The NFL was alerted to the DeflateGate situation by the Indianapolis Colts, who lost to the New England Patriots 45-7 in last season’s AFC Championship Game.
Turns out the Colts might not be choirboys themselves.
In the Patriots’ Thursday rebuttal to the Wells Report, the team said it supplied evidence about the Colts’ potential wrongdoings. The first came from a Colts-Jaguars game that took place sometime before the 2014 season.
“Evidence was also provided that Indianapolis ball boys, in a prior season, had been seen by Jacksonville personnel with ball needles hidden under their long sleeves,” the Patriots wrote in “The Wells Report in Context.”
Separately, the Patriots pointed out the Colts took a PSI reading of a football during the AFC title game, which is an NFL rules violation.
“Once the game starts, neither team is allowed to gauge the footballs, pump them, or the like. That is solely the province of the referee, who is to be the ‘sole judge’ of whether footballs comply,” the Patriots wrote. “The Colts, with advance concerns about psi, did not take the issue to the referee. They took the matter into their own hands and had an intern gauge the football. (pg. 63) This conduct was in violation of Rule 2. Nowhere does the Report identify this conduct as a violation of the Rule.”
The next step in this process is the appeal of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension. The NFLPA formally filed the appeal to the league Thursday. Brady reportedly has hired prominent lawyer Jeffrey Kessler to lead his defense.
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