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The word Deflategate may as well be synonymous with the word "misinformation".

When it comes to this controversy, it's almost impossible to tell for sure what happened. The Colts accused the Patriots of deflating footballs, we know that much. How many were deflated? By how much? Do deflated balls really help? Who deflated them? Was it the 70 year old ball boy when he went to the bathroom for exactly 98 seconds? How long does it take a man to pee?

These are the types of questions that were earnestly debated for two weeks on ESPN and other reputable media outlets. None of these questions were definitively answered, though people sure do have their theories.

ESPN's Adam Schefter just threw something out there that feeds into one of those theories.

Is DeflateGate just a set up, frame-job by the bitter Indianapolis Colts?

Put your tinfoil hat on and get ready for this one.

Michael Hurley, columnist for CBS Boston, recently wrote a satirical piece calling for the NFL to ban Colts owner Jim Irsay and coach Chuck Pagano. He based his argument completely on conjecture, zero facts, exactly as the intial DeflateGate hysteria was.

It was a good laugh.

Hurley proposed that the Colts were the ones that deflated the ball, to set up New England. But could his half-joking conspiracy theory be true?

Schefter was on WEEI Friday afternoon, and was asked just that.

"Well, I’ll say this. I think there are people who believe that," he responded. "“I know there are people who believe that.”

When pressed further, Schefter didn't offer up any details. He refused to elaborate on whether these people were players, executives, or even in the NFL at all.

“I’ll just say — I won’t even specify. There are people who believe that. OK?," he continued. "There are people who believe that. And I think there are people who’ve heard that theory and who say that it’s impossible.

Now, again, it’s a little bit like my take on all of this. There are people in the Patriots’ organization, multiple people there, who are adamant, adamant, that nothing happened. That they did nothing wrong. This is an overdone, blown up situation that got carried away, when they did nothing, and when you listen to them, you 100 percent believe them."

This doesn't offer up very much concrete evidence. Schefter was vague.

The people he alludes to could very well just be one of the hosts questioning him. One of them admitted that he in fact did subscribe to the frame job theory. However, if you have your tinfoil hat on nice and tight, the "people" could be just about anyone. Maybe its the Patriots, maybe its the NFL?

Based on what we think we know from reports, the Colts intentionally deflating a football is a simple and somewhat logical conclusion to draw.

DeflateGate started when Bob Kravitz, an Indianapolis TV personality, reported that the Patriots were using deflated footballs in the first half of the AFC Championship game. The Patriots won 45-7. The Kravitz report came in late the night of the game. It was brushed off immediately by Patriots players.

Things took a turn for the serious when, two days later, ESPN's Chris Mortenson reported that 11 of the 12 balls used by the Patriots in the first half were deflated by two PSI (pressure per square inch).

ESPN:
The NFL has found that 11 of the New England Patriots' 12 game balls were inflated significantly below the NFL's requirements, league sources involved and familiar with the investigation of Sunday's AFC Championship Game told ESPN.

The investigation found the footballs were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below what's required by NFL regulations during the Pats' 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, according to sources.

Another report, from WCVB in Boston, said that D'Qwell Jackson noticed that the ball he intercepted in the first half felt deflated.

WCVB:
Sources tell SportsCenter 5's Mike Lynch that D'Qwell Jackson, of the Indianapolis Colts, intercepted a pass before the end of the first half of the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots Sunday night and told his equipment manager that the ball felt under-inflated, leading to the so-called 'deflategate' controversy.

Both reports have since been contradicted.

The NFL's VIP of officiating, Dean Blandino, gave a press conference prior to the SuperBowl, as is typical of SuperBowl festivities. Big surprise, DeflateGate came up. The insight gained from Blandino is probably the biggest real development in the entire case. Reason being, it actually came straight from the horse's mouth.

Blandino said that the officials don't log air pressure prior to the game, they just approve or disapprove them. Interesting...

Appparently at the behest of the Colts, the officials did gauge the air pressure of the balls at halftime. On the morning of the Super Bowl, Ian Rappaport of NFL.com reported that in fact only one of the balls was two PSI under regulation. The rest were "just a few ticks" under.

This directly contradicts the ESPN report that elevated the frenzy.

NFL.com:
Eleven of the 12 footballs used in the first half were judged by the officials to be under the minimum of 12.5 PSI, but just one was two pounds under. Many of them were just a few ticks under the minimum.

So, in regards to how many footballs were under two PSI...who knows what to believe?

How did the whole thing start? That's a little hard to tell too.

The report about D'Qwell Jackson noticing that the football was deflated was refuted by just about everyone almost immediately after it came out. Even Kravtiz himself dismissed the idea.

WTHR:
"D'Qwell Jackson told me Monday he did not notice the ball seemed under-inflated, but my source tells me that's when Colts became suspicious," WTHR.com's Bob Kravitz confirms.

That was ignored, and the report was taken as fact (Read more about that in this column). That is, until Jackson came out himself to say that he couldn't tell any difference in the ball.



So, Jackson did not notice the ball was deflated, but someone on the Colts apparently did. Specfically, Colts GM Ryan Grigson.

Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk:
NFL Executive V.P. of Football Operations Troy Vincent confirmed in an interview that will air on Showtime tonight that Grigson told the NFL in the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game that the Patriots might be tampering with the footballs.
Make sure that tinfoil is nice and tight, because here's the next bit.

Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk:
As one league source has explained it to PFT, the football intercepted by Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson was roughly two pounds under the 12.5 PSI minimum. The other 10 balls that reportedly were two pounds under may have been, as the source explained it, closer to one pound below 12.5 PSI.

How could the Patriots balls be slightly deflated? Well, it's been shown as scientifically possible for atmospheric and climatic conditions to cause a change in the air pressure of a football. Bill Belichick ran his own experiment, as did companies like HeadSmart Labs. (Read our column on the "science" in DeflateGate here)

So, the Colts had their hands on one of the Patriots balls, and that was the one that was so far under regulation. Enter the conspiracy theory.

Michael Hurley:
You’re going to tell me that the Colts didn’t manipulate that football before submitting it? The team that fired off the accusations of cheating didn’t take an extra step or two to make sure they were right by sticking a needle in that football and letting it drain for a few seconds before handing it over to the league and saying, “Hey, the Patriots are using underinflated footballs, so you need to investigate”?

It makes logical sense, but Hurley threw this out there as a joke. Like just about everything involving DeflateGate, it's speculation .

All of the information we have been given on DeflateGate is contradictory. It's impossible to draw any real conclusions. These are reports, do not take any of this as fact, even though that is the irrestistible urge in this entertainment driven twitter controversy world.

Don't go fooling yourself, Ryan Grigson deflated the Colts balls as much as the "elderly" Patriots employee did in his 98 second trip to the bathroom.

We just have no idea. Each theory is as unfounded and ridiculous as the other.

In the end, this is Schefter's point. His words will be taken out of context and freely interpreted by Patriots fans and haters alike. really though, he's staying in the middle on this one.

Right now, there's no other place to be.

And there are other people who I’ve spoken with who say ‘Ah, come on, there is something that happened with those footballs. How could you deny it? How could these balls come out to be where they’re out in the measurements and the Colts’ are fine.

My thing on this is I’d like to believe people that I’ve known and trusted and liked for a long time. That’s No. 1. And No. 2: Let’s let Ted Wells determine what’s right and what’s wrong. Why do I have to determine it?

Follow me on Twitter @MichaelASaver

Read more of my work at PatriotsLife here

Read more of my work at CelticsLife here

Michael Saver 2/08/2015 05:21:00 PM Edit
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