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Patriots locker room attendant tried to put unapproved ball into AFC final


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A locker room attendant for the New England Patriots tried to introduce an unapproved special teams football into last month's AFC Championship Game, the same game at the center of the "Deflategate" allegations, four sources familiar with the investigation told "Outside the Lines."

 

One source said that the attendant assigned to the officials' locker room, identified as 48-year-old Jim McNally, has been interviewed by investigators for Ted Wells, the attorney the NFL hired last month to lead an investigation into allegations the Patriots intentionally used underinflated footballs on offensive plays in the first half of that game against the Indianapolis Colts, which New England won 45-7.

 

Three sources said that McNally has worked Patriots games for a decade, and has been in charge of the officials' locker room at Gillette Stadium since at least 2008. In the first half of the AFC Championship Game, the sources said, McNally tried to give the unapproved football to an alternate official who was in charge of the special-teams footballs. Those footballs are known as "kicking balls" or "K balls."

 

Before every NFL game, footballs are inspected and measured by NFL officials in their locker room before they can be approved for in-game use. The "K balls" are used for special teams, and not by the offenses of either team.

 

 

NFL officials put a special mark or stamp on each ball approved for use on offensive possessions, as well as the "K balls" used on special teams, to ensure only properly inspected and approved footballs are used in that game. Walt Anderson, the referee for the AFC title game, had personally inspected and marked each of the footballs that were approved for use in that game.

 

The alternate official, Greg Yette, became suspicious when he noticed that the football McNally handed him did not have the proper markings on it, three sources said. One of those sources added that Yette found it surprising that the officials' locker room attendant was on the field, trying to hand him a ball, because officials' locker room attendants don't typically have ball-handling responsibilities during NFL games. Once McNally tried to introduce the unapproved football into the game, the source said, Yette notified the NFL's vice president of game operations, Mike Kensil, who was at the game in the press box.

 

Sources said they are not sure at what point during the first half McNally tried to introduce the impermissible football to Yette. They didn't know his motivation for doing so, either. Yette, when reached by Outside the Lines, declined to comment.

 

An Outside the Lines reporter approached McNally at his home in Amherst, New Hampshire, earlier this month, but he said, "I can't talk to you," waving the reporter away as he walked up his driveway.

 

McNally is a part-time employee who was hired by The Kraft Group, a company owned by Patriots owners Robert Kraft. Kelly Way, the director of operations for TeamOps at Gillette Stadium, said NFL game-day employees are paid by The Kraft Group. McNally is not listed in the Patriots' main switchboard directory.

 

It is not known if McNally is the same locker room attendant who reportedly ducked into a bathroom with a bag of footballs for 90 seconds before taking them out to the field before the start of the AFC Championship Game. On Jan. 26, FoxSports.com's Jay Glazer reported that a locker-room attendant from the Patriots allegedly took footballs "from the officials locker room to another area" on the way to the field, and that Wells' investigators have video of that. Pro Football Talk later reported that the attendant stopped in a restroom with the game balls for 90 seconds. That locker room attendant, according to Foxsports.com, is a "strong person of interest."

 

The Patriots, who won the Super Bowl over the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 1, came under scrutiny prior to the AFC Championship Game, when the Colts reportedly alerted the NFL during the regular season that the Patriots may be using underinflated footballs after the teams met Nov. 16.

 

A source told Outside the Lines that Kensil decided to personally go down to the officials' locker room at halftime of the Patriots-Colts game to check the game balls, in part, because of the suspicions McNally's actions raised.

 

Kensil did not respond to requests for comment but it has also been reported that the Colts noticed an underinflated football after an interception by linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. Jackson said at the Pro Bowl that he didn't notice that the football was underinflated. Also, Troy Vincent, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations, told "60 Minutes Sports" that Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson told league officials in the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game that the Patriots might be tampering with footballs.

 

One source said Kensil personally checked the PSI (pounds per square inch) levels of all 12 footballs the Patriots had for use on offense and found that 11 of those 12 were underinflated by "one to two pounds." They were reinflated to the league-required level and were returned for use in the second half.

 

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has attributed the 11 underinflated game balls to atmospheric conditions and has said the Patriots "try to do everything right; we err on the side of caution." Team owner Robert Kraft, in a strong defense of his head coach and quarterback Tom Brady, said: "I want to make it clear that I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots have done nothing inappropriate in this process or are in violation of NFL rules."

 

He added "I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team" if the Wells investigation "is unable to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs."

 

The NFL hired Wells on Jan. 23 to lead an investigation into Deflategate. In a statement released late last month, Wells said he expected his investigation to go on for "at least several more weeks" and asked that "everyone involved or potentially involved in this matter avoids public comment concerning the matter until the investigation is concluded. The results will be shared publicly."

 

Dean Blandino, the NFL's head of officiating, said at a Super Bowl news conference: "There was an issue that was brought up during the first half, a football came into question, and then the decision was made to test them at halftime. There's an investigation going on, I can't really get into specifics."

 

When asked for comment by OTL, Blandino texted, "I can't elaborate with the investigation still ongoing."

 

The NFL, though a spokesman, told OTL: "We're not commenting on the details of the ongoing investigation."

 

http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/12340408/new-england-patriots-employee-gave-unapproved-ball-official-lines-reports

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Shouldn't you be more concerned about the draft picks the Jets will lose because of Woody's blatant tampering?

It is not cheating.   It is called gaining a competitive advantage, something the Pats do better than any team in the NFL.

Can you let me know which Draft Pick you expect us to lose, so I can update the "Offseason Activity" thread.   Thanks!

I think this even was shown on tv at the start of the 2nd half. one of the refs looked at the ball and tossed it back to the sidelines. But if the guy thru out a kicking ball he should be fired for supplying a ball to Brady that was inflated to the max.

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This makes it almost more obvious that they were really cheating.  This guy F-ed up...they then tested all the balls and got busted.  

 

I'm sure they'll simply make this guy the scapegoat...but I'm still going to hold out hope the league does the right thing and heavily punish the Pats.  

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I'm sure they'll simply make this guy the scapegoat...but I'm still going to hold out hope the league does the right thing and heavily punish the Pats.  

 

Shouldn't you be more concerned about the draft picks the Jets will lose because of Woody's blatant tampering?

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Trash. Just pure trash that franchise. Amazing. They're just full on cheaters at every level of the franchise and nobody in the NFL cares one bit other than former players that know they've been cheated out of championships.

Unreal. This league is really wearing thin. Starting to really just not care about the NFL.

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So now it's some rogue locker room attendant??????

 

No it is Belichick. Nothing happens there without going through him.

 

You guys cheated. But you won. So you are really good at cheating. It is impressive. He found two different ways to cheat and win Super Bowls: 1) Video Taping 2) Under Inflating

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Shouldn't you be more concerned about the draft picks the Jets will lose because of Woody's blatant tampering?

 

Want to place a wager on that?  If the Jets lose draft picks you can be a moderator for a day. If they don't lose draft picks, you have to make out with Crusher again.

 

Deal?

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Trash. Just pure trash that franchise. Amazing. They're just full on cheaters at every level of the franchise and nobody in the NFL cares one bit other than former players that know they've been cheated out of championships.

Unreal. This league is really wearing thin. Starting to really just not care about the NFL.

 

I am with you. Bring back the USFL.

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Want to place a wager on that? If the Jets lose draft picks you can be a moderator for a day. If they don't lose draft picks, you have to make out with Crusher again.

Deal?

Again? Wtf??? That's my muffin top!!!

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So a former Jets' employee personally went down to inspect the balls?  Hmmmm.....

 

Yes, because the Patriots' locker room attendant tried to give the official an unapproved kicking ball. 

 

I mean, because D'Qwell Jackson noticed that the ball he intercepted felt deflated and reported it up the chain.

 

I mean, because Ryan Grigson raised suspicions during the game based on tips from the Ravens and/or because the Colts noticed balls were deflated during their regular season game with the Patriots. 

 

Great, Pulitzer Prize winning, investigative work by OTL.    

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I am with you. Bring back the USFL.

While its at the height of its popularity, I do think a lot of fans are becoming disenchanted by the leagues actions and obvious preferential treatment to a franchise that has instituted a systematic approach to cheating in any possible way.

Might be wise for someone to actually make a run at challenging the NFL. I know I would tune in. The NFL is ruining the enjoyment of the game.

You can't allow your flagship team to continue to cheat their way to championships and think you're on the up and up.

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Mike Kensil is Jim's son. Jim was the Jets president for a bunch, but he came over from Rozelle and the league office. They have more ties to the league office than the Jets. He was Pete <I spit in disgust> Rozelle's right hand man for like 20 years.

Love it. The league is assisting the Pats cheating.

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So now it's some rogue locker room attendant??????

Wasn't it always. After all BB knew nothing and Brady knew even less, so it had to be a lone nut. Obviously Kraft got to him first, paid him off with a golden parachute and case is closed. No cheating by the newly crowned NFL champs. How could it be otherwise?

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Shouldn't you be more concerned about the draft picks the Jets will lose because of Woody's blatant tampering?

Say what you will about the Jets owner's ignorant comment - it was totally unintentional. The Jets will not match the Pats offer to Revis and will go with Cro and Flowers, plus a draft pick to fix the secondary. The Jets may have only won once, but cheating has never been applied to it. Pats cannot say the same.

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While its at the height of its popularity, I do think a lot of fans are becoming disenchanted by the leagues actions and obvious preferential treatment to a franchise that has instituted a systematic approach to cheating in any possible way.

Might be wise for someone to actually make a run at challenging the NFL. I know I would tune in. The NFL is ruining the enjoyment of the game.

You can't allow your flagship team to continue to cheat their way to championships and think you're on the up and up.

 

It's becoming more and more difficult to take the game seriously... 

 

between cheating, drastic rule changes, PSL's and the many greedy money grabs this league has taken...the popularity will begin to decline and their lack of integrity and greed will eventually cost them the league.  

 

I, for one, am just about done.  

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Yes, because the Patriots' locker room attendant tried to give the official an unapproved kicking ball. 

 

I mean, because D'Qwell Jackson noticed that the ball he intercepted felt deflated and reported it up the chain.

 

I mean, because Ryan Grigson raised suspicions during the game based on tips from the Ravens and/or because the Colts noticed balls were deflated during their regular season game with the Patriots. 

 

Great, Pulitzer Prize winning, investigative work by OTL.    

 

I think Wilbur from the Globe surmised this is ann NFL vs. ESPN thing.  Mort drops the 11 or 12 balls way under.  Rappaport comes out with only one ball.  Now, ESPN flies out 1 to 2 pounds.

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Shouldn't you be more concerned about the draft picks the Jets will lose because of Woody's blatant tampering?

 

Can you let me know which Draft Pick you expect us to lose, so I can update the "Offseason Activity" thread.

 

Thanks!

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Yes Tex, a blatant statement that was blown off the very next day by your own owner Robert Kraft. However, the day after Belichek went over his boss's head and filed a grievance with the NFL.

Who's really running / cheating this team?

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

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ugh.  aren't we all tired of this?  Look, everyone outside of Masshole knows that the Patriots cheat at every opportunity and are usually great at hiding the evidence.  It is what it is until Belichick retires or something.  Is it reprehensible?  Of course.  Just sick of the threads on it.  Pats cheat all the time.  

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No it is Belichick. Nothing happens there without going through him.

 

You guys cheated. But you won. So you are really good at cheating. It is impressive. He found two different ways to cheat and win Super Bowls: 1) Video Taping 2) Under Inflating

 

It is not cheating.

 

It is called gaining a competitive advantage, something the Pats do better than any team in the NFL.

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Want to place a wager on that?  If the Jets lose draft picks you can be a moderator for a day. If they don't lose draft picks, you have to make out with Crusher again.

 

Deal?

 

I don't do short, one day contracts.

 

If it is 3+ years, you can negotiate with my agent (I'm using the same one as Revis).

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It is not cheating.

 

It is called gaining a competitive advantage, something the Pats do better than any team in the NFL.

True, although it is technically against the rules.

 

As for the tampering draft pick, 

 

1. You're not getting much if any. Usually it would be a 4-6 pick.

 

2. Here's how this goes down. Goodell says to Kraft, "Lay off the tampering charges and I won't pull a draft pick for this rules break." Even if the guy is rogue, it's under the organizational banner.

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