Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss Deflategate and preview the Super Bowl. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

“The Patriots might be the most polarizing team in all of sports,” Schefter said, discussing how the controversy has grown. “People love them and people despise them.”

Added Schefter: “There are going to be some people that are naturally disposed to taking their shots and wanting there to be an extreme form of punishment given to them. … It’s the week before the Super Bowl, if there’s a whiff of controversy, it’s going to take on a life of its own, and this certainly has.”

Schefter is cautious about passing judgment on the Patriots or the league with so little information available so far.

“Let’s see how this all works out here, let’s see what the evidence actually is,” he said. “A lot of people want to jump to conclusions. … The league wants to be very thorough and methodical in its investigation. … They can’t afford any form of embarrassment.”

Schefter said he does not believe that the issue will be resolved any time soon.

“When I spoke to people earlier in the week, there’s not going to be any discipline until after the Super Bowl, if there were any discipline.”

Schefter said he believed Tom Brady‘s claim that the QB was unaware of the issue until Monday morning.

Bill [Belichick] spoke with more conviction than Tom did … I believed what Tom Brady was saying, I really did,” he said.

Added Schefter: “It’s a difficult situation for everybody right now because they want answers as to how any of these footballs that allegedly were deflated got the way they were, and we don’t have that right now. … I don’t want to be naive to think that nothing happened, but it’s possible nothing did. It’s possible that they didn’€™t take the measurements at the right time. There’s so many different explanations.”

When asked how the controversy will affect the PatsSuper Bowl performance, Schefter said: “A lot of this, I think, plays into the Patriots’ hands. … They feel like it’s them against the world.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

FOXBORO — Rob Gronkowski isn’t about to get into a trash talking war with Jeremy Lane – or anyone else for that matter – leading up to Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale.

For that reason, he took the high road on Friday when asked for reaction to scouting report of Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane that Gronk is “not that good a player.”

“Everyone’€™s entitled to their own opinion,” Gronkowski said Friday. “They’€™ve got a great defense overall. We’€™ve got to be worried about their whole defense. We’€™ve got to be sure we practice hard, prepare hard all week so we’€™re ready to roll.”

Does it tick Gronkowski off? Will it motivate him?

“I just keep doing what I’€™ve got to do.” Gronkowski said. “I’€™ve just got to keep working hard at practice, keep bringing it at practice, keep preparing. Just keep getting ready, because it’€™s not just one player on their defense, there’€™s 11 guys out there at the same time. It’€™s not just 11, they’€™ve got the backups, too. So I’€™ve got to prepare for their whole defense, no doubt about that.

“I’€™ve got much respect for the Seattle Seahawks throughout their whole team. Just got to keep working hard and practicing and getting ready for the game. Bring it out there on the field.”

All of this began Thursday when Lane, who stands six feet tall, was asked by reporters what makes Gronkowski, who is six inches taller and about 80 pounds heavier, so good.

“I actually don’t think he’s that good,” Lane replied. “He’s OK. He does have a big body. But from what I’ve seen on tape, he doesn’t like you putting your hands on him. So if we put our hands on him and shake him up a little bit, he won’t catch that many balls.”

Gronkowski was a unanimous Associated Press All-Pro selection in 2014 after catching 82 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was asked again toward the end of the seven-minute session with reporters Friday what he really thought of Lane’s comment.

“Thank you,” Gronkowski said, with a big smile.

“I’€™m super excited, no doubt about that,” Gronkowski said. “I can’€™t wait, it’€™s going to be a lot of fun. Definitely playing a great opponent. I’€™m super pumped and excited.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck joined Middays with MFB on Friday morning to discuss Deflategate and his team’s reaction to it.

Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck joined Middays with MFB on Friday morning to discuss Deflategate and his team’s reaction to it. To hear the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.

“For me and my teammates, we’re pretty surprised how big this thing has gotten,” the former Boston College QB said. “For us, they kicked our butts. … So I think for us, that’s all it was. It wasn’t anything about footballs or anything about that. It was about, you know what, we’ve got to reevaluate everything that we know about how to beat this team, because clearly what we’ve tried hasn’t even come close to working.”

Hasselbeck said he learned of the controversy after the game while heading out of town with his team, and the Colts were not very concerned with it.

“I had no idea that by Monday it would be the story that it was,” Hasselbeck said. “For me it’s not even that big of a competitive advantage, if true.”

A former Patriots ball boy (when his father played for the team), Hasselbeck said the Colts players had “no reaction” when hearing the news.

“I think we were just deflated and probably just a little embarrassed about how uncompetitive the game was. It just wasn’t even a competitive game,” he said. adding: “For us as players, even with the knowledge, even with it coming across our Twitter timeline, was not a big deal. It wasn’t something even most guys understood. No one cares. Even now, I would say, if you polled the guys on our defense or the guys up front, no one cares. They want it to go away probably as much as the Patriots do. They just want a chance to redo the game next year, hopefully if we’re lucky enough to get back to the playoffs and play them again.”

As for people suggesting that Tom Brady should be suspended for the Super Bowl, Hasselbeck dismissed that thought.

“Even if true, it’s not that much of a competitive advantage,” he said. “To me, it’s not that big of a deal. I could see maybe if someone gets caught lying and someone gets mad and says, ‘Hey, you should have lied to us. Now we’re mad.’ But to me the whole deflate football thing is not that big of a deal, whatever the PSI is.

“And I think I could tell, I think I could tell easily with my eyes closed, with the ball in my hand. But even then, I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”

Hasselbeck guessed that the issue might have been made larger because of the magnitude of an AFC championship game.

“This is not like a normal game,” he said, adding: “Maybe no one would notice on a normal game, but everyone’s going to notice on this game.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Nik Beimler

FOXBORO — With all the controversy surrounding the Patriots, Julian Edelman stood at his locker with dozens of media members surrounding him and multiple TV cameras all wanting to ask questions about Deflategate.

Julian Edelman wants to move past Deflategate ( Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Julian Edelman wants to move past Deflategate ( Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — With all the controversy surrounding the Patriots, Julian Edelman stood at his locker with dozens of media members surrounding him and multiple TV cameras all wanting to ask questions about Deflategate.

Edelman wasn’t any mood to talk about it, and said his focus is on the Seahawks and next Sunday’s Super Bowl.

“I’m more worried about Seattle and what Seattle does on defense and special teams. That is what I am worried about,” said Edelman.

Did he notice anything different about the footballs between the first half and the second half in last AFC championship game?

“I didn’t notice anything. My mind is on Seattle,” Edelman said.

Seattle finished the season 12-4 — like the Patriots — and won the NFC West. The Seahawks came from behind to stun the Packers in overtime in last weekend’s memorable NFC championship game.

Edelman knows the Seahawks are a tough team and it will be a tough task for New England.

“They are a really good team,” said Edelman. “They came back against an unbelievable team in Green Bay and played the situations out correctly. They executed some tough plays — the onside kick, getting the ball back, scoring, executing the overtime situation —  they are a fundamentally sound team when it comes to all that stuff. It is definitely going to be a tough task.”

Next week will be Edelman’s second Super Bowl, as he was in his second year in 2011 for Super Bowl XLVI. He wasn’t even a factor in the offense, as his main role was as a kick returner. He returned three kicks for 73 yards in the game and did not record a catch.

Things will be much different for Edelman this time around, as he is no longer just a kick returner — he is one of Tom Brady‘s favorite targets on offense and a main part of the offensive game plan.

“It’s a different year then and was a different spot for me, so I am probably going to try and do the best I can to prepare myself and how I’ve prepared myself each and every day this year,” said Edelman.

“It’s a crazy week — the Super Bowl,” he added. “The last time I was there I remember kind of blocking out and trying to make it routine and going out and trying to prepare to the best of your ability and unfamiliarity. That is what I am worrying about right now.”

The biggest key for Super Bowl week according to Edelman is keeping things as normal as possible, despite being away from home and the craziness associated with the week.

“Just try and keep things as normal as possible, especially when you have a boatload of people always around you doing every thing. That is what you have to try and manage,” he said.

Seattle will be making their second straight trip to the Super Bowl, after blowing out the Broncos last year. The Seahawks are looking to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots did in 2004 and 2005.

“Seattle is a great team and it is going to be fun to compete against them,” Edelman said. “They are the defending champs and it is going to be good to see how we matchup.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The NFL released the following statement Friday afternoon in regard to its continuing investigation into the controversy surrounding the report of underinflated footballs being used in the AFC title game:

The NFL released the following statement Friday afternoon in regard to its continuing investigation into the controversy surrounding the report of underinflated footballs being used in the AFC title game:

“Our office has been conducting an investigation as to whether the footballs used in last Sunday’s AFC Championship Game complied with the specifications that are set forth in the playing rules. The investigation began based on information that suggested that the game balls used by the New England Patriots were not properly inflated to levels required by the playing rules, specifically Playing Rule 2, Section 1, which requires that the ball be inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch. Prior to the game, the game officials inspect the footballs to be used by each team and confirm that this standard is satisfied, which was done before last Sunday’s game.

“The investigation is being led jointly by NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash and Ted Wells of the law firm of Paul Weiss. Mr. Wells and his firm bring additional expertise and a valuable independent perspective. The investigation began promptly on Sunday night. Over the past several days, nearly 40 interviews have been conducted, including of Patriots personnel, game officials, and third parties with relevant information and expertise. We have obtained and are continuing to obtain additional information, including video and other electronic information and physical evidence. We have retained Renaissance Associates, an investigatory firm with sophisticated forensic expertise to assist in reviewing electronic and video information.

“The playing rules are intended to protect the fairness and integrity of our games. We take seriously claims that those rules have been violated and will fully investigate this matter without compromise or delay. The investigation is ongoing, will be thorough and objective, and is being pursued expeditiously. In the coming days, we expect to conduct numerous additional interviews, examine video and other forensic evidence, as well as relevant physical evidence. While the evidence thus far supports the conclusion that footballs that were under-inflated were used by the Patriots in the first half, the footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed at the conclusion of the game to have remained properly inflated. The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action. We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence.

“Upon being advised of the investigation, the Patriots promptly pledged their full cooperation and have made their personnel and other information available to us upon request. Our investigation will seek information from any and all relevant sources and we expect full cooperation from other clubs as well. As we develop more information and are in a position to reach conclusions, we will share them publicly.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

ESPN’s Mark Brunell joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss Deflategate and Tom Brady‘s role in it, a day after he indicated that he did not believe Brady’s assertion that he was not involved.

ESPN’s Mark Brunell joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss Deflategate and Tom Brady‘s role in it, a day after he indicated that he did not believe Brady’s assertion that he was not involved. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

“My opinion is I don’t believe Tom Brady was telling the truth,” Brunell said. “But I will say, I thought Bill Belichick, he came across as sincere. In my experiences with six different head coaches, never one time has the subject of the condition of the footballs on game day come up. Those guys have other things to do, much like coach Belichick. I don’t think he had any knowledge of it based on my history.

“But I do know the equipment guys, their No. 1 job on game day is to take care of the players, meet the needs of the players. … And at the top of that list is making sure those footballs are exactly how the starting quarterback wants them. That’s what I do know.”

Brunell became emotional on ESPN Thursday while discussing the press conference in which Brady denied any involvement in Deflategate.

“I was disappointed. I was surprised by what Tom had to say,” Brunell said. “Based on my experience as a quarterback and understanding the process of getting the ball prepared and getting it in the right condition and getting it onto the field during game day, I expected something totally different from Tom. I just didn’t believe that he had nothing to do with it.

“The NFL’s investigation made it very clear that those balls were deflated by two PSI. Somebody had to do it. And I just don’t think there’s an equipment guy in the NFL or anywhere, like I said, that would take it on himself to deflate the balls … That just doesn’t happen.”

Brunell said he did not expect Brady to take the approach he did.

“I don’t believe it was true,” Brunell said. “This is what I expected from Tom, honestly: I just thought he’d say, ‘Listen, I’ve gone on record as saying that I prefer the balls deflated.’ And whenever that was at some point in the past, months, maybe years ago, he says he’s communicated to an equipment guy, ‘If it’s OK, take some of the pressure out, that’s how I prefer it.’ I thought he’d come on and admit that. I thought he would say, ‘I made a mistake, it’s my responsibility, it will never happen again, I wanted a little air out of the balls but I didn’t realize it would be that much.’

“If that happens — because you could very easily see him saying that, or believe that was the case — if that happens, I think this story goes away real quick. Just taking some of the blame, admitting to a mistake and hopefully moving on. That’s what I thought I would hear from Tom Brady.”

Added Brunell: “I don’t think it’s that big a deal, to be honest with you. If Tom came out and said that, I think this goes away to a degree. The NFL will carry on its investigation. Maybe the team gets fined, maybe Tom gets fined or something.

“Listen, everybody loves Tom Brady. Everyone loves Tom Brady, respects him. If he wins this football game, he may be the best that’s ever played this game. And so if he just says, ‘You know what, I made a mistake. It was an oversight. I should have paid closer attention,’ I believe this goes away. Maybe it’s a fine or something. But now this story is going to continue. It’s going to carry into the Super Bowl and it’s going to go far beyond that. It just adds fuel to the fire. That’s just my opinion on it.”

Brunell said this controversy could end up dogging Brady for a long time.

“If this has been a pattern, if this has been going on for some time, I honestly believe that having a deflated ball is a competitive advantage. I really believe that. How long this has been going on remains to be seen,” Brunell said.

“But let me talk about his legacy: He will go on to be, like I said, one of the best, maybe the best ever. But unfortunately for Tom, this is going to travel with him. He’s going to carry this for some time. Now, the NFL investigation obviously is still going on, it has yet to be determined how this thing is going to play out. But much like Spygate is traveling with coach Belichick, unfortunately Deflategate is going to travel with Tom.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar