It Looks Like The Patriots Messed With Their Balls

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Deflategate – it hangs like a dark cloud over the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl win last year. If you’ve been under a rock, we’ll summarize the essential points for you.

Last January’s AFC Championship game pitted the Patriots against the Indianapolis Colts. New England triumphed over their rivals 45-7, a staggering blowout that saw the Patriots force three turnovers and bring in four touchdowns on their first four second-half drives. It was a dominant victory that gave the Pats the momentum to stand up to the Seahawks and win another Super Bowl ring.

However, a few days after the game, rumors that the balls used in the AFC championship weren’t inflated to NFL standards began to circulate. To their credit, the league launched a massive investigation, and their report came out yesterday. It’s pretty damning not only to the Patriots as a team, but also to quarterback Tom Brady as a person.

Newsweek has the most in-depth take on the scandal we’ve seen. The quick and dirty is that a pair of Patriots equipment managers, Jim McNally and John Jastremski, worked with Brady to ensure that the balls were inflated to his level, below the league minimum of 16 PSI. Brady claimed in interviews to have no idea who McNally was, which was proven false by a massive dump of text messages taken from Jastremski’s cell phone.

What’s generally considered to have happened is that after the game balls were examined by NFL officials, the Patriots equipment managers covertly let some of the air out of the ball with a needle. That lets Brady get his preferred grip on the pigskin and enables him to throw those touchdowns he loves so much.

So what’s next for Tom Brady? There are already people clamoring that he shouldn’t be allowed to play when the 2016 season starts. Is that too draconian a punishment, or does he deserve worse? Let us know what you think.