If you thought deflategate was already crazy, just wait until you hear the latest report from ESPN's Adam Schefter this afternoon.
Appearing on ESPN's Outside the Lines, the NFL Insider dropped this stunning nugget (quote courtesy of WTHR's Bob Kravitz):
"Several NFL officials are in charge of handling balls on game day, and one of those officials is in charge of removing specific kicking-game balls that are targeted for charity. According to my source, that official is alleged to have been selling for profit the balls targeted for charity. When he removed a ball during the AFC title game, it was noticed that a ball was missing, and he tried to replace it with a ball that he handed to McNally to pass along to game officials in the first half. That NFL official has since been fired for trying to sell balls on his own, according to my source. Additionally, another NFL official, also noticing a missing ball, gave another ball to an equipment manager in the second half to pass along to game officials. My source tells me that all of this is confirmed on video and everything is in the hands of the Wells investigation."
Did you get that? So apparently, there's an NFL employee who has been selling footballs on the side and he took one of the balls from the AFC Championship game between the Colts and the Patriots and attempted to sell it. Last night a report surfaced of a Patriots' locker room attendant giving an illegal football to the officials, and it sounds like perhaps that football was given to him by this league official. If you thought that the story was already crazy, it just got a whole lot more so.
I don't even know what to say about this story anymore, but I think the New York Post's Bart Hubbuch makes a good point:
No way the NFL can penalize the Patriots for this now. The league's sloppiness and ineptitude would be exposed, too.— Bart Hubbuch (@BartHubbuch) February 18, 2015
How can the NFL, with one of their league officials taking one of the footballs and attempting to sell it, discipline the Patriots for using underinflated footballs? It's a mess, and the investigation better wrap up soon so that, whatever the result, we can move on from the story and the mess of a way the league has handled it.
I have no idea what to make of this anymore, but I think that Bill Polian put it best: "I don't think we know anything at this point."