It’s one thing to set up a sting to catch someone in the act of a crime, but it’s a whole different ball game when an official plants evidence in order to justify an investigation. It doesn’t matter if the official believes the suspect is guilty, planting evidence is a crime. In fact in the real world, it’s a felony.
After reading the Wells report, most took it at face value that it was the Colts’ interception that sparked a half time inspection of the Patriots footballs. This isn’t the case. It isn’t far fetched to suspect that Mike Kensil knew he was going to inspect the Patriots footballs before the AFC Championship game started. He could accomplish this feat by planting evidence of an illegal football known as the K-ball, or kicking ball.
This would be the justification needed to inspect all the footballs at half time.
Before you laugh off this claim, take a look at the facts below of what happened prior to, during, and after the night of the January 18th AFCCG. All of which led to the conclusion that it is more probable than not that Mike Kensil knowingly pre-meditated and acted out a plan to frame the Patriots.
All sources are either cited with specific page numbers of the Wells report or linked to a relevant article. All links are underlined and highlighted in blue.
The Facts vs. the Lies
How the plan started:
Fact: Ryan Grigson forwards an email from his equipment manager to Mike Kensil and David Gardi stating the following: “As far as the gameballs are concerned it is well known around the league that after the Patriots gameballs are checked by the officials and brought out for game usage the ballboys for the Patriots will let out some air with a ball needle because their quarterback likes a smaller football so he can grip it better, it would be great if someone would be able to check the air in the game balls as the game goes on so that they don’t get an illegal advantage…all the Indianapolis Colts want is a completely level playing field. Thank you for being vigilant stewards of that not only for us but for the shield and overall integrity of our game.”
The Lie: When asked about the Patriots deflating footballs, Chuck Pagano stated during the NFL Combine that “To be honest, I had no idea until after they started talking about it a day later.”
Interesting that an equipment manager would go to his GM about an issue that he felt may effect the outcome of a game and not his head coach. Only two things are possible, Pagano flat out lied, and if he did what is he hiding? Or he is telling the truth and Sean Sullivan, the Colts equipment manager, schemed with Grigson behind Pagano’s back.
Another Lie: According to the Wells report on page 44, Ryan Grigson alerted through email on January 17th, one day before the AFCCG of his concerns. However he is quoted during the NFL Combine (two months before the Wells report came out): “Listen, you know, earlier in that week, prior to the AFC Championship Game, we notified the league about our concerns.”
He didn’t say the day before the game he notified the league. He said “earlier in that week”. Why is this important? It tells me that the day before the game wasn’t the first time the league heard about the Colt’s issue and concern that week.
Did Kensil advise Grigson to send a formal email of his concerns? Did he advise Grigson to have his equipment manger ask for the Patriots footballs to be inspected during the game…which by the way has never been done in the history of the NFL? Were Grigson and Kensil engaged in any phone conversations between January 10th-January 17th prior to sending the email in question?
Unfortunately, we’ll never know the truth because despite the Patriots asking for the matter to be looked into while the “independent” investigation was going on, this wasn’t investigated by Wells, nor were Grigson and Kensil asked to turn over their phones or their phone call records.
How the plan was executed:
Fact: No team’s footballs have ever been measured during half time in any NFL game prior to the AFCCG.
Fact: The Wells report page 46 footnote 26 states that because there was no factual support on the Colts claim that the Patriots deflate footballs, they did not plan to check the game balls during the game as Sullivan requested in the email Grigson forwarded to Kensil. In fact “They reported during interviews that, without additional specific information that might raise further concern, they believed that the referee’s standard pre–game inspection of the game balls would be sufficient, and that a change in the standard inspection protocols was not necessary.“
Fact: Jim Daopoulos had been an NFL official for 11 years, an NFL official supervisor for 12 years and currently works for ESPN as an NFL rules analyst. He has gone on record saying that prior to the AFCCG, no officials or referees cared all that much about PSI. He is also quoted in this article that “Other teams talk about inflated footballs, under-inflated footballs, and it never comes to the forefront like this.” and that it was only an issue because it’s the Patriots and that “basically if a referee or an official doesn’t like the feel of the ball, he’s going to throw it out.”
Not inspect all the footballs during half-time.
Fact: According to the Wells report and texts between McNally and Jastremski (page 5), NFL officials have broken their own rule by illegally over-inflating footballs before the game. Thus proving Jim Daopoulos’ point that PSI was never a real concern for NFL officials.
The Lie: According to the Wells report pages 63-66, it took only one intercepted ball, that had been handled by the Colts (and measured by the Colts staff on the sidelines without an NFL official present by sticking a gauge into the ball, which in turn could also let air out of it) to spark a half time investigation of the Patriots’ footballs. This has never been done in the history of the NFL, yet Kensil took the word of Grigson and the opposing team who handled the ball. Apparently the former statements that because there was no proof the Patriots regularly deflate balls, they could not justify inspecting the balls during the game and therefore were going to go through the normal procedure, is a flat out lie. There was nothing normal about the procedure.
If it were normal, then why would the Wells report on page 65, footnote 36 say: “It should be noted that we have not relied upon the air pressure measurements of the intercepted ball in any respect in reaching any conclusions set forth in this Report.”
Why? Because if they had it would be a serious conflict of interest since the opposing team measured and handled the football before turning it over to officials.
Fact: The Patriots were exonerated from the kicking ball situation in which an illegal ball was introduced during the game.
Fact: The interception happened at 7:47 during the second quarter (page 63 of the Wells report). The kicking ball incident happened before the interception.
Fact: Miller, the official who has stolen NFL memorabilia from charity for his own person profit (Wells report page 138 footnote 78), was in charge of the kicking ball that was removed after kickoff. Patriots kicker, Gostkowski, wanted it back because it was prepared the way he liked it. Kensil agreed that he should get it back and instructed Miller to give the ball back. Another official grabbed the ball from Miller, and tossed it to Jim McNally, who then in turn gave it to the kicking ball coordinator who then refused it because it didn’t have Walt Anderson’s initials. Remember, this ball supposedly was already put into play at kick off. You can read about these events on page 135-138 of the Wells Report.
The Frame: Since balls have never been inspected during a game in the history of the NFL, Mike Kensil knew he needed another way to justify the measuring of game footballs during halftime. I find it very convenient that a corrupt official was the one who gave back the alleged kicking ball that was unauthorized. In fact, on page 139, Gostkowski believed “100%” that the K-ball #1 was returned into play. But it wasn’t according to officials. They didn’t allow that ball to be put into play and Kensil was alerted of the issue.
It should be mentioned that this K-ball #1 was handled by numerous officials and none could recall whether or not they saw Walt Anderson’s approved signature. Even Anderson himself cannot remember if he signed it.
I also find it strange that Mike Kensil was the only one who could find and get in touch with Miller when officials were trying to get the kicking ball back to the Patriots. It was Kensil who ordered Miller to bring the ball down.
In February, long before the Wells report came out, another leak from a league source talked to ESPN’s Kelly Naqi and told her that Jim McNally tried to introduce an unapproved k-ball into the game. Her sources also tell her that “A source told ‘Outside the Lines’ that Kensil decided to personally go down to the officials’ locker room at halftime of the Patriots-Colts game to check the game balls, in part because of the suspicions McNally’s actions raised.”
This leak obviously didn’t come from the Patriots. Conveniently, Kelly Naqi, the reporter who broke the story on ‘Outside the Lines’, is married to Hussain Naqi, a former NFL league employee who is reported to still have close ties with the league, including Mike Kensil.
This shows a possible pre-meditation of a sting and set up to not only give reason to inspect Patriots footballs during halftime, but actions by Kensil and NFL official Miller (and possibly other officials) to frame the Patriots by giving them an illegal ball to be put into play.
How the plan was cemented into place:
Fact: Bob Kravitz, an Indianapolis beat writer was the first to break the story that the NFL was investigating the Patriots for deflated footballs the night of the AFC Championship Game.
Fact: Goodell went on record stating he didn’t know anything about this ball deflation issue until after the game. You can find that quote in a Q&A session here. Therefore Kensil did not inform Goodell of any concerns prior to or during the AFCCG or Goodell flat out lied.
Fact: ESPN’s Chris Mortensen confirmed the story by tweeting a false and misleading report that the “NFL has found that 11 of the Patriots footballs used in Sunday’s AFC title game were under-inflated by 2 lbs each, per league sources.” Thus starting the media fire storm and scandal known as “deflategate”.
Fact: ESPN has a multi-billion dollar contract with the NFL.
Fact: Dean Blandino, head of officiating lied to the public. He went on record in a press conference stating that he, nor the officials had any knowledge of the Patriots deflating balls until a football came into question during the game. In a Boston Globe article published on January 30th, 2015,
“Some reports suggested the Colts became aware of a deflation problem in their Nov. 16 matchup against the Patriots, and warned the NFL ahead of time to catch the Patriots in the act in the AFC Championship.
Blandino said that simply isn’t true.
‘I was not personally aware of any issue after that [Nov. 16] game,’ Blandino said. ‘I don’t know where that came from.'”
The Wells report clearly states (pg. 44) that Ryan Grigson, the GM of the Colts, forwarded an email to Mike Kensil and David Gardi expressing his concern of the Patriots deflating footballs. Kensil then forwarded the email to Dean Blandino and Alberto Riveron. Blandino and Riveron then decided to alert Walt Anderson.
Blandino lied and misrepresented the story to the public. He simply could have said, “Due to an on-going investigation, I can’t address the issue at this time.” But he didn’t.
Fact: Multiple misleading and false leaks that only those directly involved in the investigation could know were released to select media from January 20th-until the Wells report came out.
Fact: The Patriots begged and demanded to have false leaks corrected with actual facts and for the league to investigate the matter. The NFL would not comply.
Fact: NFL employees must follow strict guidelines that if violated can result in termination of employment. You can view this here on page 4 of the NFL Compliance Plan. This includes confidentiality (disclosing information outside the NFL, that is not meant for the public, such as leaks of an investigation), keeping accurate and complete records, and fraud which Goodell defined as “…any knowing misconception, or misrepresentation, of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act in his or her detriment or to deceive a party, including the NFL.”
The Frame: Anyone with common sense can figure out who leaked the information to an Indianapolis beat writer. Yes, Ryan Grigson. As for the Mortensen leak that started the whole “deflategate” mess, the finger is pointing in the direction of Mike Kensil.
If Kensil didn’t have an agenda to take down the Patriots, then why the false leaks? Why not correct the situation? Why take the word of an opposing team in a championship game and do something that has never been done in the history of the NFL…investigate footballs during a game?
It makes one wonder if “deflategate” would’ve ever been a story if Chris Mortensen was given the real information:
“The Colts intercepted ball was measured by a Colts staff member without an NFL official present and Mike Kensil decided to inspect the footballs during half time based on the Colts word alone. They used two gauges, both of which gave very different results. In fact, 3 of the 4 Colts balls that they had time to measure fell below the legal 12.5 on one of the gauges. The Patriots balls, which were all measured, had different readings of about 1 PSI or less under. The strange part is the official lost 2 large bags of footballs just before the game and never decided to measure them then, or replace them with the back up balls that were still in his possession. The Colts GM had warned them prior to the AFC game that the Patriots tamper with balls, but they decided to let the game go on anyway. And don’t get me started on the K-ball incident, that was just a complete and utter mess by NFL officials. That about sums it up.”
But it didn’t happen like that. Unfortunately, a league that has pledged equality to a full 32 teams, has leaked false information and refused to correct false information with facts. Thus allowing one of their 32 to be dragged through the mud.
I wonder if Kensil or Goodell even understand the meaning of the word.