Series: 56 Lies The NFL Told During Deflategate

A major source of frustration for me has been the national media’s refusal criticize the NFL for their handling of deflategate and burying their head in the sand over the corruption of the owners, and the criminal thievery of the Patriots first round pick next month. Because it is the Patriots, no one cares if they get screwed over.

The New York Times bit this week on concussions, and the NFL’s instant reaction to it has just pointed out once again how evil and corrupt they are. The very same lawyers going after Tom Brady are demanding a retraction on the Times story because:

You really cannot make this stuff up.

For the last few weeks I’ve been compiling up as many of the times that the NFL either outright lied, was shady or inconsistent during the deflategate piece. I’ve published the entire piece on Medium, but because it is nearly 4000 words, I’m going to break it up into chunks to post here, and will perhaps have additional content here as well.

Introduction, Plus Lies 1-5:

tldr: This is a rundown of the NFL’s lies and dishonesty during the deflategate scandal. The general public is not aware of many of these acts due to the complicity of the national media as a whole.

recent poll on the Deflategate debacle showed that just 16.3% of people believe Tom Brady and the Patriots, while 40.3% believe the NFL and its version of events.

Let that sink in.

Tom Brady has gone under oath and given sworn testimony as to his version of events.

From the very start of this saga, the National Football League, which embarrassingly attaches the word “integrity” to everything they do, have put out unabashed lie after lie during this case. The activity of the league, its Commissioner Roger Goodell, its officers and officials has been downright criminal.

The national media has been complicit in this sham, with broadcast partners ESPN, NFL Network, CBS, NBC and FOX all refusing to go after the league for the dishonesty with which it has conducted itself. Newspapers, with few individual exceptions, afraid of recrimination such as losing access to the most popular sport in America, also shy away from coming after the league.

This is a rundown of the documented instances in which the NFL either lied, made misleading statements or conflicted its own statements during the deflategate case.

The Two Weeks Following The Game

(1) The leak to Chris Mortensen, (and Peter King and Gerry Austin) saying:

NFL has found that 11 of the Patriots footballs used in Sunday’s AFC title game were under-inflated by 2lbs each, per league source.

This put the court of public opinion firmly against the Patriots. They never really recovered. To this day, Mortensen’s story remains online, only slight edited.

(2) Letter by NFL Official Dave Gardi to Patriots stating that none of the Patriots footballs were up to league required PSI levels, while ALL of the Colts footballs were. He also stated:

In fact, one of the game balls was inflated to 10.1 psi, far below the requirement of 12 1/2 to 13 1/2 psi.

This put the Patriots on the defensive. Now they had this official notice from the league, and Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were forced to try and explain something that hadn’t actually happened. Any hesitation on their part was viewed as evidence of guilt.

(3) Second leak to Mortensen that ALL of the Colts footballs measured up to specifications. On January 22nd, when asked on Twitter whether the Colts’ footballs had been measured, Mortensen answered: Yes, they were within regulation and remained within regulation.

This further cemented the idea that the Patriots had tampered with the footballs, since the Colts’ footballs didn’t change at all.

(4) Roger Goodell appoints NFL VP Jeff Pash and “Independent” investigator Ted Wells to the case. Later, Pash’s role is downplayed by the league, and Wells’ Independent status played up, yet neither was accurate. Wells, who had previously represented the NFL in court and had previously let an investigation in the Miami Dolphins, was hardly independent. The NFL refused to allow NFLPA lawyers to interview Pash, saying his role was minor, while also admitting he had “edited” the final Wells Report.

Gave the public a sense of legitimacy to the investigation by pledging they would be independent and objective. Even if they had no intention of being that.

(5) Dean Blandino is the NFL’s Head of Officiating. When asked prior to the Patriots/Seahawks Super Bowl about whether the NFL tried to run a “sting” against the Patriots, Blandino said:

The issue came up during the first half, as far as I know. There was an issue that was brought up during the first half, a football came into question, and then the decision was made to test them at halftime.

The Wells Report, page 45 states that the day before the game;

Kensil also forwarded Grigson’s email to Dean Blandino and Alberto Riveron, both senior members of the NFL Officiating Department, with the message “see below.” Both Riveron and Blandino decided that they would raise the issue with Walt Anderson, who had been assigned as the referee for the game.

This allowed the league to front the appearance that this was not some planned action on their part, but rather the Patriots being caught “red-handed” in the act of cheating.

More to come…

Robert Kraft’s Support For Goodell Continues To Anger

Yesterday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke at the NFL Owners meetings and revealed that he had sent a letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell requesting to have the Patriots draft picks restored.

That’s all well and good. A little passive for the masses, but at least it was something.

Then he had to say Putting personal situations aside, I think he’s done a very good job. He’s worked hard. The health of the league has not been better.

Ugh.

Kraft was highly criticized here in New England yesterday for that statement. Rightly so.

The Kansas City Chiefs are appealing their team punishment for tampering. Robert Kraft never appealed his team’s punishment. It’s a black mark on his otherwise outstanding ownership tenure of the New England Patriots. When his team needed him to take a stand and flex the muscles he’s supposedly earned as an influential owner, he decided to shrink back and not fight his “business partners” – who ironically, are all using this incident as an opportunity to stick it to his franchise for the success its had at their expense.

As a Patriots fan it is enraging.

I do hope the letter eventually finds its way to the Wells Report in Context site, so all can see the argument put forth to Goodell.

I’ve been working on a long-form piece on this whole case, which, along with work has really taken me away from here. I hope to have it done before the Federal Court reinstates the four game suspension on Tom Brady, but no promises.

In media news:

Evan Drellich joins Boston Herald to cover Red Sox – Coming back from Houston, where he had been covering the Astros, Drellich returns to the Red Sox beat. He had been at MassLive.com prior to going to Houston. Drellich replaces Scott Lauber, who moved to ESPN Boston to replace Gordon Edes who took a job with the Red Sox.

Tough day for microphones and recorders at Bill Belichick’s table – Aw, that’s too bad.

2016 Combine Snubs Who Showed ‘Em, Part I

Every year, hundreds of NFL draft hopefuls get invited to the league’s combine for testing and interviews. Every year, hundreds more are forced to show what they can do at their college pro days.

Every year, we keep track of the best pro day performances and compare them to what the combine invitees had to offer. (Here’s a link to last year’s Combine Snubs, Part II.) You can compare the numbers at the bottom of this column.

Thanks as always to scout Gil Brandt and his indispensable pro day page on NFL.com. Now, organized by position (somewhat), here are some pro day workouts of note for 2016.

OFFENSE

Time To Say Good Vi: If New England wants to add strength in the middle of their offensive line, they could take a look at Arizona State guard Vi Teofilo. The 6-3, 320-pounder put up 43 bench reps at ASU’s pro day, which would have been the top number at the combine this year by a wide margin. Coincidentally, the combine best of 34 was submitted by Teofilo’s line mate Christian Westerman. An All Pac-12 Honorable Mention his senior year, Teofilo started 40 straight games at right guard.

Trojan Man: Solid pro day for Troy running back Brandon Burks. Despite a pedestrian 4.56 40, the 5-9, 208-pounder ran a 6.88-second 3-cone that would have been the third-best time for combine running backs. Burk’s 4.18-second 20-yard shuttle would have been the second-fastest time for the position. His 24 bench press reps would have tied for fifth, though pound-for-pound he’d have been the strongest back. Burks led Troy with 1,005 yards rushing (5.0 avg) and seven touchdowns. He also caught 29 passes for 304 yards (10.5 avg) and two TDs.

And Miles To Go Before He Sleeps: For such a small guy, Northwestern receiver Miles Shuler made a big impression. Measuring just under 5-foot-10 and 173 pounds (smaller than some O-linemen’s buffet dinners), Shuler ran a 4.4-second 40 that would have placed in the top five for combine receivers; plus, his 4.1-second 20-yard dash would have made top four, and his 6.78-second 3-cone would have been in the top seven for pass-catchers. Shuler only caught 13 passes last year and ran the ball twice (for 30 yards). His main contributions came in the return game, where he averaged 23.3 yards per kick return and 10 yards per punt return.

Fun Fact: Shuler transferred to Northwestern after playing at Rutgers for two seasons. Scarlet Knight Alert!

Will The Wolf Survive? Time to check out a member of Los Lobos, i.e., New Mexico running back Jhurell Pressley (5-10, 206). Pressley’s best 40 time came in 4.38 seconds, which would have made top two for combine running backs, top eight overall. Pressley also managed a 4.06-second 20-yard shuttle that would have led all backs at the combine. His 6.92 3-cone would have come in third among RBs, while his 25 bench reps would have tied for fourth. In 2015, Pressley averaged 6.2 yards per carry on his way to 907 on the season, scoring 11 touchdowns. His junior year, he gained 1,083 yards and averaged 9.5 per carry.

Dom Cougar Mellow Camp: Because he could make Tom Brady calmer this spring, maybe? Dominique “Dom” Williams (6-3, 198), Washington State receiver, ran a 4.39-second 40 at his pro day, which would have tied for second-best among combine receivers. His 40.5-inch vertical would have tied for third among pass-catchers. The lanky Cougar earned All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention in 2015, totaling 75 catches for 1,040 yards (13.9 avg.) and 11 TDs.

Berger Shakes And Flies: Looks like receiver Justin Berger out of Wyoming used his pro day to his advantage, ranking in the top ten for combine wide receivers in almost all of his events. Berger had a 4.45-second 40 (top five overall) and a 6.87-second 3-cone drill (top 10). The 6-1, 204-pounder put up 20 reps in the bench press, which would have tied him with the strongest wide receivers in Indianapolis. This Cowboy looks like he needs to rustle up some experience: he had only two receptions last year and totaled just seven catches in his Wyoming career.

Feeling Fuller: Wide receiver Devin Fuller (6-0, 194) wowed scouts at UCLA with a 4.39-second 40 that would have tied for top eight overall at the combine, top two for receivers. His 10-foot-4 broad jump would have been twelfth among combine receivers, while his 36-inch vertical would have come in ninth. His 7.1-second 3-cone didn’t showcase amazing quickness, yet Fuller made his biggest impact on Bruins special teams, averaging 11.8 yards per punt return and 24.2 per kickoff return. He also caught 24 passes for 259 yards (10.8 avg.) and three touchdowns.

The Family Jules? Could Ferris State’s Jason Vander Laan become another former QB to work his magic for the Patriots, a lá Julian Edelman? Nick Caserio reportedly worked him out at Northwestern’s pro day. According to Peter J. Wallner of Michigan Live (mlive.com), Vander Laan measured 6-4, 240 pounds and ran a 4.75-second 40, top seven for combine tight ends. Even better from a Pats perspective, his 6.73-second 3-cone would have bested all tight ends at the combine.

We’ve got to start a new paragraph here to talk about what Vander Laan did at Ferris State. He received the Harlan Hill Trophy (Division II Player of the Year) for both the 2014 and 2015 seasons. He holds the NCAA record for most career rushing yards by a QB in every division, and he’s the first quarterback in NCAA history with 1,000+ passing yards and 1,000+ rushing yards in four consecutive seasons. Last year, Vander Laan threw for 2,626 yards and 27 touchdowns while rushing for 1,542 yards and 24 TDs.

A Scheu In? In what has been called a down year for tight ends, Vanderbilt’s Steven Scheu (6-5, 253) probably did himself some good at the Commodore’s pro day. His best 40 was in 4.70 seconds, which would have placed second for combine tight ends. His 23 bench presses would have also come in second (tie), while all of his other event numbers would have made top ten for his position. At Vandy, Scheu was the second-leading receiver with 26 catches for 231 yards and one touchdown, which probably tells you all you need to know about their passing attack. He was named the team’s top scholar athlete of the year.

A Tight End, B’Gosh: Wisconsin-Oshkosh tight end Joe Sommers worked out at Wisconsin’s pro day and did well for himself. The smaller, “move” end (6-3, 241) had a 4.64-second 40 that would have tied Jerrell Adams for best tight end at the combine. A 36-inch vertical (second for tight ends) and 6.91-second 3-cone (third) didn’t hurt him, either. Sommers had 25 catches last year for 338 yards and three touchdowns. Not exactly awe-inspiring, but a quick look at his highlight reel shows a hard-blocking prospect with notable field awareness.

DEFENSE

Pierce Pressure: Time to take a closer look at Michael Pierce out of Samford. The defensive tackle ran a 4.98-second 40, remarkable for a human wall safe (6-1, 329 pounds). He also notched a 9-foot-7 broad jump, a 27-inch vertical, and a solid 28 bench reps. Believe it or not, Pierce’s numbers actually compare to Vince Wilfork’s pro day from 2004 (he had chosen to skip the combine). Big Vince ran a 5.08 40, jumped 8-foot-5 in the broad jump, and leapt 26.5 inches. The big difference? Wilfork’s 36 bench reps. (And, of course, a celebrated 11 seasons in Foxboro.)

Pierce totaled 48 tackles last year, including nine for loss with 2.5 sacks. He also had four QB hits. Pierce transferred to Samford after two years at Tulane, where he was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team. The Green Wave changed coaches Pierce’s sophomore year, which could partly explain his switch.

Good Times Never Felt So Good: Looks like we have another one of the Commodores, so let’s Sail On. Vanderbilt strong safety Andrew Williamson (6-1, 208) had himself a heck of a pro day, running a 4.48 40 that would have been the third fastest among combine safeties. Williamson’s 6.81 seconds would have been the second-best 3-cone time for the position. His 10-foot-4 broad jump would’ve tied for top five for safeties. Last season, Williamson had 41 total tackles (28 solo), with one sack, four pass breakups, and a forced fumble.

Have A Good Davie: Cornerback Daniel Davie out of Nebraska ran a 4.37-second 40 at his pro day, top three for combine corners, top six overall. A good-sized DB at 6-1, 190, Davie also completed the 3-cone drill in a quick 6.85 seconds, which would have tied for top five for corners at the combine. He also tied the fourth-best cornerbacks in both the vertical jump (39 inches) and broad jump (10-foot-7). Because of injuries his senior year, Davie played in only six games, totaling 18 tackles (17 solo) and five pass break-ups. As a junior, Davie started all 13 games. That led to 41 tackles (six for loss), two interceptions, and five pass break-ups. He played special teams his first two seasons.

Stand Up And Be Countess: Seeing as Bill Belichick himself made it to Auburn’s pro day, we have to assume he noticed cornerback Blake Countess (5-10, 184). After doing just fine in the 40 (4.48), the vertical jump (36.5 inches), and the broad jump (10-foot-1) with scores that would have made the top 15 for combine CBs, Countess submitted a woulda-been-top-five-for-corners 6.85-second 3-cone, along with 21 bench reps that would have been a combine-best among cornerbacks. The versatile DB actually wrapped up his career at Auburn as a safety this past season, with 71 tackles, two interceptions, 11 passes defensed, and a blocked kick. He started for three years (30 games) for Michigan at corner. In 2014, he racked up 24 tackles and three pass break-ups.

Third Degree Burns: We have to assume defensive back/returner Morgan Burns got a lot of questions at Kansas State’s pro day, especially after submitting a 4.38-second 40-yard dash that would have placed him fifth for combine CBs. The 5-10, 200-pounder also ran a 6.6-second 3-cone, which would have been top five at the combine overall. An All-Big 12 Honorable Mention at defensive back, Burns tallied 38 tackles, one interception, and 10 pass break-ups, along with a forced fumble and a blocked kick. Oh, hey, I guess we buried the lede: the All-American kick returner brought back four kickoffs for touchdowns in 2015, averaging 33.5 yards per return. He also recovered a blocked punt for a TD vs. Kansas.

So, special teams, you thinking? Because I’m thinking special teams.

Watch Burgess Merit It: Is he gonna eat lightning and crap thunder? James Burgess, Louisville linebacker, has the size of a strong safety at 5-11, 227 pounds, but his play at linebacker demonstrates his toughness. He measured up well against combine safeties, with a 4.61 40 that would have tied for seventh at the position, and a 7.06 3-cone that would have tied for sixth. His 21 bench press is second-best for safeties. The Atlantic Coast Conference Third Team linebacker had 92 tackles (9.5 for loss) and an interception last year, along with four pass break-ups and two fumble recoveries.

Duck, Duck, Loose: Oregon linebacker Joe Walker (6-2, 236) broke out at his pro day, coming up with numbers that would have stood up against combine linebackers. His 4.56-second 40 would have been third best for LBs, while his 6.81-second 3-cone would have come in second for the position. A 37.5-inch vertical (tied, third) and 10-4 broad jump (tied, fourth) both would have made top five for combine linebackers. Patrolling the middle, Walker led the Ducks in 2015 with 87 total tackles, including six for loss (two sacks). He also had an interception and two fumble recoveries.

Running Into A Brick Wallace: Kudos to linebacker Aaron Wallace out of UCLA for a notable pro day. His 10-foot-10 broad jump would have tied for eighth overall at the combine, second for linebackers. His 4.57-second 40 would have placed third among combine LBs, while his 36-inch vertical would have come in fourth and his 4.27-second 20-yard shuttle would have come in sixth for the position. What else, what else? Oh, yeah: 25 bench reps, good enough for third-place as an LB. For the Bruins, the 6-3, 240-pounder made All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention with 65 total tackles, including 12.5 for loss (seven sacks).

Give Me The Knight: Linebacker Quentin Gause out of Rutgers may not have gotten a combine invite, but the Patriots still have him on their radar as both a Rutgers Guy and a Special Teams Guy. Gause showed off his hard work prepping for his pro day. The 6-foot, 232 pound linebacker had 23 bench reps (third for combine linebackers), a 4.15-second 20-yard shuttle (third), a 7.00-second 3-cone (fourth) and a 36-inch vertical (fifth). An All-Big Ten Honorable Mention last year, Gause had 96 tackles (12 for loss, one sack), and two pass break-ups.

COMBINE BESTS (With Pro-Day Comparables)

40-YARD DASH

4.31 seconds – Keith Marshall, Georgia RB

4.37 seconds – Daniel Davie, Nebraska CB

BENCH PRESS (225 pounds)

43 reps – Vi Teofilo, Arizona State OL

34 reps – Christian Westerman, Arizona State OL

VERTICAL JUMP

41.5 inches – Daniel Lasco, California RB 

40.5 inches – Dominique Williams, Washington State WR

BROAD JUMP

11 feet, 3 inches – Daniel Lasco, California RB

3-CONE DRILL

6.49 seconds – Devon Cajuste, Stanford WR

6.6 seconds – Morgan Burns, Kansas State CB 

20-YARD SHUTTLE

3.85 seconds – Justin Simmons, Boston College FS

4.06 seconds – Jhurrell Presley, New Mexico RB

More snubs to come as pro day numbers come in.

Please let us know if we’ve missed any noteworthy pro day performances. Use the comment section below, or tweet Chris Warner @cwarn89

How Long Until Opening Day???

Just another Friday wondering when Brad Stevens is going to unleash Jordan Mickey on the NBA.

Have you made your choice yet?

Apparently, you’re only allowed to root for the Bruins OR the Celtics. You can’t do both. You have to adore the one and despise the other.

The voice of Boston sports has spoken. (He’s the bravest, too, just ask his boss.)

Is there is a bigger fraud than Dan Shaughnessy in the entire media world? Had Bill Belichick been having a relationship with a reporter twenty years his junior, would Shaughnessy have completely ignored the topic in his columns as he has with John Farrell?

Shaughnessy instead went with the compelling Bruins/Celtics column about nothing. A topic that found its way onto sports radio this week as well.

Why the relationship between John Farrell, reporter matters – The story may not matter to Shaughnessy, but Chad Finn explains why it is important to legitimate journalists.

What you don’t know about David Price – Peter Abraham has a good look today at the Red Sox new ace, and why he may actually live up to his contract.

Roenis Elias risked 20-30 years in prison defecting Cuba; Boston Red Sox pitcher brings ‘disciplined’ style to Fenway – Christopher Smith looks at the pitcher who risked everything to come to the United States.

Could Hogan Tire have a new Patriots spokesman?

Bruins won’t make a big deal out of being in first place – The Bruins are in first place. THE BRUINS ARE IN FIRST PLACE?

 

The Red Sox and Relationships With The Media

With the news on Friday about CSNNE’s Jessica Moran quitting her job with the network due to rumors about her relationship with Red Sox manager John Farrell, it is perhaps time to wonder what sort of policies are in place on Yawkey Way about this sort of thing.

Former GM Ben Cherington was previously married to Wendi Nix, who had worked at NESN, Fox Sports New England and WHDH during the time in which Cherington was coming up in the Red Sox organization. To be fair, they had met while both were in college, but the relationship continued while one was with the Red Sox and the other was in the media.

There were rumors about Hazel Mae during her time with NESN. She didn’t do much to discourage them, either, telling John Molori in 2005 “NESN has never put rules down to me about dating players, colleagues or anyone else. If they did, I wouldn’t work there.”

When Heidi Watney was with NESN, she faced rumors of relationships with Red Sox players Jason Varitek and Nick Green. Those were never confirmed, but it never stopped the likes of Michael Felger stating them as fact.

Her replacement at NESN, Jenny Dell began dating Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, and the relationship continued beyond both of their days in Boston, and the two were married a few weeks ago, on Valentines day.

Now, there is (allegedly) Moran and Farrell.

What’s going on down there? I’d say baseball is different from other sports in that it is an everyday thing, and there is a lot of downtime. Players, management, they often spend all day and evening at the ballpark, as do the media. There is more opportunity for these types of relationships to develop, which doesn’t make them acceptable, but perhaps does explain why they seem to happen more.

It might be time however, for the Red Sox to put some sort of policy in place about these things.

See also: The bizarre history of rumored relationships between Red Sox and media members (Washington Post)

*******

The passing of Bud Collins last week was appropriately noted by many in the profession. While many of us grew up seeing Collins as the face of Tennis on NBC, especially around Wimbledon, Collins was much more than just a tennis writer/commentator. He arrived in Boston in the mid-1950’s, and according to Howard Bryant’s Shut Out, while writing for the Herald had been told to avoid talking about race and the Red Sox, even while they were the last remaining MLB team to integrate. Collins also was passionate about the Celtics, and became friends with Red Auerbach, playing tennis with the Celtics boss. He joined the Globe in 1962 and became a mentor to the younger writers coming on board, people like Bob Ryan and Peter Gammons.

*******

After Friday’s note about the move of the site, we’re on the other side now. (Warning: Techy stuff ahead) The site is now hosted at WordPress.com. What does this mean for you, and for the site? You’ll note there are no banner ads on the site, I think that is how things will be moving forward. The site hosting is also now pretty permanent, so even if I were to get hit by a bus tomorrow, the site will remain online as there are no bills to pay.🙂 The comments section is different, some have already noted the absence of Disqus comments, that feature unfortunately is not coming back. The previous edition of BSMW (as in, last week) was a self-hosted WordPress site using the software from WordPress.org. That version has the ability to use plugins, which is what Disqus is. This version of BSMW is on WordPress.com, which is a different entity and does not use plugins. I’m sure I’ll be tweaking things here and there, so don’t be surprised to see minor changes, but things should be pretty stable from here on out.

March comes in like a lion…

It’s March, and while there will be Madness later this month, for local sports shock talkers, it’s a slow time right now. They can only insult Hanley Ramirez in so many ways, they can only insinuate that Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens have blown the season and deserve more heat than the Bruins a limited number of times, and while there is still the glee over the Patriots playoff loss, most people have moved on.

This space has been quiet, yes. I’m still adjusting to a new job and with family responsibilities, the site has taken a backseat. At this point, I’m really only writing opinion pieces when something comes up which I think needs to be addressed. It may remain that way for a while. I don’t see it ever going back to the daily links format. The advent of Twitter has really made that sort of thing moot, in my opinion. If you follow the right people, you’re going to see the content you want to see.

Yesterday’s Tom Brady/NFL hearing would usually be right up that alley. However, once I saw Judge Chin had said The evidence of the ball tampering here is compelling if not overwhelming.” I knew which way this thing was going. It’s discouraging that a Federal Judge has the same view on this as an uneducated sports radio host in Denver would have. In addition the NFL lawyers told a bold-faced lie in front of the Judges yesterday, and it was not picked up or questioned. 

Might want to hold off on those trade plans for Jimmy G. right now.

One further note, the site will be down over the weekend for a period of time while I migrate to a new host. There will be a few small changes, but most things should look pretty much the same. If you’ve left comments on posts this week here, they may not make it over to the new site. That should be about the only thing that you might have to complain about.🙂

Thanks for sticking in there with me.

ESPN to Staff: Let’s Be Accurate When Talking About The Patriots Cheating Scandals

With the NFL and NFLPA preparing to head back into court next week over Deflategate, an internal memo was circulated to ESPN staffers this week.

With the next hearing in the ongoing Deflategate case involving the New England Patriots scheduled for March 3, we want to ensure that reporting on issues surrounding the team are expressly accurate. To that end, we’ve prepared the attached one-sheet, which details the two incidents involving the team, for which they have been penalized by the NFL.

The document summarizes both Spygate and Deflategate. Some highlights:

A week after Estrella was stopped from taping signals, his confiscated tape was leaked to Fox Sports. On Sept. 18, 2007, the league sent executives to Foxborough, Mass. Patriots officials told the investigators they had eight tapes of game footage along with a stack of written notes on signals and other scouting information. The material went back seven seasons. The league officials looked at portions of the tapes, then contacted Goodell, who ordered the tapes and notes destroyed. The tapes were smashed and the notes shredded by NFL officials in a small conference room.

NFL leaks! Tapes destroyed.

This part was in red:

IMPORTANT DO NOT REPORT NOTE:

The Patriots were accused by an unnamed source of taping the St. Louis Rams’ walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002,in a report by the Boston Herald on Feb. 2, 2008. The Patriots strongly denied the report, the NFL investigated and the Patriots were never found to have taped the walkthrough. The Boston Herald later retracted the report and apologized. This is NOT Spygate. DO NOT REPORT THIS.

Maybe this should be sent to the NFL Network as well? But wait, ESPN doesn’t want to use unnamed sources? That doesn’t seem consistent.

Then they move onto Deflategate:

On Jan. 19, 2015, it was reported that the NFL was investigating the Patriots for deflating footballs used Jan. 18 in the 2015 AFC Championship. The Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, to advance to Super Bowl XLIX.

At issue were footballs alleged to be inflated below the league standard. Coach Bill Belichick said he had no explanation for the discrepancy and quarterback Tom Brady said he didn’t alter the footballs in any way.

No word of leaks, especially the most damaging one which came from ESPN itself.

The NFL hired outside investigator Ted Wells to head an “independent investigation.” Hours of interviews and millions of dollars later, the so-called Wells Report was released on May 6, 2015. According to the report, the NFL found it “more probable than not” that Patriots personnel deliberately deflated the footballs during the AFC title game, and that Brady was “at least generally aware” of the rules violations. Among the evidence cited were text messages between equipment assistant John Jastremski and locker room manager Jim McNally that implicated Brady. In investigating Brady, Wells said he was hindered by the quarterback’s refusal to provide his own emails, texts or phone records. But using Jastremski’s phone records, Wells found an increase in the frequency of phone calls and texts between Brady and the equipment assistant shortly after suspicions of the tampering were made public.

Did ESPN actually read the Wells Report?

Then in wrapping things up:

Brady led the Patriots to a 12-4 record and into the playoffs, where the team advanced to the AFC Championship game, but lost 20-18 to Denver. That sent the Broncos, not the Patriots to Super Bowl 50.

Zing!

No Super Bowl For Patriots, But No Quit, Either

America is happy.

The New England Patriots, the very picture of villainy and evil for the sports fans of the country have been vanquished.

I’m not unhappy.

Sure, I’m bitterly disappointed, I’m frustrated, I’m upset.

I’m also proud. This team, what they had to overcome this season, what they had to overcome in this game, and they did not quit. I’m not unhappy with them as a team, despite the final score.

Oh sure, I’m prepared for an offseason of Gostkowski’s miss, Ebner’s pooch kick,  about the game plan going into Miami and several other points which the simple-minded will grasp onto and refuse to let go off.

Shocker: Not all decisions made were correct or worked out. But you know what? I want the guy making the decisions right now to be the guy continuing to make those decisions for as long as he wants to make those decisions.

I want the guy quarterbacking the team to continue to quarterback the team for as long as he wants to.

After the NFL spent the entire offseason trying to derail the quarterback and team, and after 59 minutes, 45 seconds today of getting their quarterback thrashed, beaten and bruised, they still didn’t give up. Brady found Rob Gronkowski in the back of the end zone on a 4th down play to give the team a chance to tie with a two-point conversion and send the AFC Title game into overtime.

You know how it turned out.

Postgame, Stephen Gostkowski, as reliable a kicker as has ever played the game wanted the blame placed squarely on his shoulder after the game for earlier missing his first extra point in 10 years. His teammates would have none of it.They lauded his praises, calling him the best kicker in the league. The extra point he missed was early enough in the game that they expected to be able to pick him up, just like he has picked them up so many times with long field goals after stalled drives.

They couldn’t do it. Oh, they tried, but in the end, the missed point was the difference in the game.

I can’t say it enough. They never gave up. A makeshift offensive line which was missing starters Nate Solder, Tre’ Jackson and Ryan Wendell, could not hold up against the furious pass rush of the Denver defense, but when they needed to the most, on the final drive, on fourth down plays, they did just enough to allow Brady to find Rob Gronkowski for two miraculous plays to keep their hopes alive.

The Patriots defense after a rough start covering Owen Daniels, was every bit as relentless as Denver’s for the final three quarters of the game.

I’m satisfied that this team showed what the heart of a true champion looks like. That final drive, while not counting officially in Tom Brady’s collection of last minute comebacks, was as good as or better than anything he’s done. With the stakes, the crowd and the Denver defense, they were in position to tie the score.

This is why we watch sports – to see the competition. There will be plenty of small-minded media trolls who will be taking victory laps in the weeks to come, people who will criticize decisions made, armchair second-guessers who have no idea what went into making decisions. While you can attempt to argue over decisions, you cannot argue with the competitiveness of the team, and their lack of quit.

While Bill Belichick isn’t perfect, I have 100% faith that every decision he makes is the one that he feels is best for the team at that moment. He’s not always right, but he’s right more than anyone else.

I am just so incredibly proud of the focus of this team, even as the NFL was making a Federal Court Case over it’s own ignorance of science, the Patriots went about the business of trying to repeat as Super Bowl Champions.

Now that their season is over, I hope that Robert Kraft will make noise over the lost draft picks, especially after the NFL releases their data on PSI checks for this season. I doubly hope that the team has done their own study, with enough evidence to expose any further deception the NFL may attempt to perpetrate. (Imagine if this game was in Gillette, and Denver’s sideline tablets went out? Right as the Patriots were going in to score? Mike Klis would be getting a call from an NFL source about now, saying that the league is investigating that the Patriots tampered with 11 of 12 of the Bronco’s tablets.)

If it turns out that Kraft allows the NFL to take a first and fourth round pick for nothing, without a public fight, I will be livid. Kraft is about conciliation as we’re constantly being reminded, but he needs to fight more on this topic.

If you noticed anything on the field today, it was that a first round offensive lineman sure would be welcomed here.

Preferably one with the type of heart we saw on the field today.

Watching The Reporting On Chandler Jones

It will be interesting watching what facts come out in the next few days/weeks regarding what happened to Chandler Jones over the weekend.

This is what we know for sure:

What else do we know? Very little apparently, but that’s not stopping rampant speculation.

This was what started the whole story:

DandCShowTwitter

 

The Tweet was taken down soon after and replaced with this.

DandCShowTwitter2

The bit about Gronk’s house was removed. Then Lou Merloni advanced the story.

So now of the original Chris Curtis (D&C producer, runs the Twitter account) Tweet, the bit about Gronk’s house has been removed, Lou says Jones “walked” into police station which would seem to disprove the “OD” aspect. The Police dispatcher in the case mentioned “class D Delta” which often refers to marijuana. Other unnamed sources suggest sleeping pills and a bad reaction to something.

For someone who spent months railing against Chris Mortensen for blindly tweeting what sources told him, Curtis seems the ultimate hypocrite here. Instead, much of their show today was spent focused on whether the police covered up for the Patriots and Jones, and calling Patriots fans hypocrites. Okay.

There is definitely a story here though. The question is, who is going to get it, and get it right? Gillette Stadium was mobbed with reporters this morning, ensuring that this story will already have more coverage than the Peyton Manning HGH story. But will the stories rely on facts, or speculation?

We’ll be watching, media.

Try and get it right this time, OK?

Brady vs Manning – Rivals Even In Media Hypocrisy

The narrative of the national sports media never ceases to astound me.

On false reports and leaks to well-placed reporters, Tom Brady and the Patriots were villainized, accused of cheating, and became a national story leading the evening newscasts.

The media was eager to lap it up and proclaim Brady and the Patriots guilty and demand their removal from the Super Bowl and the record books.

Within days, the majority of people believed without reservation that the Patriots had cheated. For many of those, nothing that came afterwards would sway their opinion.

During the Super Bowl broadcast, the topic came up numerous times – even with under two minutes left to play and the game on the line.

Over an alleged few puffs of air –  of which, the veracity of such claims has been proven to extremely questionable.

The case against Tom Brady involved false leaks to reporters, a sham investigation which has been mocked by scientists and a federal judge and lies by the Commissioner of the NFL.

Now we come to Peyton Manning.

A report comes out linking Manning to Human Growth Hormone. The initial report comes from Al Jazeera, which, fair or not, probably plays a part in the perception of the story.

After numerous neck surgeries, including one overseas because no one here in the U.S. would perform it, Manning was treated by a doctor with a checkered past, who had a history of putting his patients on HGH. Manning’s wife was also a patient and shipments were sent in her name to the Manning house.

The difference in coverage between Boston and Indianapolis of two stories which have some similarities is startling. Both involve a star quarterback and someone with a sketchy past who has helped with their recovery from major injury and/or training.

The Indianapolis Star has dug into the past of Dr. Dale Guyer and advanced the story admirably, but have been very careful to not to tarnish the reputation of Peyton Manning, keeping his (and his wife’s) involvement on the periphery of the story.

The Boston Globe (and Boston Magazine) dug into the past of Alex Guerrero with the sole purpose of trying to tarnish the reputation of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. This was reflected in the tone of article and the insinuations that besides legal issues, the situation was violating the NFL salary cap, of all things.

In Indianapolis, Bob Kravitz, who was spoon-fed the deflategate scoop by a malicious NFL source, and proudly proclaimed it the biggest story of his career – had actually been treated by the same Dr Guyer, and had been prescribed HGH – but didn’t deem it worthy of any sensationalism.

Old friend Gregg Doyel who was at the forefront of the pitchfork-wielding mob that was out to lynch Brady, (and to this day – literally, today – still believes it.) has had only one stance on this Manning story.

Can you fathom a writer, any writer tweeting, “I ride with 12.” ?

Nationally though, this Manning report, is not being viewed with the skepticism that we would’ve hoped the whole deflategate case would’ve been, even though there is more evidence here that something happened then there was ever on the deflategate case.

When the original source of the story Charles Sly recanted his story after it became public – his original claims having been filmed by an undercover reporter – out of fear, embarrassment, or whatever, many people took that as enough evidence that the story was bogus. When Manning told reporters how angry he was about the report, for many, well, that was all they needed to dismiss the story, despite several very compelling unanswered questions.

It’s interesting to see the media used in the opposite way from the Brady case in this Manning case. Take, for instance, the fact the when the Broncos were playing a national game on CBS, this story was not mentioned at all.

On purpose.

This is what Jim Nantz said when asked why he didn’t mention it:

Wut.

Al Jazeera says there is a second, “impeccably placed” source to back up the network’s recent assertion that human growth hormone shipments were provided to Peyton Manning’s wife.

Let’s pose a hypothetical:

Instead of deflategate last January, what if it came out that during his recovery from the ACL tear in 2008, that shipments of HGH were sent to Tom Brady’s house, addressed to Giselle.

What would the reaction have been? Would the national media have called it “a story that on all levels is a non-story?

I think we know the answer.

Finally, this week, a large media outlet looked into this story The New York Times set about Finding a Common Thread in the Al Jazeera Doping Report

With the help of my New York Times colleagues Ken Belson and Doris Burke, I scrutinized the list of names, and it soon appeared less random than at first blush. Nearly all of the athletes Sly named are clients of Jason Riley, a fitness trainer based in Sarasota, Fla.

Riley and Sly founded Elementz Nutrition and had an impressive stable of big time athletes using them.

The conclusions are very interesting. On the undercover interview with Sly:

But what to make of Sly? In the end, this story hinges on his credibility. A man who operates in the athletic shadows, he was confronted with his hours of undercover interviews and recanted. He proclaimed himself an idle boaster.

What was he supposed to do, if what he had said was true? Acknowledge it and allow his words to become his manacles?

Mitosomal growth factors, stem cells and pig brain peptide: He talked of all with a chemist’s ease. His network, as he described it, extends from Germany and Switzerland to Vancouver, British Columbia, where Chad Robertson, a pharmacist, said Sly was a savant of doping.

The other obvious question is, if he really was a savant of doping, and knew all these things, why would he just boast about random athletes even if he was just trying to look impressive to the person he was talking to?

So is anyone going to do anything about it?

The Al Jazeera documentary was only the latest report to reveal sports doping as a spider’s web that stretches across continents and oceans. You wonder if the pro league chieftains, Rob Manfred in baseball and the N.F.L. sachem Roger Goodell, have paid attention, and have the stomach to pursue these strands.

Then comes the killshot. A brilliant way to end the story, as it is a true drop-the-mic ending.

They might want to hurry. Last week, Elementz Nutrition voluntarily dissolved and closed its doors.

Remember the NFL leak to Stephen A Smith about how Tom Brady destroyed his phone? A leak that was completely malicious, and designed to again taint public perception because it was scandalous on the surface, yet immaterial to the case. Yet people still bring it up. Just a few days ago Mark Schlereth, while trolling Patriots fans, brought it up.

In this Manning case, the company owned by the source of the story shut its doors. Think about that. The entire company! You can image the paper-shredding and hard-drive erasing that is going on there.

Yet, where is this story? Jim Nantz won’t talk about it on CBS. ESPN hasn’t published a single thing about this story since December 29th.(Too busy breaking federal laws?) NBC put out Manning’s side of the story giving him the chance to tell Peter King how angry he was about it. How he was “probably” going to sue. Which he hasn’t done yet, despite two other athletes doing so already.

Like Chris Price wrote, I don’t care if Peyton Manning took HGH to aid his recovery from injury. Athletes do what they need to do to keep their careers going. I don’t really begrudge them that.

For me, this story isn’t really about Manning. It’s about the coverage of the allegations and the blatant hypocrisy of many in the national media. Once again, they’re showing their true colors, this time by their silence.