We all remember the day of the AFC Championship Game when the New England Patriots steamrolled the Indianapolis Colts 45-7. Around midnight, Bob Kravitz dropped the news that the NFL is investigating the Patriots for deflated footballs. We're not going to revisit that story and the timeline of what happened because that's a waste of time and it's not important at all. Today, he penned a column for WTHR, an Indianapolis-based station in which he interviewed former NFL official Mark Baltz. Based on the reaction on my Twitter timeline, I'm probably doing him a service by writing this article and granting the attention he seeks. You can read the column here.
As we all know the NFL forced the Patriots to suspend Jim McNally (aka Bird) and John Jastremski in order to create a fall guy for an investigation that yielded no definitive conclusions. The Patriots filed to reinstate those two to the NFL, which was granted. The idea that the Patriots suspended the two employees and had to file to the NFL for their reinstatements already proves that the NFL has lied to our faces. Back to the topic at hand, you see this quote from the column
I probably did 10 to 15 games up there (in Foxboro, Mass.) and those first few times, he’d always ask. I always thought it was very suspicious. He certainly acted in a suspicious manner.
Here are the games that Baltz officiated in. These are the games he worked in Foxborough over his entire career:
- Colts vs. Patriots, 1999
- Redskins vs. Patriots, 2007
- Cardinals vs. Patriots, 2008
- Ravens vs. Patriots, 2010
- Jets vs. Patriots, 2010 (AFCDR)
- Giants vs. Patriots, 2011
If my math is correct, that is 6 games, not 10-15 games. Only 5 of those games were in the Bill Belichick era and only 4 were started by Tom Brady. The ESPN report that put Jim McNally into the public light stated that McNally started working with the Patriots in 2008. That narrows it down to 3 games, which is not 10-15 games like the quote says.
Baltz, in fact, said he reported McNally to league officials "six or eight years ago,’’ concerned not only about his early requests for the footballs, but for the way he operated before and during games.
If you have your suspicions on a team employee, there's nothing wrong about reporting him to league officials. If the incident happened 6-8 years ago, then it would have occurred in the 2008 game where the Patriots blew out the Cardinals 41-7 in a blizzard.
"For an officials’ locker room attendant, I always thought he was an unusual dude,’’ Baltz said. "Most locker room guys, they sit there and if you need something, they got it for you. When you left the locker room, you’d lock the door and they’d stay right there. The other 31 teams, that’s what they would do. That was his job.
"But McNally, he was running all around like a chicken with his head cut off. Asking for the balls early. What I specifically reported him for several years ago, and I thought this was really unusual, he’d run out on the field with the footballs before the game and the next thing you know, he’s playing pitch-and-catch with (Tom) Brady. Then, next thing, he’s on the sidelines right next to (Bill) Belichick, like he’s a (bleeping) assistant coach or something.
Now this is getting ridiculous. Obviously the league didn't find any faults with McNally when you reported him to league officials. I have no idea what McNally did for game day operations, but I have to imagine it was pretty hectic for how Tom Brady likes to prepare on Game Day.
McNally and Jastremski won't be anywhere near footballs in their new jobs for the team, but whether it's Kravitz or Baltz someone in this interview is lying. That's the problem with sensationalist journalism, they're trying to pigeon-hole facts to fit a narrative. The NFL tried doing that to suspend Tom Brady in the offseason and the suspension was vacated by a federal judge in the court the NFL filed in. I honestly thought this story was going to die down when the suspension was vacated and the NFL's shady workings were exposed by Judge Berman. I guess some people just can't accept the fact the Patriots beat their team, especially Colts fans. I doubt that Kravitz will ever read this article, but if he did I have three questions to ask:
1. Who or what tipped off the Colts to the air pressure of the footballs? Was it the Baltimore Ravens or did one of your ball boys measure the air pressure of the football with their own gauge, which is against the very same set of rules the NFL punished the Patriots on?
Regardless of the answers, I am through with journalists and hacks fudging the facts to slander the Patriots. It's pretty clear that ring envy has infected the entire Colts organization and has spread to their journalists. Just remember to ice up after Week 6.