Editor's Note: The following contains sensitive language
Not much can rattle Tom Brady. But No. 12 was the most nervous man in the greater Foxboro area back on Jan. 23.
In a nationally broadcast press conference, Brady openly discussed how he likes his footballs on the lower side when it comes to air pressure. He also said that he had little interaction with Patriots employees who handle game day balls. Tha - at least - appears to be untrue, based on this text exchange between Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (equipment assistant for the Patriots), released in Wednesday's Wells Report on "Deflategate":
McNally: "Tom Sucks...I'm going to 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 ... I told him it was. He was right though ... I checked some of the balls this morning ... The refs fuck us ... a few of them were at almost 16. (nearly OVER-inflated) They didn't recheck them after they put air in them."
McNally: "Fuck Tom .... 16 is nothing ... wait till next Sunday."
Jastremski: "OMG! Spaz."
This interaction occurred after a game against the New York Jets in which Brady complained about air pressure. It's quite obvious from that exchange that Brady knows exactly who Jim McNally is and what he does. If you want to call Brady a liar for not openly saying back on Jan. 23 that he knew who Jim McNally was, that's fine.
The issue with painting Brady as the true bad guy in this whole thing is that it's not against the rules to prefer a football to have certain air pressure. And in the above conversation, it's tough to judge exactly what Brady was complaining about. Were the balls too hard or too soft for his liking in the Jets game?
Blowing up a ball to be a "balloon" could either mean that McNally's going to blow it up to be the size of a balloon (equaling over-inflation) or he's going to make the ball feel as light as a balloon (equaling under-inflation). The "16 is nothing" comment makes one think that McNally is going to go against Brady's wishes and actually over-inflate the balls in order to impress the refs.
Either way, it's clear that Brady cares (or cared) a good deal about air pressure. Does that make him a liar? Maybe. Does that make him 100 percent guilty for Deflategate and should he be suspended multiple games for the 2015 season? Um, no.