NFL finds Patriots deflated balls and Tom Brady was 'at least generally aware'

Tom Brady Bill Belichick PatriotsLiynne Sladky/APTom Brady and Bill Belichick.

The NFL’s investigation into accusations that the New England Patriots used deflated footballs during the AFC Championship game has concluded and lead investigator Ted Wells has issued his report to the NFL.

According to the report, evidence shows that it is most likely that the Patriots intentionally broke NFL rules and deflated the footballs used in the game.

“Based on the evidence developed in connection with the investigation and summarized in this Report, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the NFL Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate attempt to circumvent those rules”

In particular, the league points the finger directly at locker room attendant Jim McNally and John Jastremski, an equipment assistant while at the same time implication Tom Brady as to at least having knowledge of the rules being broken.

“In particular, we conclude that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally and John Jastremski participated in a deliberate plan to circumvent the rules by releasing air from Patriots game balls after the examination of the footballs by NFL game officials at the AFC Championship Game. We believe that McNally and Jastremski were aware that the inflation level of the Patriots game balls following pre-game inspection by the game officials would be approximately 12.5 psi and planned for McNally to deflate the balls below that level following the pre-game inspection using a needle provided by Jastremski. Based on the evidence, we also have concluded 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.”

According to the report, in one particularly damning text message exchange between McNally and Jastremski, McNally refers to himself as “the deflator.”

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

Later, the two exchanged texts indicating that Brady had complained about the condition of the footballs during a late-regular season game against the New York Jets. Following that game, Jastremski sent a text messages to McNally stating that he “can’t wait to give you your needle this week” and “I have a big needle for u this week,” presumably referencing a needle to deflate the footballs.

Jastremski called the text messages “joking around.”

No discipline has been handed down yet. Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement saying the league will now “consider what steps to take in light of the report, both with respect to possible disciplinary action and to any changes in protocols that are necessary to avoid future incidents of this type.”

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