NFL Investigator Concludes The Patriots Probably Deflated Balls In AFC Championship And Tom Brady Knew About It
May 6 / Eric Goldschein / SportsGrid
Remember when the entire Internet nearly exploded when it was found that most of the footballs used by the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game were under-inflated? Turns out that was all... maybe, kinda, sorta warranted.
It took over 100 days since the story first broke for us to reach a conclusion, but Wells had this to say about the Pats' role in the debacle in his 243 page report (emphasis ours):
"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."
The report exonerated other members of the organization, however, including Bill Belichick and Stephen Gostkowski:
"We do not believe that there was any attempt by Patriots personnel, including Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, to deliberately circumvent the rules by offering the kicking ball for play."
"We do not believe that the evidence establishes that any other Patriots personnel participated in or had knowledge of the violation of the Playing Rules or the deliberate effort to circumvent the rules described in this Report. In particular, we do not believe there was any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing by Patriots ownership, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick or any other Patriots coach in the matters investigated. We also do not believe there was any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing by Patriots Head Equipment Manager Dave Schoenfeld."
Here's just some of the evidence the report found concerning McNally and Jastremski's role in the scandal: