After winning the AFC Championship, Belichick had to deal with the deflate-gate accusations that interfered with their preparation leading up to their Super Bowl showdown with Seattle. (USA TODAY Images)
Today marks the two month anniversary of the team’s AFC Championship victory over the Colts back on January 18th, 2015, and at this point there still has yet to be an end to the “DeflateGate” investigation that continues to drag on with little end in sight.
It’s been two months since the league launched an investigation into this debacle, and here we are in March without an end as it continues to drag on. The initial report by Bob Kravitz out of IndianapolisÂ kicked off the whole thing, and Chris Mortensen of ESPN made it worse after he followed it up with a report from a source within the leagueâ€™s office that 11 of 12 footballs were â€śsignificantlyâ€ť below the required level.
From there, that’s where it started spiraling down hill with reports seemingly every other day that were contradicting.Â Following Mortensen’s report, the league leaked another to The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that essentially debunked it by saying the balls were just â€śa tickâ€ť below.
And as we remember, it only got better from there.Â AÂ report by Fox Sports that said the league was zeroing in on a locker room attendant who took the balls somewhere on his way to the field, which we later learned ended up being the bathroom. Â He was only in there for 90 seconds, which lead to conspiracy theorists trying to figure out how many balls could be deflated within that time frame rather than just letting it be dismissed at that point.
Bill Belichick’s angry tirade and explanation after doing his own investigation found that the preparation of the footballs coupled with the lower temperature on the field was the likely reason for the psi change, but that obviously wasn’t good enough to end the apparent witch hunt.
The league suffered a bit during this whole mess following aÂ report that came fromÂ Adam Schefter, which further muddied the situation. Schefter revealed that an employee by the league gave a different football to Jim McNally, who is an employee of the Patriots that works the officialsâ€™ locker room at the teamâ€™s homeÂ games. An initial report by ESPN had said that McNally â€śtried to introduce an unapproved ball into the gameâ€ť, but Schefter reported that McNally had been handed the ball from someone else. According to Schefter, a league employee has also been fired for taking the football and selling it for personal gain. Â The NFL normally allocates those balls for charity.
To make matters worse, the NFL apparently has no proof that the Patriots did anything to alter the footballs because they don’t know what the starting psi was before the balls were turned over to New England.Â The revelation by the officials during their press conference prior to the Super Bowl confirmed that after they essentially admitted that they donâ€™t actually log the psi of the footballs before each game.
So with all that being taken into account, here we are, two months later with no word from the NFL and no other news or leaks regarding the Wells investigation. Â Every smoking gun they’ve found so far has blown up in their faces, and considering the stance the Patriots have taken and how adamant they’ve been throughout that they did absolutely nothing to affect the integrity of the game, it’s hard not to believe them. Â Needless to say,Â considering the damage they suffered reputation-wise during this whole experience, the Patriots can’t be happy with how it’s transpired to this point.
Roger Goodell did nothing to help after not coming out during the process and downplaying it while the investigation was going on. Instead the mishandling of the whole process subjected the team to further abuse in the media following repeated leaks from within his office, which left the Patriots in a tough situation as it played out through the national media and in many of the other markets. Itâ€™s inexcusable, and itâ€™s not like this couldnâ€™t have been figured out long before it ever reached this point.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com said on Tuesday that he believes this needs to be put to bed before the draft.
“It’s got to happen before the draft,” said Florio via CSNNE.com. “Because draft pick compensation is part of it. Whether the Patriots are punished or exonerated, I think they need to close the books on this one at least two weeks before the draft on April 30.”
But forÂ now, nothing has changed. Â Robert Kraft has asked for an apology andÂ yetÂ the NFL remains silent. Â Hopefully they’re not thinking it will just go away because it’s pretty clear that Kraft isn’t going to find that acceptable. Â One would have to think that in two months with all the resources a billion dollar corporation like the NFL has, they would have found something by now if there was something of consequence to report.
The fact there hasn’t been would lead you to believe that they still don’t have anything on the Patriots. Â If that’s the case,Â the league just needs to suck it up and admit they made a mistake andÂ finally put thisÂ to bed for good.
The Patriots signed a running back on Tuesday, with the team adding former New Orleans Saints running back Travaris Cadet. Â The 26-year old had spent the last three years with the team, having played in 41 NFL games with 11 carries for 37 yards, as well as 45 receptions for 345 yards and two touchdowns.
In 2014 he had his most productive season, carrying 10 times for 32 yards along with catching 38 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown. Â He actually scored his first career touchdown against New England in 2013, catching a 3-yard touchdown during the Patriots’ win over New Orleans back on October 13, 2013. Â He appears to be more of a pass-catching back and could be a potential candidate to compete for the role vacated by Shane Vereen’s departure to the Giants via free agency.
– The Patriots remain busy as they continue exploring free agent options, with Tuesday seeing them bring in four cornerbacks to Gillette Stadium, withÂ ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss reporting that Terence Newman, Tarell Brown, Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain were all in town yesterday.
– Patriots owner Robert Kraft were guest speakers for the Hockomock Area YMCA breakfast fundraiser on Tuesday with Governer Charlie Baker at Gillette Stadium, with Kraft pledging $25,000 to the Y. Â KraftÂ joked about the first time he met Y President Ed Hurley, and referenced one of the Patriots’ former players and current employee Andre Tippett. Â â€śIt was like getting hit by Andre Tippett because he asked me for a seven-figure donation,â€ť Kraft said via the Attleboro Sun Chronicle.
– Mike Reiss shed a little light as to why a couple recent free agents ended up picking different destinations than New England to sign. Â According to Reiss,Â linebacker Andrew Gachkar chose the Cowboys over the Patriots becauseÂ his wife had ties to the Dallas area, which was apparently a factor in his decision, while defensive lineman Tyrunn Walker picked Detroit over New EnglandÂ because of a scheme preference in Detroit.
– You may have heard about Tim Tebow’s recent workout with the Philadelphia Eagles, although the quarterback hasn’t yet been offered a contract. Â According to Quarterback Guru Tom House’sÂ partner, Adam Dedeaux, the former Patriots QB has apparently improved quite a bit. Â According to FoxSports.com, Dedeaux, who is the motion mechanics instructor at 3DQB in Los Angeles and worked with Tebow last weekend in Jacksonville to prepare him for the workout, Tebow is getting the ball out faster and has made quite a bit of progress.Â “From the moment we started working with him until now, his ability to get the ball out quickly has dramatically improved,” Dedaux told the website.Â “His ability to spin the ball and to be accurate is better. He also understands when he misfires — he can be able to answer the question why and make the adjustment.”
– Local Houston radio personality Seth Payne likes the Vince Wilfork signing and he expects Wilfork’s presence inside to make quite a difference for Wilfork’s new teammate, J.J. Watt. Â “Wilfork was playing out at three-technique (between guard and tackle) and in space a lot more than he had been previously,” Payne said via the Houston Chronicle. “In Houston, he’s going to be able to get back over the center, commanding attention in that A gap â€¦ and that really frees J.J. up a lot.Â Â Even if your feet start to slow down a little bit, your hands and your brain still help you. And Vince Wilfork’s hands are very, very good, and his football brain is very, very good.”