NFL Breaks Silence on Deflate-gate

24 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Buckley: Patriots essentially issued challenge to NFL.

Foxborough, Massachusetts: The NFL said on Friday it has interviewed dozens of people and collected physical evidence but has no conclusions yet on how the New England Patriots used underinflated balls in their last game, offering no timetable for resolving the cheating accusations with the Super Bowl nine days away. “I’m not worried about no balls,” the most gregarious of the Patriots joked on Friday. “Maybe Tom’s (Pats QB Brady) worried about balls, but I ain’t.” Nobody in New England seems that worried about footballs, even if the fallout from DeflateGate rages on around them at the Gillette Stadium compound.If you were expecting a nice sob scene during yesterday’s day/night explanation doubleheader at Gillette Stadium, laced with apologizes and pleas for mercy, then you had to be disappointed by the way things played out.

On Friday, the league finally broke its silence on the story that has taken over the league and threatens to overshadow the big game in eight days, saying that it is conducting an investigation into the 11 mysteriously deflated footballs from the AFC Championship Game, but gave no indication that it will have a resolution soon. “We take seriously claims that those rules have been violated and will fully investigate this matter without compromise or delay,” the statement said. “The investigation is ongoing, will be thorough and objective, and is being pursued expeditiously. . . . It issued a statement that the Patriots have pledged full cooperation and have given the league information it requested and made personnel available upon request.

In the coming days, we expect to conduct numerous additional interviews, examine video and other forensic evidence, as well as relevant physical evidence.” As a result of Friday’s statement, it certainly appears that Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the Patriots will likely face no punishment before next Sunday’s game. The statement also leaves the NFL wiggle room to say the balls were accidentally deflated, which would instantly raise questions about Goodell’s ability to oversee an impartial investigation, and whether he should recuse himself from any punishment that might be handed down. On Thursday, before he had spoken with the press, Brady had met with his team, and former Jet cornerback Darrelle Revis said the quarterback had made it clear that he had done nothing wrong. “He stood up and spoke and just said, ‘You know man, this is a distraction and we just need to keep focus as a team,’ ” said Revis. “That’s something he wouldn’t do.

Goodell and Patriots owner Robert Kraft have a close relationship, and fans of, say, the Jets, have complained for years that Belichick and the Pats should have been more severely punished for SpyGate, when New England was busted for videotaping Gang Green’s defensive signals in 2007. He wouldn’t break any rules.” “I think this team understands we’ve got a leader that we never question,” McCourty said. “There’s never any doubt no matter what the situation is, whether it be on the field or off the field. The opening game of the day/night doubleheader began at a little after 9:30 yesterday morning, with Belichick stating over and over, and in no uncertain terms, that he has no idea what happens with a football before the game starts.

Also, in 2012 Kraft pushed for Goodell’s massive contract renewal, which runs through March of 2019 and has been reported to be worth about $44 million a year. Says Teri Thompson, the managing editor of sports for the New York Daily News and an award-winning investigative reporter, “It can be a noun or a verb. Then again, a win at University of Phoenix Stadium will tie Tom Brady with the likes of two more Hall of Famers, Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw, for Super victories.

Goodell has already been under fire for his unilateral handling of player discipline issues, with many calling for his ouster following the Ray Rice case earlier this season. And that’s the only way I have ever thought about that. “Tom’s personal preferences . . . on his footballs is something that he can talk about in much better detail and information than I could possibly provide,” said the coach. The NFL Players Association filed a grievance Thursday, arguing that the NFL’s unilaterally implemented personal conduct policy is an issue for collective bargaining. As soon as Belichick finished talking, the Patriots announced that Brady, who had been scheduled to speak with the media today, would instead do his session later in the afternoon. It said guard John Jerry and Centre Mike Pouncey followed Richie Incognito’s lead in harassing offensive lineman Jonathan Martin. “We have not made any judgements on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence,” the league said. “Everything, I’m sure is going to come out in the investigation,” he said when asked if the Colts alerted the NFL to the underinflated balls. “It’s in the league’s hands.” “This isn’t a big deal.

I think that should be the focus and the topic, so that’s what I want to talk about today.” The same could be said of his Patriot teammates on Friday. Everyone does it because each quarterback likes a different grip,” Nader Kawash, a Philadelphia Eagles ball boy from 1996-2000, told The AP. “I’m not saying a ball boy or equipment guy did anything on purpose to cheat.

Initially, Thompson’s group came up with “GREAT BALLS OF LIAR” following the Brady news conference, but it was ultimately rejected. “We thought, well, you don’t want to condemn him [Brady] as a liar because we are not sure about that based on our reporting and the reporting out there,” Thompson says. “So our sports editor Bill Price, who is a terrific headline writer, a great back page guy, went to work on other possibilities and designs for the page. Asked what he made of the whole controversy, which led to NFL investigators spending three days questioning players and team personnel in Foxborough, veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork answered quickly. “Nothing,” he said, acting sick of the questions. “Here we are with the biggest game of our career, and that’s what it’s about. Everyone will throw out something from the desk, and that includes the editors, the layout people, the copy editors, the website editors, any number of people. Yes, Belichick earned his stripes as a defensive mastermind, but ever since Brady matured into a dominant passer, New England has been an offensive team. You know it when you hear it.” Given the Patriots’ press conferences were easily the biggest sports story of Thursday, the Daily News completed its back page by about 8:00 p.m.

Anybody can do it.” “I didn’t alter the ball in any way,” said Brady, who said he likes footballs pumped to exactly 12 1/2 pounds per square inch, the lower limit. “I have no knowledge of anything, any wrongdoing.” Softer balls are generally considered easier to throw and catch, and quarterbacks, specialists and equipment managers are known to have very individualised preferences in how footballs are readied for games. Among those interviewed by the league already have been “Patriots personnel, game officials and third parties with relevant information and expertise,” according to the statement. They haven’t had a true stud pass rusher or a star defensive back (until signing Darrelle Revis this season), and they’ve also had some unfortunate injuries, particularly to linebacker Jerod Mayo.

Belichick has been willing to make do with inconsistent running backs or retreads, and he also has soured on some of them, especially if they can’t hold onto the football. The sports department often collaborates with the front page editors if they are going with sports on the front. “In our afternoon meeting, if they hear a headline that they think is appropriate with the front, they will take it and then we have to come up with a different one,” Thompson says. “The front page takes precedence.” The Boston Herald has also been on its game.

So it’s one of those clever Patriots double passes: From Belichick to Brady to the collective laps of the National Football League’s crack investigative team. Yet opponents have found in the playoffs that they rarely will be beaten by the Patriots’ run game, so they have loaded up on the pass rush, on coverage, and on making Brady uncomfortable. Vaccaro is one of the writers who often has to deal in-person with the subject of one of the Post’s razor-cutting headlines. “I think all of us know the rules of engagement the day we sign on to the Post,” he says. “We’re loud and we lead with our chin (in our case, the back page), and honestly, that’s a large part of the fun, from where I sit.” That changed altogether in the 2008 Super Bowl, when the Giants unleashed monstrous pressure on Brady, didn’t make mistakes on either side of the ball, and shattered the Patriots’ chase of perfection. Still, should they lose, lots of people could wind up judging the Patriots more on what has happened in the past decade than what occurred in those glorious early seasons of Brady/Belichick.

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