The long-awaited report into the New England Patriots involvement of deflated balls during the AFC Championship game has been released and is not really specific. Check out some of the comments in the report.
"For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules," the report said. "In particular, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally [the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots] and John Jastremski [an equipment assistant for the Patriots] participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee. Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady [the quarterback for the Patriots] was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls."
And a statement on the kicking balls. "Although Patriots personnel provided a kicking ball to game officials that did not have the distinctive inspection mark of the referee, we find that the Patriots personnel involved believed the ball to be authentic and appropriate," the report stated. "We do not believe that there was any attempt by Patriots personnel, including Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, to deliberately circumvent the rules by offering the kicking ball for play."
The report also stated that Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick did not have any knowledge of the process. What hasn't been released or the media has decided to leave out is the direct evidence. What was the referees involvement in this process? How did the game balls make it onto the field, period? The wording in the release statements are pretty suspect. Words used "more probable than not" instead of they did. Discipline in the matter could be reached within days but I hope evidence is in there somewhere. Can you imagine people getting found guilty for "they probably" did it and not providing any fact as to what they actually did. We'll see.