This is going to shock you: TOM BRADY LIED!! I know, I know. It’s the least shocking thing in the world. Back in January, just a few weeks before the SuperBowl, #Deflategate became a thing. The backstory: when the Colts lost to the Patriots, the Colts were like, “Hey, the Patriots’ balls felt really underinflated.” They complained and the NFL launched an investigation. As it turns out, the Patriots-supplied footballs were underinflated, below NFL-standards. There was a debate about whether one team would really and truly get an advantage from underinflated balls, which didn’t make much sense to me because… obviously, the balls would be easier to handle if they were underinflated, right?
In any case, the scandal grew over the course of a week until Tom Brady, the Patriots’ Golden Boy, came out for one of the most bizarre press conferences I’ve ever witnessed. Even an amateur body-language reader (like me) could tell that Brady was lying his ass off when he denied any knowledge of the Patriots deflated balls. So, the NFL’s “independent investigation” was still “ongoing” but the Patriots still got to play in the SuperBowl and they ended up winning. So now that several months have passed, the NFL finally released their findings. And Tom Brady LIED. About BALLS.
New England Patriots personnel likely manipulated the air pressure of the footballs used in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, a report by independent investigator Ted Wells concluded. The report, released Wednesday, found “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.” The report also states that it is probable Tom Brady “was at least generally aware of… the release of air from Patriots game balls.”
The report found that officials’ locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski “participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee.”
The NFL is considering discipline for Brady, McNally and Jastremski, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
At a press conference in January, Brady said he “didn’t alter the balls in any way” and “would never have someone do something that was outside the rules.”
Is this a big deal? I’m asking that as someone who has no f—ks to give about the NFL in general, especially after the epically mismanaged Ray Rice clusterwhoops. On a scale of Ray Rice to “Nothing to See Here,” I actually thing this is a decent-sized scandal. I think it’s mainly going to be a big deal because the report name-checks Golden Boy Tom Brady specifically, and because he probably will be “punished” in some minor way. And now the Patriots have another asterisk beside their winning season. *CHEATERS/BALLS.
Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet, Getty.