NFL Ends Silence on Underinflated Footballs to Say It Is Investigating

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.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.

The National Football League broke its silence on the Patriots’ “Deflategate” controversy Friday, confirming that the game balls supplied by the Patriots last Sunday did not comply with the rules and disclosing that the league has interviewed 40 people as part of its investigation. 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. Separately, an NFL source with direct knowledge of the situation told the Globe that a referee inspected the balls before the Patriots AFC Championship game with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday and all the balls were in compliance. Meet the player Richard Sherman describes as the “lion” who leads the Seattle defense’s “pack of wild dogs.” The Seahawks cornerback smiled this week when asked about what will happen when safety Kam Chancellor and Gronk collide. “I don’t know, I’ll be sitting there with popcorn,” Sherman said, pretending to shovel popcorn into his mouth. “It will be good football, though.” That’s Seattle’s pre-Super Bowl message.

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. 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.

The investigation is ongoing, will be thorough and objective, and is being pursued expeditiously.” In its press release, the NFL confirmed that the balls had not complied with Playing Rule 2, Section 1, which states that game balls must be inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch. 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.

He said he was “shocked to learn of the news report of the footballs” and that he had “no knowledge whatsoever of this situation until Monday morning.” “I can tell you that in my entire coaching career I have never talked to any player, staff member, about football air pressure,” he said. “That is not a subject I have ever brought up.” The all-facets-of-the-game coach also said “the footballs are approved by the league and game officials . . . and we play with what’s out there . . . The NFL has been reviewing the incident since Monday, when it sent a letter to the Patriots, but has not yet placed any blame on the team for intentionally violating the rule. 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.

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.

The league also has retained Renaissance Associates, an investigatory firm with forensic expertise, to assist in reviewing electronic and video information. 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. 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. Meanwhile, our players, coaches, and staff will continue to focus on our preparations for Super Bowl XLIX and the many challenges we face as we prepare for the Seattle Seahawks.” The investigation also included the officiating crew, led by referee Walt Anderson. Jeff Pash, the NFL’s executive vice president, and Ted Wells, who led the NFL investigation into the Dolphins’ 2013 bullying controversy that dragged on for months and resulted in no punishment for Richie Incognito and the other alleged instigators, are heading up the investigation into the Patriots that began “promptly on Sunday night,” according to the league.

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. That’s definitely an issue from watching tape so far.” Lane later qualified his comments by saying he simply doesn’t consider Gronkowski to be the NFL’s best tight end. There’s a lot of talk about the “Seahawks personality” — a phrase receiver Doug Baldwin used this week — in contrast to the corporate, heavy “Patriot Way.” The Seahawks version carries the kind of attitude chip that might have been found on the 2001 Patriots. 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.

Once the footballs were approved for game use, they remained in the officials’ locker room until about 10 minutes prior to kickoff, at which point the officials handed the footballs for game use to the ball boys on each team. They are a great example of perseverance for the rest of the league. “I hear that all the time,” Baldwin said of this new Seahawks identity, and how others have responded to it. “I got a tweet from Andrew Hawkins in Cleveland talking about that.

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. 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.” They know what it’s like on the inside. “The advantage is that you always have something to fall back on in terms of motivation — finding something really deep inside,” he said. “It’s built up frustration, whatever gives you motivation. The league source said the officials had spotted a specialized ball used during kickoffs at the line of scrimmage, and it took them extra time to find an acceptable Patriots ball to use.

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