New England Patriots: GUILTY in DeflateGate, According to Investigator's Report

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If you're a football fan, you likely remember the scandal known as "DeflateGate," in which the New England Patriots were accused of using intentionally deflated footballs in their AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Pats-haters groused, Tom Brady talked about balls in a way that made us all giggle, but ultimately, nothing came of it, and the Patriots went on to defeat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.

Tom Brady Image

But while the world may have moved on to enjoying the sight of Rob Gronkowski chugging beer at victory parades, Ted Wells - an independent investigator hired by the NFL to look into the matter - has been digging deep into DeflateGate, and what he found may prove seriously embarrassing to the Pats:

"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," Wells writes in his 234-page report.

The report goes on identify a Patriots locker room attendant and an equipment manager as the parties most likely responsible for the "deliberate effort to release air from the Patriots' game balls after the balls were examined by a referee."

Even more damning is the report's claim that Brady was "at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities."

Leaked text messages sent between the locker room attendant (Jim McNally) and equipment assistant (John Jastremski) seem to reveal that they received cash and gifts from Brady in exchange for deflating game balls.

"Make sure you blow up the ball to look like a rugby ball so Tom [Brady] can get used to it before Sunday," McNally jokes at one point.

Two days later, before a Sunday game against the Chicago Bears, Jastremski texted, "I have a big needle for you this week."

"Better be surrounded by cash and new kicks or it's a rudby Sunday," McNally replied. "F-ck Tom."

Patriots owner Robert Kraft has issued a statement saying that he is "disappointed" by the report's findings. He adds that the investigation found no "incontrovertible or hard evidence of deflation of footballs" 

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