The New England Patriots could be losing Tom Brady, with rumors that the NFL will punish the quarterback for his role in deflating game balls.
On Wednesday, the league’s extensive report into the Deflategate scandal was released, showing that quarterback Tom Brady was aware of the efforts to purposely deflate balls, but coach Bill Belichick was apparently not.
During the AFC Championship Game this year, officials found that a number of balls from the Patriots’ sidelines were inflated to well below NFL standards, leading to allegations that New England may have purposely deflated balls to create an unfair — and illegal — advantage.
Now, text messages between the team’s equipment assistant, John Jastremski, and the officials locker room attendant, Jim McNally, supposedly show evidence of these plans.
In the messages, the two appear to reference compensation that McNally receives from quarterback Tom Brady, and McNally refers to himself as “the deflator.”
From the Wells report (via CNNSE).
“In the weeks and months before the AFC Championship Game, McNally periodically exchanged text messages with the Patriots equipment assistant primarily responsible for the preparation of the Patriots game balls, John Jastremski. In a number of those text messages, McNally and Jastremski discussed the air pressure of Patriots game balls, Tom Brady’s unhappiness with the inflation level of Patriots game balls, Jastremski’s plan to provide McNally with a ‘needle’ for use by McNally, and McNally’s requests for ‘cash’ and sneakers together with the ‘needle’ to be provided by Jastremski. A sports ball inflation needle is a device that can be used to inflate a football (if attached to an air pump) or release air from a football (if inserted alone into a ball).”
The report shows that the New England Patriots were active in plans to deflate game balls. After a Thursday night game against the New York Jets, Tom Brady reportedly grew angry that the balls had too much air pressure.
“McNally: Tom sucks…im going make that next ball a f***** balloon
Jastremski: Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done…
Jastremski: I told him it was. He was right though…”
They again referenced deflating balls a few days later.
“McNally: Make sure you blow up the ball to look like a rugby ball so tom can get used to it before sunday
There had been rumors leading up to the NFL Draft that the New England Patriots were preparing for the release of the Wells report. The Patriots — including both coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady — have consistently denied deflating game balls.
Las Vegas is apparently gearing up for Tom Brady to be suspended. Several betting outlets have taken Patriots games off the board, including the AFC East and AFC Championship lines.
“Considering they were the third highest favorite to win the Super Bowl, the co-favorite for the AFC Conference, and an overwhelming favorite to win the AFC East, we are taking them down until we hear the official word on if Tom Brady gets suspended,” Bovada sports book manager Kevin Bradley said in a statement. “If Brady does get suspended, it will have a huge impact on all of these odds.”
If the New England Patriots Deflategate rumors are true, then the punishment could go further than Tom Brady being suspended — the team could also face stiff discipline from the league, which already brought down the hammer when the team was caught videotaping the opposing team’s sideline signals. The full Wells report can be seen here.
[Image via Getty Images/Elsa]