within range
    3) They added some pressure to the NE balls
    4) They tested the balls at the end of the game (12 NE and 12 IND). All were within range

    So yeah, no smoking gun, but how can you or Bill explain that? Circumstantial evidence is also valid in a court of law.

  26. The fact that the Patriots or Brady camp complain that they weren’t notified of the sting operation is absurd, how else would you determine if someone were cheating?

    It’s not like the people involved didn’t know they were cheating, it’s not like they have not cheated in the past, and there is no reason to believe that they wouldn’t just start doing it again once the heat died down.

    It’s fair to say the Colts were seeking punishment more than just a level playing field. It’s also fair to say that the Colts held out this info in an attempt to gain an advantage. If Brady had to play with a watermelon without time to prepare, it certainly could have made things harder on him. Unfortunately for the Colts, it sure didn’t seem to matter in the 2nd half.

  27. 1. Deflating footballs
    2. PEDs
    3. Circumventing the salary cap
    4. Illegal communication during the game
    5. Piping in crowd noise
    6. Building a sideline “wall”
    7. Having a coach step onto the field of play and interfere
    8. Having a coach trip an opposing player
    9. Establishing an illegal bounty to injure opposing players

    It’s absolutely comical going through all of these recent rules violations and objectively evaluating the severity of each one, and somehow concluding that only item 1 on the list constitutes “cheating” and then labeling a player and the entire team “cheaters”? There has to be some kind of psychological research study commissioned that would professionally assess the impact extreme jealousy can have as a detriment to ones intellect.

  28. “The Colts didn’t want a sting operation; they wanted a level-playing field. With, of course, the least possible opportunity for the Patriots to adjust to the leveling of the playing field.”

    Sort of like the Patriots eligible/ineligible player alignment in the Ravens playoff game?

  29. I certainly hope Mr. Grigson had his owner’s approval to set up the sting as it will likely set off a feud between owners. If Brady decides that the vilification he and his family are now enduring is too much and retires, the blood feud Grigson set off will become a war.

    If guilt had been proven, I would welcome a Brady suspension. Guilt was not proven. However, the “talking heads” have whipped NFL fans into a frenzy based on a 51% belief that Brady generally knew something.

    The NFL can either break with it’s ridiculous inconsistent past and specify a high standard that an act occurred (Beyond reasonable doubt) prior to punishment or continue to endure the “mob” mentality, injury to the Shield, owner conflicts and NFLPA lawsuits. I am sure the NFLPA would endorse a high standard of proof. Without it, the NFL will continue to be battered by negative publicity.

  30. Should have been looking for a leg to stand on instead of an edge & thet might have been able to show up for that game!!! COLTS SUCK!!!

  31. I can hear the fan chant in every opposing NFL stadium the Pats play in this coming season.





  32. It’s all sour grapes, and I say that as a Texans fan. Grigson’s shoddy drafting and Pagano’s so-so coaching is enough to clobber the Texans, Titans, and Jags six times a year, but they run into problems when they face good teams.

    Or even mediocre ones. Does anyone else remember the Browns completely shutting down the Colts this year? Or how the only reason they got past KC in the playoffs a couple of years ago was because of a Madden-like streak of injures on the Chiefs’ side?

    NE’s been a stone wall to Indy for over a decade, and don’t even give me that “they don’t like the Colts” nonsense. They’re in a division where they get a guaranteed playoff spot, and when anyone threatens it, the NFL trots out Jerome Boger to ensure a Colts victory.

    It’s just the Colts as an organization trying to win off the field what they can’t on the field. You could’ve put Jimmy G out there instead of Brady and Indy still couldn’t beat New England. They couldn’t even come close to stopping Blount.

  33. The earlier game was in IND. It was my impression that McNally doesn’t travel to away games and home teams deliver all balls to the field. If the balls were deflated @ IND, how was that accomplished? Did McNally travel, or is there another deflater?

  34. If the psi of the footballs don’t really make a difference, then why is there a rule?
    Brady got caught. Accept the punishment Pats, and move on.

    Yea 25k per rule in book

    That good? OK lets move on then

  35. 2) At halftime 16 balls were tested. 12 NE and 4 IND. 11 out of 12 NE balls were below the minimun required and all IND balls were within range
    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. You’ve got to actually read the report. The high gauge was wrong. It disagreed with every other gauge including the calibrated master gauge. The low gauge was correct and showed all balls at or below 12.5 PSI. Only one IND ball was at 12.5 PSI.

    Also. Eleven NWE balls were tested at HT, not 12. The intercepted ball was not tested because of obvious contamination issues.

  36. I will PayPal $500 to anyone who can read the Wells report and tell me where it says that Brady told the guys to deflate past 12.5 or where it says he likes the balls lower than legal limits

  37. Yeah its not that hard. The league was warned way before about this and warned again before the game. How dare one team ask the league to make sure another team (One that has a history of cheating.) isn’t trying to gain an unfair advantage…

  38. It’s the cheaters that are the bad guys, not the guys that got cheated. The Colts didn’t complain because they are of the mentality that they should win games in spite of the cheating. They just wanted an equal playing field. We’ll never know what the score might have been, or even if it would have been different. We’ll never know. There is a chance the Patriots would have won by 50 points, and there is also a chance that the Colts might have been up 21-7 at haltime. Then the second half would have been much different. We’ll never know. Roger Clemons would have been a HOFer even if he didn’t cheat, but I wonder how many teams lost games to the Red Sox that they would have won if Clemons wasn’t on steroids. We’ll never know that either. But don’t blame the Colts. That’s just absurd. Do you blame the bank that just got robbed, or do you blame the robbers? Oh but the bank had hidden cameras, so it’s their fault? The Colts got robbed. End of story.

  39. Interesting if Brady sits four games and returns for the game in Indy.

    But if Sean “ignorance is no excuse” Payton sat out a season after the bounty scandal, why are we assuming BB will be on the sidelines for the Pats’ Week 6 game?

  40. Sun 1/18 vs

    W 45-7 23 35 226 65.7 6.46 30 3 1 70.5 100.4 3 13 4.3 9 0
    only ONE interception in the colts game so where
    did the second ball come from did anyone figure that out.

  41. IIRC, didn’t the Ravens alert the Colts about the deflated balls in their game the previous week?

  42. The refs were warned before the game that this might be a problem.

    The balls were not available to Walt Anderson before the game, accordin gto his own statement, raising even more suspicion.

    Walt Anderson nonetheless chose to do NOTHING at the start of the game to prevent a Pats advantage. Basically, he screwed Indy.

    Why is Walt Anderson still an NFL ref?

  43. I find this it interesting that this article is written before the one asking the question “how many games did the Patriots play with under inflated balls”?

    I guess at least one other in Indy?


    Also – What a great point… the Colts would get a competitive advantage by ‘springing’ the NFL rule book on the Patriots the day before a game….WHAT NERVE!

  44. It amazes me how no matter wat the situation, the media will always attack the league (and goodell) at every opportunity.

    Take this article for example: its yea, maybe Brady cheated, maybe the colts whined… BUT THE LEAGUE…!


  45. Yeah, that makes great sense & sets the perfect precedence. Let’s tell them they could get busted so that they don’t get busted. Just the suggestion that that could & should have been the approach makes me wonder how many things like this have been previously brushed under the rug by the NFL ‘Powers that Be’.

    I say bust em’, tar em’, feather em’, and set them out on a long, long, long walk of shame! Goodell…balls in your court.

  46. Dear Pats fans… Just admit that your coach and QB have egos bigger than anyone else in the league. That they’ll do anything to win and they’ll run up the score and even get their idiot tight end a broken arm when he had no business playing in a rout. They’ll bend, break, and challenge everything for some additional advantage however small it may be. Can’t wait for the visit to Indy this year. I recall a certain 4th down a few years ago that backfired on Belicheat

    And to those who say that the Colts fold to good teams, I’m pretty sure Denver the last two meetings, Seattle and even the then overrated Chiefs would disagree.

  47. This:

    “Why did they wait two months to share with the league their suspicions about football inflation levels? If game-integrity is such a major concern for the NFL and its member teams, the Colts should have immediately complained to the league upon becoming suspicious of the Patriots.”

    Clearly the Colts were trying to game the system in their favor. Integrity my a$$.


    Brady could have been throwing footballs that were totally deflated and the Colts were still losing that game. I hate whiners and poor losers, I don’t care which team is doing it. Just shut up and prove it on the field…as you failed to do this year.

  48. Too bad they didn’t blow the whistle sooner, then the Ravens would have won the playoff game against a team playing by the rules.

  49. Colts are sore losers with an inept addict for an owner and a sketchy coaching staff.

  50. Stop with the Dungy references, they hold no weight with the readers here….

  51. I find it more probably than not that the rumor, that is assumed to have some weight, of the Ravens giving the heads up to the Colts about possible issues with the Patriots’ footballs is probably the impetus for email to the League. As someone astutely pointed out, the previous game was played in Indianapolis where the home team had control of the balls in as much as the transport to the field after inspection.

    In all this, the most egregious thing I find is that when the balls are inspected prior to the game, in any game, that A) there is not set parameters to how the balls are measured as evidenced in the video that I saw on MMQB’s site where at times they used a gauge and other times just felt the ball and B) that they don’t log the PSI of the balls at inspection time.

    The NFL, more probably than not, was generally aware of this haphazard handling of balls.

    But seriously, for something that now, since Deflategate broke, has been deemed such an egregious act resulting in an “unfair competitive advantage” did not seem to be treated that way in regards to how the League tests and controls the balls prior to the game.

  52. Nonsense. And Brady still lied before millions, and cheated to advance to a SB. No amount of crazy articles will change the FACTS. Pat’s cheated as an organization to get to the biggest game of the sport. History will always record that fact.

    Suspend Brady for an entire year, and Belicheck, it happened under his watch, just like Peyton’s in NO, and Kraft for demanding an apology, when in fact it’s the entire NFL fan base that demands an apology from Kraft for his cheating a$$ team.

  53. ” The Colts didn’t want a sting operation; they wanted a level-playing field”


    When you lodge a complaint against a teams’ practices, but only after they have played every other playoff team and opponent the schedule, then you are not attempting to have a level playing field, you are attempting to gain an advantage that all the other teams [on the Pats schedule] did not have. It would be like finding a secret hole in the turf, and then not telling anyone about it until just before you played them again. Then, you tell the league just before kickoff. Then, you blame someone who didn’t dig the hole, because they should have known.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.