Deflategate has perplexed and paralyzed Sports Nation – a bizarre, unlikely and brazen act of cheating, a bulky NFL investigation that comes to no definitive conclusion, a four-game suspension for the league’s marquee quarterback, a black eye for a rogue franchise that’s run out of eyes to be blackened.
Yet nobody knows exactly what happened, for sure.
Couch Slouch has confirmed the events of Jan. 18, 2015 just prior to the Colts-Patriots playoff game. I have obtained previously unobtainable surveillance video through a woman I met in Pilates class who works for ADT, plus pieced together other facts not caught on camera that day from an unimpeachable, anonymous source not authorized to speak publicly on the matter because he never gets anything right.
I can tell you this much before you read my report – Tom Brady might not be guilty, but he might not be innocent either.
Here’s how it all unfolded that fateful Sunday afternoon:
2 p.m. ET: Tom Brady arrives at Gillette Stadium and drops off bag of 17 autographed footballs, one autographed game-worn jersey and 13 pairs of autographed Uggs near locker room attendant Jim McNally’s desk in Patriots’ locker-room-attendant suite.
2:15: McNally arrives, changes in parking lot out of his “Deflator” T-shirt into his locker-room-attendant garb.
2:30: Brady runs into McNally in boiler room and tells him, “Make sure to set the pressure of the footballs within the rules. If you happen to set it two pounds under the minimum, I don’t want to know about it.”
2:45: Brady runs into equipment assistant John Jastremski in electrical room and tells him, “Make sure Jim sets the pressure of the football within the rules.” And then he winks at him with his left (non-passing) eye.
3:00: A Colts front-office official and an NFL executive vice president meet at a Buffalo Wild Wings three miles from Gillette Stadium. Curiously, they order no food or drink.
3:15: LeGarrette Blount “is at least generally aware” how fortunate he is, after a season in which he was arrested for marijuana possession and subsequently cut by the Steelers, to be playing in the AFC championship game. Well, maybe not.
3:30: It is more probable than not that Rob Gronkowski will party like it’s 1999 and 2000 if the Patriots win to advance to the Super Bowl.
3:45: Robert Kraft declines to accept charges on collect call from Aaron Hernandez.
4:00: Bill Belichick double-checks audio and visual feed from visitors’ locker room.
4:15: Brady calls home, asks Gisele to bring him his Old Spice he left on the nightstand.
4:30: McNally sends text to Jastremski: “forgot football pump at IHOP this morning – do you have backup?”
4:45: Jastremski texts back to McNally: “I have spalding inflating needles 2-pak; that’s all you need. taco bell tonight?”
5:00: Belichick contacts team’s AV director to make sure Andrew Luck’s helmet-radio communications can be picked up in Patriots’ coaching box.
5:15: McNally confiscates 12 Patriots footballs out of officials’ area, then mistakenly goes into women’s bathroom. In his haste to leave, he drops one of the footballs.
5:30: McNally goes into men’s bathroom and takes 60 seconds to deflate 11 balls. He then takes 40 seconds using the hand dryer.
5:45: Referee Walt Anderson wanders out of referees’ green room and says to no one in particular, “Damn, where are my game balls?”
6:00: An unidentified female finds a football in women’s bathroom, takes it to back judge Keith Ferguson just outside stadium tunnel.
6:15: Kraft, after vowing two weeks earlier never to criticize kitchen staff serving game-day meals to the owner’s box, sends back his chateaubriand with a note stating “we are disappointed in the seasoning, and while I respect the independent process of the food preparation, the time, effort and resources expended to provide such a low quality of meat are incomprehensible.”
6:30: Brady calls his agent and tells him to prepare a blistering, nonstop attack on NFL in case league drafts a flimsy, 243-page report semi-indicting him.
8:05: Brady completes 11 of 21 passes in first half of Patriots’ 45-7 win. All 11 completions are with 11 underinflated balls, all 10 incompletions are with properly inflated ball.
Ask The Slouch
Q. When teams are losing near the end of a hockey game, they pull the goalie so they can get an extra man on the ice. When you were losing an argument with one of your ex-wives, were you allowed to bring in any help? (Carlo Berto; Arlington, Virginia)
A. When you’re always behind, 73-0, it doesn’t matter who you bring in.
Q. I believe that the NFL is a sort of moral beacon to other professional leagues. Do you think that the penalties imposed on the Patriots, because of a stricter reading of the rules and regulations, will encourage a lesser league like the NBA to begin enforcing the “traveling” violation? (Nelson Marr; Washington, D.C.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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