Remember the DeflateGate controversy? Of course ou do, it was easily one of the biggest scandals in NFL history that resulted in Tom Brady being suspended.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio is now shedding some light on that incident when he shared some findings from his new book, “Playmakers,” on Sunday night.
Two pieces of information were recently shared: who was responsible for the tweet by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen claiming that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs were two pound per square inch (PSI) below the league’s air pressure range (12.5-13.5), and how the NFL handled measurements conducted during the 2015 season.
“So who was his source? Per a source with knowledge of the situation and as explained in Playmakers, the source for the notorious 11-of-12 footballs report was NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent.
It makes sense. It needed to be someone sufficiently high on the organizational chart to make it credible, and to prompt Mortensen to use it, despite the fact that (unbeknownst to Mortensen) it wasn’t true. It’s unclear whether Vincent deliberately lied to Mortensen. Things were muddled and hazy and confusing in the early days of the scandal.”
According to Florio, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash ordered that the records of all of the PSI data gathered from “random” games around the league during the 2015 season to be destroyed.
“The NFL expunged the numbers,” Florio wrote. “It happened at the direct order, per the source, of NFL general counsel Jeff Pash.”
As you may remember, it was the visiting Indianapolis Colts who had alerted the league about a rumor originating with the Baltimore Ravens that New England would tamper with the footballs. The league then tried to catch the Patriots in the act and measured the footballs at the half.
New England’s balls were measured first, and only one of the twelve was more than 2 PSI below the threshold.
“Why would the league delete the numbers? It’s simple. For cold days, the numbers were too close to the actual numbers generated by the New England footballs at halftime of the playoff game against the Colts. Which means that the numbers generated at halftime of the January 2015 AFC Championship were not evidence of cheating, but of the normal operation of air pressure inside a rubber bladder when the temperature drops. Just as it was expected.”
The entire thing would eventually cost the Patriots two draft picks — a first- and a fourth-rounder — and led to the NFL suspending Tom Brady for four games.
Tom Brady served his time, came back and the Patriots won the Super Bowl anyway.