DeflateGate Update: Pats Attendant Tried Using Unapproved Ball in AFC Championship
Just when you thought it was over, we have another DeflateGate update.
According to ESPN, a Patriots locker-room attendant tried to insert an unapproved special teams ball into January’s AFC Championship Game between the Pats and the Indianapolis Colts. The culprit is said to be 48-year-old Jim McNally (highlighted in the image above), who has worked with the Patriots for over a decade, and has been in charge of the officials’ locker room at Gillette Stadium for at least seven of those years.
As the report states, McNally tried to hand alternate official Greg Yette a special teams ball, but Yette became suspicious when he noticed that the ball being handed to him did not have a “K” marked on it—which is what referee Walt Anderson would place on each of the special teams balls after he has given them his approval upon inspection prior to the game. Yette also found it strange that McNally was handing him a ball in the first place, seeing as how the officials’ locker-room attendants don’t usually have such responsibilities.
These two red flags forced Yette to bring McNally’s actions to the attention of the NFL’s vice president of game operations, Mike Kensil. That caused Kensil to go down to the officials’ locker room during halftime to personally check the inflation levels of the footballs, and that’s when it was discovered that 11 of the Patriots’ 12 footballs being used by their offense were under-inflated by “1 to 2 pounds” each.
That’s about all we know at the moment. It is not known when McNally attempted to introduce the unapproved ball into the AFC Championship Game, or why he wanted a specific special teams ball to be used. What we can tell you is that McNally has been interviewed as part of the Ted Wells investigation into DeflateGate.
If we find out any new information, we’ll be sure to let you know.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]