Brady, Pats cheated (surprise!) and Kraft is full of hot air

New England’s three heads of state — Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft — spoke at Monday’s rally in Boston. (AP photo)

New England's three heads of state -- Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft -- spoke at Monday's rally in Boston. (AP photo)

New England’s heads of state — Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft — addressed fans in Boston before leaving for the Super Bowl. (AP photo)

I was in Phoenix Super Bowl week when Robert Kraft practically scolded the NFL, media members and assorted cynics who would dare to suggest that his New England Patriots would do something that wasn’t kosher to win a football game, even if all evidence was to the contrary.

“It bothers me greatly that (Bill Belichick’s and Tom Brady’s) reputation and integrity has been called into question,” the Patriots’ owner said.

And everybody waited for the punch line.

The investigation into whether the Patriots intentionally deflated footballs in the AFC championship game against Indianapolis is finally complete. Conclusion: It’s “more than probable” that they are guilty — maybe not all of them, but enough of them.

Ted Wells, who led an independent investigation that lasted more than three months, released his findings in a 243-page report. In short: Brady and two New England locker room attendants were found culpable for the quarterback’s use of deflated footballs.

There was no evidence linking Belichick to wrongdoing. At this point, you are free to ask yourself: So something was going on in Belichick’s locker room that Belichick wasn’t aware of?

Wells’ report is long. But here’s the meat of the findings:  “… We have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally (officials locker room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (equipment assistant for the team) 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 was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots’ game balls.”

Not just in the AFC championship game, but other games as well.

Kraft did not take this well. He released his own statement (460 words) that basically boiled down to a vehement denial and/or him holding his breath until he turned Patriot blue.

He said Wells ignored “both scientific formula and independent research, as we did, (that) would ultimately exonerate the Patriots. … I don’t know how the science of atmospheric conditions can be refuted or how conclusions to the contrary can be drawn without some definitive evidence.”

(I’ll pause here for the laugh track.)

Wells’ report is thorough. You can read the entire PDF by clicking here. It includes details about the handling of footballs before the AFC championship game, as well as text message exchanges between McNally and Jastremski that illustrate how deflating footballs for Brady was a common practice.

In one exchange on May 9, 2014, McNally jokingly refers to himself as “the deflator” and texts Jastremski, “not going to espn……..yet.”

McNally: “You working”

Jastremski: “Yup”

McNally: “Nice dude….jimmy needs some kicks….lets make a deal…..come on help the deflator”

McNally: “Chill buddy im just buddy im just f***** with you ….im not going to
espn……..yet.”

So what’s Kraft’s story here? That McNally and Jastremski went rogue?

What is Brady’s claim going to be? That he had no idea the footballs were deflated?

This is what Brady said after the accusations were made: “I personalized a lot of things and thought this was all about me and my feelings got hurt, and then I moved past it because it’s not serving me.”

That’s right. His feelings were hurt.

(Laugh track again.)

This doesn’t change the fact that Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play or that the Patriots are one of the elite organizations in professional sports. But they cheated and they need to pay some sort of price, even if Kraft believes the world is out to get him.

Some ideas, taking into account that this is not the first time the Patriots have painted outside the lines and Brady was less than forthcoming with investigators:

• The team should be given a record fine. A fine won’t cause a dent in a franchise that has been valued at $2.6 billion but at least it will be symbolic of something.

• The team should be docked a first-round draft pick. This will hurt far more than the fine.

• Brady should be suspended. A two-game suspension seems fair. Cheating compromises the integrity of the game and damages the league at least as much as any player failing a drug test (which leads to at least a four-game suspension). I’m just not sure throwing a slightly deflated football rises to the level of a four-game punishment.

Finally, I think commissioner Roger Goodell needs to find some way to compel Kraft to publicly admit the findings of the report. When the Patriots claimed before the Super Bowl that “atmospheric conditions” caused the Patriots’ footballs to deflate, no less an authority than Neil de- Grasse Tyson —  an astrophysicist by way of Harvard,  Columbia and other institutions of the really smart — responded via Twitter: “For the Patriots to blame a change in temperature for 15 percent lower-pressures requires balls to be inflated with 125-degree air.”

I wrote then as I write now: We know where the hot air is coming from.

 Previously on “DeflateGate”:

Brady takes air out of Super Bowl critics

Great or not, Patriots’ legacy forever tarnished

Matt Ryan doesn’t believe deflating footballs is norm

DeflateGate: It’s time for NFL to forfeit games for cheaters

Stall, lie cheat — it’s Patriots’ way, and perfectly timed

Brady says he got his feelings hurt. Really?

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Reader Comments 0

51 comments
Stingshuh?
Stingshuh?

You have to understand that the deflation of the ball not only helped Tom Brady.........it help every Patrash player who handled the ball..........more catches and less drops.........less fumbles from Brady and RB's and WR's........it is a large advantage and it is nothing more than pure cheating...........spin it how you want, it's cheating.

Darla Christopher
Darla Christopher

The proof meets the CIVIL court standard; Pattrash cheated AGAIN. In fact, Tammy B. has -0- fair SB wins.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

While not proven, it is highly likely that Brady knew all about the deflated footballs.  This isn't going to tarnish Brady's legacy any more than Jerry Rice's legacy is tarnished from his admitted cheating.

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

Make Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft take turns giving Roger Goofy Goodell bear hugs for 48 hours non-stop.

colt07
colt07

This all sounds a great deal like "they are the best". We are going to get those guys no matter what. Much ado about nothing! Payback from all the under achieving teams is " he doubletoothpicks". Schulz should start writing obits. There are no facts implicating anyone. "it seems like they may have done something". Are you kidding me!

Arthur Fern
Arthur Fern

It is more probable than not Joe Montana does not win as many SB rings unless Jerry Rice cheated and used stickum his entire career.

swimfin2
swimfin2

It's not the fact they deflated balls. It's the fact TB said he had no knowledge of it. He lied. But he's just following the same cues from Obama and clinton. The lies from them (benghazi), irs cover up, clinton emails deleted, clinton foundation illicit money...the list goes on...he's just copying what he saw from our wonderful leaders. The only difference is the sports media isn't as biased as the political media. So maybe tb will get punished. For clinton, must be nice to break the rules and law over and over, commit far worse actions (donations from foreign gov'ts while being sos, and then seeing shady deals take place and not have to answer to any of it.

swimfin2
swimfin2

@Arthur Fern @swimfin2 Huh? What does that have to do with this? Really? Hillary thought so! Speaking of, amazing the similarities of brady and clinton. Both refuse to allow their emails and texts to be seen. Of course TB has a legal right. Clinton, no since she worked for tax payers. Now the con wants to be president! 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@swimfin2 @Arthur Fern: "What does that [WMDs] have to do with this?"

______________________

Damn you're dumb!

In your mouth-breathing eagerness to indict the Dems, you conveniently omitted the Bush administration's lies about Iraq.

That's what!

DUH!

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

So Erbonn, I guess the sports section is your last stop on ajc.com?


I think for the reasons Schulz mentioned about the Pats and Brady as elite/all time greats, if the NFL doesn't come down relatively hard, it will appear that they're showing favoritism.


If Brady's doing it, aren't other QBs?  Probably.  But some don't have to worry about inclement weather conditions as they play most of their games indoors/in friendly climates.  


It's uncharted territory for me painting toothsome Tom as a sympathetic figure, but bottom line is - compared to many of his peers - he plays more than his share of games in bad weather.


I don't believe this incident will tarnish Brady's legacy as a player.  But if he lied to Robert Kraft in private  with the same apparent ease he did to everybody else publicly, then that speaks of disloyalty and a lack of respect for his boss.


Not good traits to expose when the foil is the guy who signs your checks.



Erbonn
Erbonn

Who freafin cares! It's just a damn game. Why is this getting any attention at all? I saw a study several years ago to determine the intelligence level of people based upon which section of the newspaper they read first. Yep, the lowest level was those who went to the sports page first.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

The atmospheric conditions must have been different in the visitors locker room 50 yards away???

JSSN
JSSN

Hmmm, one team "cheats" and gets a Super Bowl title. Meanwhile, another team "cheats" and gets losing records! Heck, what's that line from 'Thrift Shop' about "R Kelly's sheets?" 

Stingshuh?
Stingshuh?

@JSSN Wasn't he a perv...............the Pats cheating has been major cheating for years, maybe they will give them the death penalty like the NCAA does colleges?

JSSN
JSSN

@Stingshuh?

This isn't the fraud of piety the NCAA, the NFL is gonna either look truly foolish (lax) or over the top in trying to look stern. Goodell made this mess for himself in the 'Spygate' punishment, then 'Bountygate', and now he's leaning on Troy Vincent who made the floor look weak in dealing with the Falcons. 

Everyone wants to punish them, but it won't be retroactive. Brady not going to lose any sleep being sat, Dude's wife makes more in endorsements in 6 months then Tommy Boy! It reminds of the punishment for Bank of America, SMDH. 

Yes, R Kelly likes to "Wee" a little!

MikeS777
MikeS777

As for Roger Goodell, I really don't expect much here.  I guess we will see what he cares about more...protecting the shield or protecting the integrity of the product on the field.  Remember this is the same guy who made a mess of the Ray Rice situation and was only going to suspend him a few games.

I think you're suggestions are spot on.  The team needs to pay a price and Brady needs to be suspended.

I do think those hoping for a forfeit of games are going to be disappointed.  The NFL doesn't do that.  If they didn't do that with Spygate, it won't happen here.

MikeS777
MikeS777

Great column, Jeff.  Something needs to be done here.  To be honest, I'm surprised the "Protect the Shield" crew didn't intercept this report before it went public.  It would have found it's way into the same furnace they tossed the Spygate tapes before everyone could view them.

The reality is the Patriots have and will break the rules, and they have an owner and fan base that clearly would prefer to make excuses for it.

I do disagree with you on one point..."This doesn’t change the fact that Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play or that the Patriots are one of the elite organizations in professional sports."

It completely changes both of these statements.  How long have they been deflating these balls for Brady?  How good would this organization have been if not for Spygate?  Stealing signals is no small thing when it comes to competition.  "Another timely screen by the mastermind, Bill Belichick.  He's one step ahead."  Yeah thanks to the fact he knew the blitz was coming.

Honestly, I can't wait until Belicheat and Brady move on.  I'm ready for the league to finally put them in the rear view mirror.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@MikeS777

Who won this year's Super Bowl, which was played (with properly inflated footballs) after the emergence of "DeflateGate"?

Hello?

Columbus68
Columbus68

Hmmm. but just to be fair, he said atmospheric conditions, not simply temperature as the reported expert who must be right addressed. Does not altitude, humidity, dew point along, outside pressures and temperature effect the interior pressure? It may not but kraft said conditions and expert said temps. Maybe Kraft still has a point. Probably not or the expert would have elaborated but this remains as a possibility to me until I see confirmation. 


Personally, even if Kraft may be technically right, I think that they did do it even if it cannot be proven. I mean if you understand legal jargon, probable is not absolute or definitely and that is what was repeatedly said in the report.


Wilbo
Wilbo

Love Brady. Aside from Steve Young and Deion Sanders, my favorite football player of all time. Love Belichek.


Pats are full-on winners. Falcons full-on losers.


But, if Brady stone cold lied like it's beginning to look like he did, there has to be some consequence...

Stingshuh?
Stingshuh?

@Wilbo Wilbo...........sport............Brady is a Cheater as are the Patriots. I will guarantee you Dione Sanders would tell him that to his face........you should be ashamed of mentioning the name Dione Sanders in the same sentence as that cheater Tom Brady.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Stingshuh? @Wilbo

It's not "Dione," dummy.

YOU should be ashamed that you can't even spell your hero's first name correctly.

ateacherfirst
ateacherfirst

Dear Mr. Kraft, Mr. Brady, and Mr. Belichek -

Since cheaters should never prosper,  your win in the 2015 Superbowl is vacated. Based on the Wells report,  Mr. Brady was at a minimum completely aware of violations involving deflated footballs..  Mr. Kraft and Mr. Belichek, as Mr. Brady's supervisors, you are responsible for his conduct and that of your organization.

Please return the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the rightful owners, the Seattle Seahawks. They earned the trophy in 2014 and did not legally lose in 2015. They will retain it until a new champion is crowned in 2016.
Sincerely,

Insert Name of NEW  NFL COMMISSIONER!!!!! (Because Goodell clearly cannot handle the players, teams, or owners).


A girl can dream.


Alberta
Alberta

Probably doesn't mean definitely and wouldn't hold up in court.  Unless you hate the Patriots.  Boo hoo. Get over it, Jeff. 

4 Super Bowl and 3 World Series championships, one NBA title and one Stanley Cup in 14 years.  Is it great to be a Boston fan or what?

Stingshuh?
Stingshuh?

@Alberta Is it great to win when you cheat to achieve it?......................Patriots = Cheaters.

BostonBullDawg
BostonBullDawg

@Alberta You're right, it wouldn't hold up in court.  Unfortunately for the Patriots this isn't going to court.  They play in an league with rules that is governed by one man.

slydawg
slydawg

So peeing hot in a cup is worse than a quarterback throwing deflated footballs to his receivers? Oh, and let's not forget tampering with the balls after you've given them over to NFL Officials. Sorry, 4 games and a first round draft pick, and nothing less. This is for being a habitual violator.

Every team bends the rules but they keep getting caught. The Patriots sure have a lot of haters.

ATLFan
ATLFan

So, based on precedent, I assume Tom Brady is on his way right now to meet with Roger Goodell and look him in the eye and explain himself. Yeah, right!

JSSN
JSSN

@ATLFan

Oh yeah, "he hates being lied to by people!" Ha ha, Goodell is a loon!

Bhorsoft
Bhorsoft

Why do I keep thinking of Casablanca when I hear Brady's and Kraft's denials of any cheating?

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

Brady knew AND the two locker room men did NOT take this action without being told to do so. He has repeatedly lied regarding this subject.


This is one of MANY intentional acts to gain an unfair advantage (cheating!!) by Brady, Belichick and the NE Patriots.........this is simply one of the few instances where they got caught! It is time for the NFL to bring down the hammer and show the Patriots that the attempts to cheat will not be tolerated.


If Brady played for TB, Oakland, Jacksonville, etc. he would not have any SB appearances and he would definitely not be going to the Hall of Fame. He has benefited more from OL, defense, running game and coaching than any other player in the history of the NFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  {Drew Brees is a very close 2nd in this category!}

extremus
extremus

Well considering how much the Falcons were penalized for merely pumping fake noise into their stadium, the league should have a difficult time justifying anything less than forfeiture of last year's AFC Championship and Superbowl trophies if they really wish to make a statement.  If they coddle the Patriots on this one it'll come back to bite the NFL HARD where other franchises and their fan bases are concerned.

ATLFan
ATLFan

@extremus I totally agree. At least the Falcons ownership accepted responsibility for the wrong doing of an employee and accepted their punishment. The Pats and their owner are still in denial, which seems incredible given the details described in this report. Not only were footballs deflated in the Championship game, but also through out the season. Plus, the locker room guys were openly kidding each other about it (one even referred to himself as "the deflator"), AND Tom Brady gave them autographed stuff to ensure their silence. This is so much worse than what the Falcons did.

DaGherk
DaGherk

@ATLFan @extremus I hear what you guys are saying, but I have to disagree. We are just as guilty as they are. Both of us tried to gain an unfair advantage during the game. They found that we pumped in the noise for 2 season, so we were doing it over an extended period of time too. Cheating is cheating, no matter how you slice it.

Dribble
Dribble

I think we are all a little shocked to find out absolutely nothing new that we didn't already know. 


RangeRover
RangeRover

Nothing of consequence here...let it go, Jeff!

REGAN1966
REGAN1966

Nothing of much consequence will happen to the commissioners buddy. 

Earhardnt_Fan
Earhardnt_Fan

So which is worst pipin in fake noise R havin a few fottballs  underdflated witch is actualy harder 2 throw. 


Flacons cheeting is far worst

slydawg
slydawg

If the Falcons finished better than 10-22 the past two seasons, you may have a point. Anyways, deflated balls, by contrast, are easier to catch and grip in bd or cold weather.