Picard: Deflategate an NFL issue, not a Patriots issue, from the start - Metro US

Picard: Deflategate an NFL issue, not a Patriots issue, from the start

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Poor Jim McNally,Patriots locker room attendant-turned-NFL villain overnight.

Guy was probably enjoying a relaxing championship offseason when he looked up at the TV to see his own face highlighted in an “Outside the Lines” report on ESPN.He tried to introduce an illegal special-teams football to an official during the AFC Championship game, said Kelly Naqi in her seemingly irresponsible report.

It comes at a time where some — those who either lack common sense, or those who have it out for the Patriots — are still trying to “find answers” to “Deflategate.”To them, any piece of information from the sidelines of the AFC Championship is important news, or is relevant to the “Deflategate” investigation.

As Naqi found out, that is not the case.

It’s one thing to see a locker-room attendant handing a football to an official that was not properly marked with a “K,” like all special-teams footballs are. It’s another thing to know the actual context of that exchange.

And in this report, context was non-existent.

A day later, Adam Schefter reported that an NFL official actually handed that football to McNally, because one of the special-teams balls was missing. So McNally then did his job, and handed the ball off to the official — Greg Yette — who was in charge of putting those special-teams balls in play.


It infuriates me to no end that the original report was made without any details of the exchange between McNally and Yette. And also, if this report was a knee-jerk reaction to “Deflategate” — which it was — then how about some information on the condition of that football which McNally gave to Yette?

If this was such a scheme to sneak an illegal football into a game, then please, tell us about that football. Sure, it wasn’t marked with a “K” like the rest of the special-teams balls, but was there anything illegal about it?Yet another major piece of information that was missing in the original report.

Without details of the football, and without any context into McNally’s exchange with Yette, this should have never even been reported. McNally’s name should have never been known. His face should have never been highlighted in the background of the Patriots’ sideline, as if he’s some type of criminal dressed in Patriots apparel, on the run for a monstrous act.

This story is about the league. It’s about the NFL. It’s about how officials don’t actually give a damn about a football’s PSI level before a game. It’s about NFL sideline employees who steal footballs and sell them for their own profit, instead of sending them to charities like they’re supposed to.

From Day 1, this should have been reported as a league issue. Nothing more, nothing less.

Instead, it’s turned a Patriots locker-room attendant into a villain.

And if anyone deserves an apology, it’s Jim McNally.

Listen to “The Danny Picard Show” every weekday at dannypicard.com. Danny can also be heard weekends on WEEI 93.7 FM and seen on Comcast SportsNet New England.

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