The whole Deflategate controversy stems from one report, and that one report keeps coming back to the same guy.
The report in question, of course, is from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen. The longtime reporter tweeted in the days following last season’s AFC Championship Game that 11 of the New England Patriots’ 12 footballs were 2 pounds below the NFL’s legal PSI threshold.
That report has been proven to be false, but that hasn’t stopped the NFL from coming down hard on the Patriots. All the while, Mortensen’s original tweet remains and the story hasn’t been pulled. Mortensen was set to go on WEEI Radio in Boston on Friday but backed out before joining “Dennis & Callahan.”
Mortensen likely was going to be grilled over the report, so WEEI radio host John Dennis one-upped Mortensen by “reporting” that Mortensen’s source for the 11 of 12 report was NFL vice president of game operations Mike Kensil.
Kensil has been tied to the story almost since the beginning. CSNNE.com reported in January that Kensil — a former New York Jets employee — was the “driving force” behind the investigation. According to that report, Kensil’s suspicions began even before the AFC Championship Game.
Sports Illustrated reported something similar in May.
“Patriots sources are steadfast — and their belief was conveyed to the league, according to a source — that Mike Kensil, the NFL’s VP of game operations, walked up to Patriots equipment manager Dave Schoenfeld on the sideline after halftime and said, ‘We weighed the balls. You are in big f—— trouble,’ ” Bedard wrote. “New England and Kraft thought this incident, and others, showed bias by the league and would be explored in the Wells report.”
Of course, that didn’t happen, and the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady — whose four-game suspension has been upheld — haven’t been let off the hook.
Kensil spent the better part of two decades with the Jets, where he worked with Bill Belichick. Kensil still was with the Jets when Belichick spurned New York in 2000 by resigning as head coach almost immediately after being hired. Belichick, of course, went to New England, and we all know what happened to both franchises after that.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
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