Wednesday, February 18, 2015

ESPN's latest Patriots ball controversy story is a joke (unless they find out a LOT more information)

This has been the lead story on since last night:

Here's what they are implying:

There's new evidence that a guy who works for the Patriots attempted to sneak one of their under-inflated "cheater" balls into the AFC title game.

Here's what they actually discovered:

During the first half, a guy named Jim McNally handed a special teams football meant for kickers (which are OVER-inflated) to "alternate official" Greg Yette that did not have the proper "approved for use" marking on it.

This quote best sums up the meat of the story:
"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."
Exactly.  What would the motivation be?

They way this is being reported on SportsCenter (and on the website, screenshots above and to the right) you'd think "Outside the Lines" just uncovered proof of the following:

The Patriots deflated balls to make it easier for Tom Brady to throw, they also illegally doctored others in some way to improve Stephen Gostkowski's kicking, and this McNally guy is the villain in charge of the whole process.

I guess that is theoretically possible (although who knows about the kicking thing, we haven't seen any science on that yet), but all ESPN really found out is that at some point a guy handed an incorrect (non-deflated) ball to a referee.


ESPN's Adam Schefter said the following on "Outside the Lines" today, which basically goes against everything above:



ESPN revised their story to say that the ball McNally gave to Yette was first handed to him by an "NFL employee" to replace a missing ball.  The details of their new story (which doesn't have an author credited, by the way) contradict everything they implied in the original story--although somehow they never mention that.

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