The New England Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX (or “49” for people who know Roman numerals are completely pointless), but their victory did not come without controversy. After winning the AFC Championship Game, the Pats were accused of deliberately under-inflating their footballs to make them easier to throw. Today, the NFL finally revealed the results of their investigation over the incident, which people have been calling “Deflategate” because the media has no creativity when it comes to naming scandals, and they concluded it’s “more probable than not” that two Patriots employees deliberately released air from the balls and also that Patriots QB Tom Brady probably knew about it.
The two employees, John Jastremski (an equipment assistant) and Jim McNally (the referees locker room attendant for the Patriots), sent several incriminating texts to each other that indicate their guilt. Here’s a quote from the report:
In the weeks and months before the AFC Championship Game, McNally periodically exchanged text messages with the Patriots equipment assistant primarily responsible for the preparation of the Patriots game balls, John Jastremski. In a number of those text messages, McNally and Jastremski discussed the air pressure of Patriots game balls, Tom Brady’s unhappiness with the inflation level of Patriots game balls, Jastremski’s plan to provide McNally with a “needle” for use by McNally, and McNally’s requests for “cash” and sneakers together with the “needle” to be provided by Jastremski.
Here are a couple of the actual exchanges. They’re pretty amazing.
McNally: Tom sucks…im going make that next ball a fuckin balloon
Jastremski: Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done…
Jastremski: I told him it was. He was right though…
Jastremski: I checked some of the balls this morn… The refs fucked us…a few of then were at almost 16
Jastremski: They didnt recheck then after they put air in them
McNally: Fuck tom …16 is nothing…wait till next sunday
Jastremski: I have a big needle for u this week
McNally: Better be surrounded by cash and newkicks….or its a rugby sunday
McNally: Fuck tom
Jastremski: Maybe u will have some nice size 11s in ur locker
McNally: Tom must really be working your balls hard this week
Well, that’s pretty damning. Jastremski all but said, “Hey, Tom Brady will give you a bunch of cash if you deflate those balls,” and McNally just said, “Sounds good.” Also, they both really seem to hate a guy they’re conspiring with to cheat a professional sports league.
According to the report that besides Jastremski, McNally and Brady, there’s no evidence that any other member of the Patriots organization was involved in the conspiracy. Still, Robert Kraft will probably regret saying this after the Super Bowl:
Sorry, Bill Belichick haters. Turns out the mastermind of New England’s Super Bowl machine isn’t entirely evil. But you can continue bashing Tom Brady for making a football slightly lighter in a game the Patriots won 45-7. Clearly that slightly lower PSI was the only thing separating those two teams.
Joseph Misulonas is an editorial assistant for Playboy.com. He rooted for the Patriots in the Super Bowl because he likes cheering for villains. He can be found on Twitter at @jmisulonas.