In the middle of today's Outside The Lines, Adam Schefter broke in to report a new version of events in the Patriots' ball-deflation scandal: one league employee—his use of the word "official" is confusing here—at the AFC title game, who was later fired by the NFL, switched out a game ball with the intent to sell it on the side. Then: complete radio silence from ESPN.
Yeah, it's really confusing. And it doesn't explain how the underinflated footballs entered into the equation.
Here's a transcript of Schefter's remarks:
This seems like big news! And yet, since OTL interrupted its scheduled programming to air Schefter's report, there hasn't been anything. No Schefter Facebook explanation, as he usually does. No ESPN.com story. Nothing on TV; Schefter appeared on the show following Outside The Lines and didn't mention it at all.
So, what's going on?
Update (6:52 p.m.): ESPN now has a story up on the site for Schefter's report, with a 6:46 p.m. timestamp. Here's a somewhat clearer explanation:
The source said one of the "K balls," which are used only for special-teams play, went missing, and an NFL official in charge of collecting balls for charity gave another ball to Jim McNally, who works the officials' locker room at Patriots games.
McNally then gave it to Greg Yette, an alternate official who was in charge of putting the K balls into play. When Yette saw that ball did not have the pregame marking that referee Walt Anderson had put on the ball, he became suspicious and alerted NFL officials in the press box, a source told "Outside The Lines."
A source told Schefter that the man in charge of collecting balls for charity has been fired by the league for selling the footballs meant for charity for a profit over a period of time.
The source said that a different NFL official also handed a ball to an equipment manager to be passed along to Yette later in the game.