Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 16 hrs ago
CHANDLER, Ariz. – Seventy-three-year-old Robert Kraft is best known as an agreeable, affable, one-time New England Patriots season-ticket holder turned owner. He made billions in the paper industry, was married to the same woman for 48 years and favors French-cut dress shirts, blue with a white collar that holds a soft pink tie.
This is not a brawler. This is a consensus builder, a philanthropist, a man who is known for creating a family atmosphere in all of his businesses. Maybe no one loves the NFL like Bob Kraft.
Yet there Kraft was Monday, slowly rocking back and forth as he read from a prepared statement here at the Patriots' team hotel before the Super Bowl, blasting the league with everything he had.
He was angry. He was stern. He was fighting, for his coach and quarterback, for his franchise, for his own good family name.
All of it has been under attack since word broke over a week ago that the NFL was investigating how and why New England's footballs were underinflated in the AFC championship game victory over Indianapolis.
This is how old Ivy League rich guys talk trash, how they deliver verbal smacks and warnings of more.
Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago
Forget all about the most debated topics that have stemmed from the New England Patriots' use of deflated footballs in the AFC championship game – did Tom Brady order it, did Bill Belichick know about it, is Bill Nye the Science Guy even a scientist?
The question that has clues but no conclusion, the one that could prove to be the biggest and most historic of them all is this:
Did the NFL run a sting operation on the Patriots?
And if so, shouldn't the Indianapolis Colts, and the rest of the league, be more upset about the league's investigative tactics than anything New England has been accused of doing?
This would be … astounding.
So is it true?
No details on when that suggestion occurred.
The NFL declined additional comment or clarification on all items.
Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago
Try, if you can, to hit pause, just for a second, on whether Bill Belichick's explanation is plausible or not for why the footballs used by the New England Patriots were underinflated in the first half of the AFC championship game.
Some will agree with every word. Some will be fascinated enough to want more information. Some will never believe him.
For a moment, whatever. The debate on this is going to go on forever, at least unless the NFL's investigation uncovers video footage of an assistant equipment manager taking a tire needle to a game ball. And based on how bold Belichick brought it in an unprecedented and previously unscheduled media session Saturday afternoon, the czar of the Patriots is confident no such video exists.
The short of it is this: the Patriots spent the week running all sorts of tests on footballs, simulating how it worked last Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
And that's before Belichick noted variances in measuring gauges and footballs themselves, which because they are made of animal skin, probably should never even be measured to such precise levels.
That's how it happened, Belichick said. That's it.
Dead on (foot)balls accurate.
Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago
Tom Brady said he likes footballs to be inflated to precisely 12.5 pounds per square inch of pressure. "Perfect for a football," Brady noted. He said that prior to a game, after inspecting them for grip, feel and pressure, he personally selects the dozen footballs that will be used that day. At that point, he said he wouldn't want anyone "touching" them.
At other points in the same news conference on Thursday, the New England Patriots quarterback said that when he took a snap or threw a pass in Sunday's AFC championship game blowout of the Indianapolis Colts, he couldn't tell the difference between an apparently underinflated ball and the properly (we guess) inflated balls the referees reportedly brought in for the second half.
Is Tom Brady telling the truth? Is he lying? Can both scenarios be possible?
Is it remotely plausible that some unnamed, unknown, mystery equipment manager altered the footballs without Brady's knowledge and approval … or did 11 of the Patriots' footballs, but not one of the Colts, nor apparently 12 more backup footballs from the Patriots, lose pressure naturally?
If there's an explanation, football is waiting for it.
Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago
It's not the crime, it's the cover-up – a lesson of which Bill Belichick is aware, and, we can presume, is taking to heart as the NFL investigated deflated footballs the New England Patriots used in Sunday's AFC championship.
Belichick addressed the controversy for the first time Thursday morning and made a number of strong and precise comments that, if he isn't telling the truth, can be fairly easily contradicted or even proven completely false. If that were to happen, his reputation would be finished.
Instead he claimed ignorance, threw the controversy onto quarterback Tom Brady – who always should have been at the center of this – and willingly and purposefully put himself in a box.
He said it anyway.
And go talk to Tom.
Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago
Through the years, Tom Brady has always been able to remain above whatever the latest fray that engulfed the New England Patriots.
Brady was the quarterback, perhaps teased for his fashion or footwear or occasionally awkward celebrations, but never much on issues of substance. He was the underdog turned megastar, likable and respectable and just oh so good.
Bill Belichick played the villain, the supposed win-at-all-costs genius under the ratty hoodie. When allegations of underhandedness or unsportsmanlike play or anything else hit, it was all assumed to be Belichick’s orders, not Brady’s.
Now, however, comes the deflate-gate scandal. The NFL, according to ESPN, found 11 of the 12 footballs New England provided for Sunday’s blowout of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game were under-inflated by as much as 2 pounds per square inch of pressure.
And now this is a Tom Brady situation. Now these are questions for Tom Brady to answer, once the NFL’s investigation is complete, likely this week. After all these years, he’s earned the right to be heard.
Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago
Eleven footballs the New England Patriots brought to Sunday's AFC championship game have now been determined by the NFL to be under-inflated – by 2 full pounds – according to ESPN, which cited the preliminary findings of a league investigation.
The home team in an NFL game is required to provide 12 footballs (plus 12 backups). Yet almost all of them came in at the same, illegal level, 2 pounds lighter? The ball is supposed to be inflated to between 12.5 pounds and 13.5 pounds per square inch, so 16 percent below the legal minimum.
Unless there is a reasonable explanation, and neither New England nor the NFL has offered one yet, the Patriots should worry about losing draft picks as punishment. Their reputation may never be fully recovered.
This is a strange story that keeps getting stranger, a scandal that creates only more questions as it grows.
Let's start with this: How the heck didn't the refs notice?
How does the equipment man notice and grow troubled by it but not a team full of refs?
Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – On a feel-good night when the New England Patriots secured a sixth Super Bowl appearance during the Bill Belichick era, giving them a shot at a fourth championship that could forever silence the last of the critics who claim their greatness was derived from Spygate, the report hitabout 1 a.m. here.
Citing league sources, Bob Kravitz of WTHR-TV in Indianapolis, said "the NFL was investigating the possibility the Patriots deflated football Sunday night." Kravitz, a former Indianapolis Star columnist, tweeted that "at one point the officials took a ball out of play and weighed it."
And so here we go again … just in time for two weeks of Super Bowl hype.
So if New England was actually using an illegally inflated ball, it would only help their offense and not hurt the Colts' offense.
All game balls are to be checked by the referee, in the officials' locker room, two hours and 15 minutes prior to kickoff.
Deflated footballs? Deflated footballs.
It's never dull in Foxborough.
Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – With just under four minutes remaining in New England's 45-7 demolition of Indianapolis, with the Patriots' sixth trip to the Super Bowl in 13 seasons secured, with nothing left to do but celebrate in the rain, Bill Belichick sent Tom Brady out for one more snap.
After a simple handoff, the quarterback was pulled. This was the supposed cold-hearted coach allowing Brady to jog off the Gillette Stadium field to thunderous applause and chants of his name. This was setting up Belichick to march out on the field and greet him for a handshake, hug and some words of appreciation.
It was like Senior Day back in high school, like something a father would do for a son, a rare warm public sign of what one means to the other. And vice versa.
Maybe the rest of America has never understood these two, this franchise in general, this forever push for perfection that never seems to take a week off. Maybe everyone's just sick of New England. Or suspicious.
But when did these two ever care about what anyone else thought of them?
Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago
BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – In NFL history, which player has appeared in the most Super Bowls?
Mike Lodish figures that is a pretty good trivia question and not just because he's the answer … at least for a couple more weeks.
Mike Lodish? Yes, Mike Lodish. The former defensive lineman's 11-year career, mostly as a reserve, featured action in four consecutive Super Bowls as a Buffalo Bill (1991-94) and then two more as a Denver Bronco (1998, 1999). The first four he was on the losing side. The last two ended with championships.
"I'm the only guy who played in the game six times," Lodish told Yahoo Sports here this week, where he's retired from football, raising a 10-year-old son and, if you can believe it, selling gourmet peanut brittle made to the exacting standards of his mother's recipe.
Big Mike Lodish is about to have some company, though. Sunday's AFC championship game features two players who have appeared in five Super Bowls.
New England quarterback Tom Brady did them all with the Patriots (2002, 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2012).
The record book could be Lodish and … Brady?