In the wee hours of January 19th, just hours after the AFC Championship game, an Indianapolis beat writer by the name of Bob Kravitz broke the biggest story of his career. This story, which would become known as “deflategate”, set both the sports and mainstream media world into a frenzy.
This, I believe, is the missing key to “deflategate”.
Why, you may ask? Well, perhaps if a respected reporter known for his NFL sources broke this story, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. But this wasn’t a respected NFL reporter with inside sources. This was an Indianapolis sports writer who was pretty much unknown to most outside of the Indianapolis fan base.
Why was Kravitz the one contacted first and by whom?
I find it hard to believe that an NFL employee would go to Kravitz with this information before going to someone such as Chris Mortenson. Why break one of the biggest stories of a NFL investigation to an Indianapolis beat writer?
The obvious answer is that someone from the Colts organization tipped off their hometown journalist.
Why does this matter? This all took place at Gillette stadium, home of the Patriots. How did the Colts know about the investigation before the Patriots? This alone should send up a red flag, but it gets even more curious.
On Feburary 19th, Ryan Grigson, the GM of the Colts told the media the following, “Earlier in that week, prior to the AFC Championship Game, we told the league about our concerns. We went into the game, we had some issues.”
I’m not sure who Grigson is referring to when he says “we” because it seems the Colts’ head coach, Chuck Pagano, found out about the whole deflated football issue the same time the Patriots did. “To be honest, I had no idea until after they started talking about it a day later.”
If the head coach of the Colts had no idea about deflated footballs, then it’s safe to say the NFL didn’t officially go to the Colts to inform them that an investigation was being conducted. Why should they? That would be a conflict of interest. The NFL represents 32 teams. They cannot favor one team over the other. Nor should they leak information to one team without informing the other.
The only theory that makes sense is that Grigson was the one who tipped off Bob Kravitz, who then broke the story…first.
But who told Grigson about the investigation?
My guess would be Mike Kensil…the key player in this whole “deflategate” controversy. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reminded his readers of the following in his Febuary 2oth article, “NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent has said that Grigson contacted V.P. of game operations Mike Kensil during the AFC championship, after a football that had been intercepted by linebacker D’Qwell Jackson allegedly seemed to be underinflated.” This information didn’t come from an anonymous source. This came from and NFL executive.
Yet, Pagano had no idea, and D’Qwell Jackson made it clear he didn’t notice anything strange about the football he intercepted.
If Pagano and Jackson didn’t have an issue or knowledge of deflated footballs, then what sparked “deflategate”?
Here is my theory: Kensil and Grigson were prepared for “deflategate” before the AFC Championship game. Both were ready to find evidence, and when Grigson had his chance, he wasted no time in alerting Mike Kensil, a man who seems to have, as Tom E. Curran puts it, “a hard on for the Patriots”.
On January 26th, the ‘tongue-in-cheek’ Barstool Sports Boston was the first to publish a theory that has become more well known among sports journalists. This theory stars Mike Kensil, the VP of game operations who happened to be at the AFC Championship game where “deflategate” all started. This writer, David Portnoy, believes that Kensil (a former president of the Jets who supposedly holds a grudge against Belichick and the Patriots) was the mastermind behind the whole “deflategate” scandal. He also believed Kensil was the one who tipped off Kravitz, but after speaking (if you can call it that) with Kravitz during Super Bowl week, he now believes Kravitz’s source is Ryan Grigson.
Do you know where Grigson worked before he took on the position of General Manager for the Colts? He worked for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004-2005 when they faced the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX….and lost by a mere 3 points. On Jan 19th, the day “deflategate” broke out, a Philadelphia Eagles reporter, Brandon Lee Gowton made it clear that “Philadelphia Eagles players, past and present, haven’t been shy to show their disdain for New England. Several players have outright called the Patriots cheaters.”
Is it ridiculous that someone could still be thinking about a game that happened ten years ago and not move on from it? Tell that to Mike Martz or Kurt Warner who lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI. Tell it to former Carolina Panthers GM, Marty Hurney who lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII. They still wonder if the Patriots won those games fair and square. And for some, it still hurts.
Some don’t just wonder if they were cheated. Some actually believe without a doubt the Patriots cheated them out of a Super Bowl win.
On Jan 30th, 2014 (a year before deflategate) Chris Yuscavage posted an online article that quotes former defensive tackle Hollis Thomas:
“We got cheated!” he said. “It’s not sour grapes. We got cheated…I don’t bring it up. But when I’m asked about that Super Bowl, I give my opinion. I played in that game and we kicked their ass in the first half, and if the game was played on the up-and-up, we would have kicked their ass the whole game…In those days, the linebackers didn’t have a microphone in the helmet. Our defensive signals were pretty basic and came in from the sidelines. New England had a guy filming those signals and then matching them up with the defensive formations on that play. Halftime, they broke it down, and in the second half, they called plays based on knowing whether we were gonna blitz or not.”
You can read that article here.
If Thomas can feel that passionate about losing one of the biggest games of his NFL career nine years later, would it be ridiculous to think that perhaps Ryan Grigson holds his own grudge against the New England Patriots?
It seems Kensil and Grigson have something in common. They don’t like the Patriots.
If you want a deeper inside look into Kensil’s issue with the Patriots and a more professional investigative report as to why Kensil is most likely one of the source leaks in the NFL, I would follow Tom E. Curran from CSN. His latest article regarding Kelly Naqi’s report is more than intriguing.
You can read that article here.
Kensil and Grigson have been in football a long time. I’m sure they both knew the Colts would most likely lose this AFC game. It’s been a blowout win the last three games between the Colts and the Patriots. The Colts weren’t ready to face the Seattle Seahawks for the Super Bowl, but the Patriots had a good chance. They were a more even match up, and I’m sure Kensil and Grigson would be damned if they allowed the Patriots to win a historic forth without tainting it first.
Even if by a slim chance the Colts won, or even worse, the Colts lost by a field goal or a touchdown, it would’ve still been a win/win situation for Kensil and Grigson. Could you imagine the public rage and outcry if the Colts lost by a few points when “deflategate” came on the scene?
But that didn’t happen. Instead Kensil and Grigson would do everything in their power to smear the Patriots’ legacy, regardless if they won the Super Bowl or not. They were doing a pretty good job the first week heading into the Super Bowl.
But now the plan, if it was their little scheme, has back fired.
Grigson is reacting to the new conspiracy theory that the Colts were behind all this. This new theory came into play after Ian Rappaport revealed that Mortensen’s original report (from an NFL source) that 11 of 12 footballs were all 2 PSI under regulation was wrong.
Only one ball was 2 PSI under. The ball that most believe started the whole chain of events when D’Qwell Jackson intercepted it. There was talk that maybe the Colts deflated that ball and turned it in to the NFL and the reason Kensil and his crew checked the balls at half time.
But we now know that wasn’t the case. We heard it straight from the horse’s mouth. Grigson alerted the NFL before that AFC game. He was prepared to give/find “evidence” before the game even started. He was on the look out, as was Mr. Kensil.
Even if we take out the theories and bring all this down to the facts, there are more questions than there are answers. We are merely scratching the surface of the NFL shield and what it truly represents. The way everything has been handled by the NFL thus far, openly and possibly behind the scenes, integrity would be the last word I would use to describe the NFL who are responsible for representing all 32 teams, equally and justly.
Perhaps the owners should get together and hire their own investigators and crack open what really goes on behind the NFL shield.