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Former NFL Linesman Mark Baltz Says He Reported Jim “The Deflator” McNally to the NFL Years Ago
Deflategate is like a character from Game of Thrones. You may think it’s dead, but you can never really be 100% sure.
So what’s bringing Deflategate back from the dead now? Some inflammatory new accusations from former NFL linesman Mark Baltz pertaining to recently reinstated Patriots locker room attendant Jim “The Delfator” McNally.
In an interview with Bob Kravitz of WTHR.com last week, Baltz said he “reported” McNally to the NFL “six or eight years ago.”
Check out his claims:
He always asked for the footballs way, way before he was supposed to get them. If he could get them 10 or 15 minutes before he was supposed to get them, instead of the usual two minutes before the game—and there were some crews that let him do that—he would do it. I wouldn’t let him take them early, and I think he eventually figured that out because he stopped asking after a while. I probably did 10 to 15 games up there [in Foxborough] and those first few times, he’d always ask. I always thought it was very suspicious. He certainly acted in a suspicious manner.
For an officials’ locker room attendant, I always thought he was an unusual dude. Most locker room guys, they sit there and if you need something, they got it for you. When you left the locker room, you’d lock the door and they’d stay right there. The other 31 teams, that’s what they would do. That was his job. But McNally, he was running all around like a chicken with his head cut off. Asking for the balls early.
What I specifically reported him for several years ago, and I thought this was really unusual, he’d run out on the field with the footballs before the game and the next thing you know, he’s playing pitch-and-catch with Brady. Then, next thing, he’s on the sidelines right next to Belichick, like he’s a f***ing assistant coach or something.
I think McNally did his homework and knew which crews he was dealing with and which crews he could get over on. ‘Are the footballs ready yet? Are the footballs ready.’ I’d tell him, ‘Yeah, they’re ready, but when we got out on the field, you can have them.’ Obviously, there were a lot of times when he’s gotten them early and had the time to let some air out of the ball, or whatever he was doing with them.
If this is true, it’s bad news for the NFL. However, that’s a pretty big if. There are a couple of red flags.
First off, where was Baltz when Ted Wells was interviewing people? Where was he during the Tom Brady appeal hearing? To be sure, Baltz mentioned in an Outside the Lines report back in February that he found McNally’s behavior was suspicious. And there may be a perfectly good reason why Baltz didn’t make a bigger stink about it earlier. But if so, I’d like to know what it is.
Second, there’s reason to question Baltz’s recollection of events. He said in the interview that he’d worked 10 or 15 games in Foxborough over the years. However, according to Pro Football Reference, he only worked six games there. Ever. And that’s a lot less than 10 or 15.
Do these red flags mean Baltz is lying, and that he didn’t report McNally to the league? No. They’re just things to keep in mind before using his testimony against McNally and the NFL in the court of public opinion.
Hat Tip – [PFT]