TOM BRADY “GENERALLY AWARE” OF PRACTICE …
|| By FITSNEWS || The New England Patriots violated NFL rules by deflating footballs prior to the AFC championship game – giving the team’s players an unfair competitive advantage. Not only that, star quarterback Tom Brady was “at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities,” according to a new report prepared for the league by attorney Ted Wells.
In the aftermath of the Patriots’ 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts four months ago, eleven of the team’s twelve footballs were determined to have been at least two pounds per square inch below league specifications – which call for all balls to be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch (and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces).
The scandal – known as “Deflate-gate” – dominated headlines in the weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLIX, which the Patriots won.
“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,” Wells’ report concluded.
Specifically, the report concluded that a pair of Patriots’ equipment managers “participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee.”
Yeah … “busted.”
Under-inflated balls are easier for players to grip – especially in slick, rainy conditions like those that prevailed at Gillette Stadium during the AFC championship. They are also easier for wide receivers and running backs to catch. In fact, Brady has made his preference for under-inflated footballs well known, telling a New England radio station in 2011 “I like the deflated ball.”
The Patriots were also accused of using deflated balls following a game against the Colts in November – and after a Brady pass was intercepted by Colts’ linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, Colts’ personnel noticed the ball was under-inflated.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft blasted the report, saying he was “offended” by its insinuation that the team did not fully cooperate with the investigation.
“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,” Kraft said in a statement. “That sentiment has not changed.”
“To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship game, would be a gross understatement,” he added.
This website is highly conflicted in this story, seeing as our founding editor is a 29-year fan of the Indianapolis Colts. Also for the record, we have repeatedly stated that the deflated footballs were highly unlikely to have impacted the outcome of the game.
Contributed to its outcome? Yes. Changed it? No.
“New England is – year-in, year-out – one of the most talented teams in the league. And Brady is without question one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the league (and hands-down the NFL’s best-ever post-season passer),” we wrote in the immediate aftermath of the scandal. “But the Patriots continue to sully the integrity of the game with their unnecessary and unsportsmanlike efforts to gain an unfair competitive advantage.”
In 2007 the NFL fined New England head coach Bill Belichick $500,000 for his role in “spy-gate” – a scandal in which the Patriots were found to have illegally videotaped the New York Jets’ defensive coaches’ signals. The team was fined another $250,000 and docked its first round pick in the 2008 NFL draft as a result of the scandal – which allegedly involved a long-standing team practice.
It’s not clear what – if any – penalties may follow from “Deflate-gate” especially seeing as no definitive finding of deliberate wrongdoing was made.