Tommy’s Balls: An Update

Golden Boy Tommy Brady’s Agent Don Yee came out the day after the Warren Report, err I mean the Wells Report (for those of you too young to remember the Warren Report it was the government’s response to information gathered after the assassination of JFK -there’s your history lesson for the day- you’re welcome)!

What might Mr Yee have said you may ask?  Well it’s something pro-Golden Boy of course, why we all know that, but who knew that the NFL was out to conduct a “sting” on Tommy!  A true NFL sanctioned sting on one of the NFL’s glorified stars?  Seriously Mr. Yee, you must be taking the piss!

“One item alone taints this entire report. What does it say about the league office’s protocols and ethics when it allows one team to tip it off to an issue prior to a championship game, and no league officials or game officials notified the Patriots of the same issue prior to the game? This suggests it may be more probable than not that the league cooperated with the Colts in perpetrating a sting operation.”

Oh Mr. Yee, you really think if the NFL told the Patriots that your great Tommy wouldn’t have secretly have texted his buddies McNally and Jastemski and told them the deal was off?

“Hey guys, don’t deflate my balls!  LOL!”  Oh I know, it’s just a joke right?  Like the Patriots lawyers tried to say.  They all were just joking.  Because every NFL team locker room attendant jokes about deflating balls I’m sure.  Just like every NHL locker room attendant talks about cutting holes in the net I’m sure.

“Hey guys wouldn’t it be funny if we cut the nets?  LOL!”

Mr. Yee called EVERYONE out on this:

“It is a sad day for the league as it has abdicated the resolution of football-specific issues to people who don’t understand the context or culture of the sport.”

Now he’s trying to put in that big word, ABDICATED, to try to make himself sound special there but he’s trying to say that Ted Wells and co. don’t understand football or football culture and are not able to make a practical judgement on the case because of this.  Sorry not sorry.  That one doesn’t fly with me.  There’s this thing called practical judgement, and in my practical judgement, he’s just bullshitting.  He tried to prove such by saying that “investigators had limited understanding of professional football.”

What they only had vast understanding of college football?  So that doesn’t relate?  Or they had limited understanding of the Patriots locker room?  Are we supposed to have the Patriots investigated by the Patriots’ lawyers?  Would Bobby Kraft prefer to have his lawyers investigate?  Maybe we could have one giant Patriot investigation and just bury it underneath Gillette Stadium.  Why should Tommy be untouchable?

And speaking of untouchable…Bobby Kraft still hasn’t gotten it.

“When I addressed the media at the Super Bowl on January 26 – over 14 weeks ago – I stated that I unconditionally believed that the New England Patriots had done nothing inappropriate in this process or in violation of the NFL rules and that I was disappointed in the way the league handled the initial investigation. That sentiment has not changed.

“I was convinced that Ted Wells’ investigation would find the same factual evidence supported by both scientific formula and independent research as we did and would ultimately exonerate the Patriots. Based on the explanations I have heard and the studies that have been done, I don’t know how the science of atmospheric conditions can be refuted or how conclusions to the contrary can be drawn without some definitive evidence.

“What is not highlighted in the text of the report is that three of the Colts’ four footballs measured by at least one official were under the required psi level. As far as we are aware, there is no comparable data available from any other game because, in the history of the NFL, psi levels of footballs have never been measured at halftime, in any climate. If they had been, based on what we now know, it is safe to assume that every cold-weather game was played with under inflated footballs. As compelling a case as the Wells Report may try to make, I am going to rely on the factual evidence of numerous scientists and engineers rather than inferences from circumstantial evidence.”

The interesting thing is that the Wells Report does bring out science.  In fact I’m not even going to get into the science, let’s just talk about those game balls he talks about in the Wells Report:

Colts Ball

Recorded PSI Recorded PSI

1 12.90 12.50

2 12.45 12.10

3 12.80 12.45

4 12.70 12.35

Ok so the limit is 12.5 to 13.5, but keep in mind one thing, the home team is in charge of BOTH teams balls. There’s what four instances of the balls being below the limit.  I would say the most is what, .15 PSI under and take a look at the measurements of the Colts balls at half.

1 12.70 12.35

2 12.75 12.30

3 12.50 12.95

4 12.55 12.15

Oh and you know what?  The officials who measured these?  They did NOT inflate them because they were within the limit.  However the DID inflate the Patriots balls Bobby, you know why?  Because they did believe that your guys had deflated the balls.  I guess maybe the cold weather inflated one set of balls.  That’s science for you.

I do believe that football D’Qwell Jackson intercepted that “cold weather” affected was below the limit, what was it, um…11?  No let’s go there Bobby…

Patriots Ball Blakeman Prioleau

1                      11.50 11.80

2                      10.85 11.20

3                      11.15 11.50

4                      10.70 11.00

5                      11.10 11.45

6                      11.60 11.95

7                      11.85 12.30

8                      11.10 11.55

9                      10.95 11.35

10                    10.50 10.90

11                    10.90 11.35

Yup there it is.  So if you inflate the ball to 12.5 or 12.6 as some have suggested in the WR so you don’t get in trouble, in one half they are going to drop almost 2 psi in some instances and almost .5 psi others?  That science it’s so tricky.  I realize Bobby, Donny and Tommy are all trying to save face, but come on, what is the NFL gonna do?  Take away your shiny silver trophy?  Call you cheaters?  Boo hoo.  Is Roger Goodell not going to come to your next shindig?  Please.  Save the tears for your retirement ceremony I don’t wanna hear it.  People have been put in jail for less evidence.  The only people who buy the not guilty evidence are the ones who pack your stadium on Sunday Bobby.  Give it a rest, suck it up call it what it is, your QB and company conspired to deflate balls and got caught whether you like it or not.  Now they’ll pay the price, or so I hope.

What A Set Of Balls

If you are anything like me, you felt like the NFL was going to tell Ted Wells to go ahead and bury the report on the Patriots ball deflation in whatever grave he could find and never dig it up.  Seeing as how it is already May and soon training camps will be starting, I’m certain the NFL was hoping we’d all move on and start forgetting, but oh no, I haven’t forgotten, I’ve been waiting for that little tidbit to come out ever since Robert Kraft got his little rich butt up behind that microphone and said the following “If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure on the footballs, I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team and, in particular, coach [Bill] Belichick and Tom Brady for what they have had to endure.”  Yeah Bobby, cause they’ve been through such a tortured existence and all, plus I don’t know, they have been generally worshipped by the NFL for years as the best at their respective jobs and all, but you go ahead and ask for them to have their butts kissed again Bobby.  Annoying.

So it was delightful when the Wells Report, we’ll call it WR (how ironic, throw it to me Tom!), came out on May 6th, with the following tucked in its first few pages:

“For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules. In particular, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee. Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.”

Hey Bobby, you think we owe you an apology now?  While these guys of yours are manipulating balls so your QB can go out and throw the ball to your little toys?  Oh, and your little golden boy QB…look at him denying his knowledge of the Officials Locker Room attendant in the WR:

“During his interview, Brady denied any knowledge of or involvement in any efforts to deflate game balls after the pre-game inspection by the game officials. He claimed that prior to the events surrounding the AFC Championship Game, he did not know McNally‟s name or anything about McNally‟s game-day responsibilities, including whether McNally had any role relating to game balls or the game officials. We found these claims not plausible and contradicted by other evidence.”

You want to know why that’s not plausible that Tommy Boy doesn’t know who McNally is?  Check this out from the WR:

“Jim McNally is the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots. He has been employed by the Patriots as a seasonal or part-time employee for the past 32 years and during the 2014-15 season worked for the Patriots on a part-time/hourly basis only on the days on which the Patriots had home games. He first worked as a ball boy, and explained that his role evolved over time to supporting the equipment staff and helping with the game officials. He has held his current title since approximately 2007.”

He’s been with them for 32 years!  Longer than Tom.  Now he’s there on game day, he’s been the Officals Locker Room attendant for 8 years, he’s bound to have seen Tommy Boy at some point and vice versa.  But not only that, what does McNally do?  Oh that’s right he brings the game balls to the field, did ya know that Bobby and Tommy?  Hmm.  You don’t say.  Well I don’t say it, the WR does:

“In addition, McNally plays a role in the transport of game balls on game day at Gillette Stadium. After Jastremski has completed the ball preparation process and Brady has completed his selection of game balls, McNally carries the Patriots game balls from the Patriots equipment room to the Officials Locker Room a few hours prior to the game.”

Hey but you know the Colts warned the NFL the day before, check the WR:

“On January 17, 2015, the day before the AFC Championship Game, Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson sent an email to the NFL raising concerns about the air pressure of game balls used by the Patriots. Grigson sent his email to David Gardi and Mike Kensil, both senior members of the NFL Football Operations Department.  The email from Grigson attached a message from Sean Sullivan, the Colts Equipment Manager, describing these concerns. The Grigson email described the Sullivan message as an “FYI” and stated: “all the Indianapolis Colts want is a completely level playing field. Thank you for being vigilant stewards of that not only for us but for the shield and overall integrity of our game.” In relevant part, the attached message from Sullivan stated: As far as the gameballs are concerned it is well known around the league thatafter the Patriots gameballs are checked by the officials and brought out for game usage the ballboys for the patriots 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.”

The WR continued:

“During interviews, when asked to explain the source of their concerns about the Patriots game balls, Grigson, Sullivan, and other members of the Colts equipment staff referenced the Colts Week 11 game against the Patriots in Indianapolis. During that game, Colts strong safety Mike Adams intercepted two passes thrown by Tom Brady. On both occasions, Adams handed the footballs to Brian Seabrooks, an Assistant Equipment Manager for the Colts, on the sideline. Sullivan also examined the footballs because, as he described it, he always checks to see how other teams prepare their balls to “make sure no one is doing a better job.” Sullivan and Seabrooks said that the intercepted footballs appeared to be coated in a tacky substance and seemed spongy or soft when squeezed. They explained that even though they did not test the air pressure of the intercepted footballs at the time, based on their years of experience, the softness of the balls raised suspicions. They also cited unspecified chatter throughout the League that the Patriots prefer their footballs softer than other teams and that visiting teams should be on guard when playing at Gillette Stadium. They could not identify a specific source for this information or reference particular conversations.”

So what did happen to the balls?  The security tape according to the WR says:

“Based on videotape evidence and witness interviews, it has been determined that McNally removed the game balls from the Officials Locker Room at approximately 6:30 p.m. After leaving the Officials Locker Room carrying two large bags of game balls (Patriots balls and Colts balls), McNally turned left and then turned left again to walk down a corridor referred to by Patriots personnel as the “center tunnel” heading to the playing field. At the end of the center tunnel on the left-hand side, approximately three feet from the doors that lead to the playing field, is a bathroom. McNally entered that bathroom with the game balls, locked the door, and remained in the bathroom with the game balls for approximately one minute and forty seconds. He then left the bathroom and took the bags of game balls to the field”

The WR discussed this with McNally:

“With respect to his decision to use the bathroom, McNally claimed that he hasused the bathroom near the field entrance while in possession of the game balls many times. He said that on the day of the AFC Championship Game, he entered the bathroom, dropped the ball bags to his left, and used the urinal to his right. That bathroom, however, does not contain a urinal.”

We continue with McNally:

“When asked why he did not use the bathrooms available in the Officials Locker Room or the Chain Gang Room on the day of the AFC Championship Game, McNally claimed that the officials often ask for time to themselves prior to the game, though he did not mention anyone making such a request that day. Walt Anderson and most other officials interviewed said that it would have been ordinary and customary for McNally to use the bathrooms in the Officials Locker Room and that, in their opinion, McNally appeared to feel very comfortable in the locker room.”

Why would McNally go to the field alone?  Ask the WR:

“Richard Farley, who has been the NFL Security Representative for New England for approximately twelve years and is present in the Officials Locker Room before and during every Patriots home game, said that he considers it part of his job description to accompany the referee to the field and that he is generally in close proximity to McNally and the game balls when he walks to the field with the referee. According to Farley, he often opens the door to allow McNally to exit easily with the ball bags, and then McNally, Farley, the referee and the head linesman will walk to the field together or in close proximity to each other. Farley cannot recall McNally previously bringing game balls to the field prior to the start of a game without being accompanied by or in close proximity to one or more game officials.”

When did the Colts find out about the low pressure ball?:

“At approximately 7:47 p.m., during the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game, Colts linebacker D‟Qwell Jackson intercepted a pass thrown by Tom Brady. Following the interception upon reaching the sideline, Jackson handed the ball to David Thornton, the Colts Director of Player Engagement, near the Colts bench and Thornton immediately handed the ball to Assistant Equipment Manager Brian Seabrooks. According to Seabrooks, he believed that the ball felt similar to the footballs intercepted by Mike Adams during the Colts game against the Patriots earlier in the season, so he asked one of the team‟s equipment interns to locate a pressure gauge and test the inflation level of the intercepted ball. The intern used a digital pressure gauge similar to the gauge used by the Colts to set their footballs before the game, and reported that the pressure measured approximately 11 psi. Seabrooks then walked with the intercepted football to Equipment Manager Sean Sullivan, who squeezed the ball and agreed that it felt soft.”

The measurement of the game balls at halftime by the different NFL reps in psi:

Patriots Ball Blakeman Prioleau

1                      11.50 11.80

2                      10.85 11.20

3                      11.15 11.50

4                      10.70 11.00

5                      11.10 11.45

6                      11.60 11.95

7                      11.85 12.30

8                      11.10 11.55

9                      10.95 11.35

10                    10.50 10.90

11                    10.90 11.35

So the report has come out and it leaves some questions to be asked by me but I’m certain by others as well.  Namely what will be the punishment?  It’s too late to lose this year’s draft picks, how convenient.  So you know you are going to get away with it in time to win a Super Bowl, oh yeah, there’s that too.  You get caught doing it in the AFC Championship Game, why don’t they stop the game?  I mean how can you keep playing a game when you are deliberately breaking one of the fundamental rules of the game?  Or do we just say “Ok we’ll just fine you $500,000 and you’ll lose a draft pick in 2020.  Don’t do that again.  But hey, nice job on that Super Bowl win, it’s great that Russell Wilson threw a pick, otherwise we’d be in hot water.”  This is one of those precident cases, and I think the NFL has to come down hard on them.  How can you not?  If another team sees that someone does it and gets away with it with a fine why wouldn’t you do it?  So you do it in the AFC Championship game and you are found to have done it in the first half of the game and they don’t even call you on it, the NFL doesn’t even have the guts to call Bobby Kraft on it in his own house, how can they call anyone else on it?  I mean wasn’t the commish at Kraft’s house the night before?  Maybe they’ll just apologize to Bobby and say they are sorry they let McNally out of their sight and they should have been more proactive about training the security and the NFL personnel, it was all a big misunderstanding.  Read the WR and decide for yourself.