Earlier today Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported that the NFL's investigation into how 11 of the 12 footballs the Patriots used in the AFC Championship Game became deflated had zeroed in on a "person of interest": a Patriots locker room attendant. Surveillance video reportedly shows this person of interest taking the footballs from the referees's locker room into "another room" before bringing them to the field.
Now, via ProFootballTalk, we know a few other pieces of information:
- The room was a small bathroom with a sink, toilet, and a lock
- The person of interest brought both the Patriots' and the Colts' bags of footballs in
- The person of interest was in the bathroom for about 90 seconds
That's right, the NFL's investigation centers on somebody who—in 90 seconds—is supposed to have walked into a bathroom, taken out 11 footballs, precisely deflated each of these to Tom Brady's high deflated-ball standards, put 11 balls back in the bag, and strolled out of the bathroom whistling "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay." Occam's razor suggests that the locker room attendant wanted to take a quick piss, but Mike Florio suggests something else was going on here:
Could the employee have fished 12 balls out of a fairly large bag, deflated each of them by two pounds, put them back into the bag, and exited the bathroom in roughly 90 seconds? That question will surely become the centerpiece of the next red state/blue state debate between folks who have determined that the Patriots have done something wrong and those who are staunchly defending the franchise.
The answer to the question posed is, "No, the employee could not have, unless the employee is The Flash." The Patriots may well have "done something wrong," but the only wrong thing that happened in that bathroom was when the attendant sat the footballs that Tom Brady knows so intimately on the piss-soaked floor.
Photo via Rob Carr/Getty