For much of the past two weeks, the Patriots have faced questions about whether they used deliberately deflated footballs in the AFC title game win over the Colts, eventually leading the NFL to tap Ted Wells to launch an investigation that will take several more weeks.
While owner Robert Kraft and every other member of the Patriots have declared innocence, Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday that, "we have made no judgments" thus far.
But over the course of the last two weeks, multiple sources have shed light on the situation surrounding the Patriots, their 12 game-day footballs, and deflation. Here is what they've said:
>> Prior to the game, a game-day worker employed by the Patriots, a man described as elderly, took two bags of 12 footballs (one bag from each team) into the restroom near the referees' room in Gillette Stadium. The man was in the room for 98 seconds. When he exited the room, he took the balls to the field. There is video of the man entering and exiting the bathroom, but it's unclear if there is a clear shot inside the restroom.
>> That the man entered the restroom prior to walking with the footballs onto the field was discovered by the Patriots, and video footage was quickly turned over to Ted Wells for his investigation.
>> When coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were told there were questions about the footballs, both were incredulous. Belichick indicated privately what he said publicly: That he had little knowledge of what went into pregame footballs. Brady told someone close to him that he works on the footballs all week, then has no idea what happens to them on gameday.
>> 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.
>> Many of the footballs used in the AFC title game, which all have Walt Anderson's initials on them, were returned to circulation among the rest of the Patriots game-day footballs. Because Anderson was the referee for two other Patriots games this season, there are more than 30 footballs with his initials in the team's possession. It appears the league has the football D'Qwell Jackson intercepted and took to the sidelines to ultimately hand over to his equipment staff.
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