As expected, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski drew a very large crowd at Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday. He did not disappoint.
Gronk was his typical fun-loving self. Naturally, Rich Shertenlieb from 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich Show” asked Gronkowski about the erotica novel that was recently published in his honor. Shertenlieb even got Gronk to read the following passage from “A Gronking to Remember.”
“In front of the entire country, Gronk’s spike impacts right between my buttcheeks.”
We’re not surprised that the guy who blatantly hits on reporters was more than willing to accommodate a question about “A Gronking to Remember. Somehow Gronk reading that reminded me of an 11-year-old checking out his first Playboy.
Video via The Big Lead
- Rob Gronkowski
We all know that Super Bowl Media Day brings about some absolutely absurd questions for coaches and players. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy has already taken the cake this year.
After asking Belichick if he remembers the time the two met in Nantucket, Mass., Portnoy told the New England Patriots coach that he will murder someone for him if need be.
“Moving forward, if you need anybody murdered this next week (lists several names), I’m your guy,” Portnoy said with conviction. “You just tell me who to take out, no questions asked.”
The names Portnoy listed were those of some Boston sports media guys and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. To say that Portnoy — or “El Pres” as he is known to the Barstool fans — subscribes to this theory about Deflategate would be a massive understatement.
Photo via @stoolsalesguy
Marshawn Lynch took the podium at Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday, and he was completely honest with reporters right from the start.
The Seattle Seahawks running back started with a brief opening statement that explained that he had no intention of putting thought into any question. Lynch told reporters that he was going to answer every question with “I’m just here so I won’t get fined,” and he did just that.
Lynch stayed for just over four minutes — the required time — and uttered the same eight words over and over. He did deviate from his plan briefly to call a female reporter “sexy.”
At one point, Deion Sanders approached him and asked a couple of questions. If you remember, Sanders got Lynch to open up at Media Day last year and held a short interview with him during which Lynch coined one of his most famous phrases. Lynch indicated that he intended to speak with Sanders later.
As expected, it was more of the same media snubbing from one of the NFL’s most intriguing players.
Video via Jay Busbee
The New England Patriots arrived in Arizona on Monday evening, spoke to the media a few hours later and then headed off to their respective hotel rooms. The players and coaches may not have slept that well, but that has nothing to do with Deflategate.
According to NFL Network’s Jeff Darlington, a fire alarm went off for about 10 minutes at the Patriots hotel early Tuesday morning, beginning at about 1:30 a.m. The hotel referred to the situation as an “anomaly” and said there was no fire or immediate danger in the building.
Fire alarm lasted maybe 10 minutes. No big deal. Nothing these players didn't face during college away games once in a while. Just… loud.
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) January 27, 2015
Coincidence? Possibly. The 12th man getting an early jump on torturing the Pats? We wouldn’t rule it out.
We have heard of college football fans blatantly harassing opposing players at hotels, but these types of stories are more rare at the professional level. While the Patriots may have just gotten unlucky, they’ll undoubtedly be hoping it doesn’t happen again. They have enough distractions to deal with this week.
How polarizing of an issue is Deflategate? Let’s just say a former NFL quarterback — one who recently was released from prison after serving two years — felt so strongly about it that he decided to send his first tweet in nearly three years.
On Monday, Leaf criticized the NFL for reportedly obtaining a video of a Patriots locker room attendant doing something suspicious with footballs but not being able to get its hands on the infamous Ray Rice elevator video.
It's troubling that the NFL can find the video of a locker room attendant in a week and never see the Rice elevator video ever!
— Ryan D Leaf (@RyanDLeaf) January 27, 2015
Leaf isn’t the only person who feels that way, and that is likely one of the reasons the NFL has hired a private firm to literally do a forensic investigation into whether the Patriots intentionally deflated footballs. The league is trying to prove it is competent in the wake of the Rice disaster.
Leaf, a former No. 2 overall draft pick, is considering one of the biggest busts in NFL history. He was released from a Montana prison last month after serving more than two years of a five-year sentence for breaking into houses and stealing prescription drugs.
If some of the recent reports we have heard about Deflategate are true, the NFL could end up looking incompetent once again.
Every year, at least one athlete or celebrity mocks his or herself in a Super Bowl commercial. Kim Kardashian will be doing the honors for Super Bowl XLIX.
Kim K. has teamed up with T-Mobile for an ad spot that promotes the wireless provider’s new “Data Stash” program. As you can see, Kardashian encourages people to save their data to they can see more of her obnoxious selfies. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s actually a pretty clever idea.
Last year, it was Tim Tebow mocking himself for his NFL career not going as planned.
Video via Ad Age
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On Monday, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported that the NFL has reviewed a video of a New England Patriots locker room attendant taking balls from the officials’ locker room into another room before bringing them out onto the field. At first, it looked like that video could be the smoking gun the NFL needs in the Deflategate investigation. Now, we’re not so sure.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the room that the Pats employee went into was a bathroom. He or she allegedly brought all 24 game balls — 12 from the Patriots and 12 from the Colts — into the bathroom for less than two minutes.
First, per a league source, the other “area on way to field” is a bathroom. The bathroom consists of one toilet and one sink and a door that locks from the inside.
Second, according to the same source, the person carried two bags of balls into the bathroom: the 12 balls to be used by the Patriots and the 12 balls to be used by the Colts.
Third, from the same source, the evidence comes from a surveillance video that was discovered by the Patriots and given to the NFL early in the investigation.
Fourth, again from the same source, the video shows the employee in the bathroom for approximately 90 seconds.
We know what you’re thinking, and we’re wondering the same — did the person wash his or her hands? Man, we hope so.
If true, this would help explain why Bill Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft have had no problem essentially calling out the NFL. On Monday night, Kraft had some incredibly strong words regarding the investigation and the way the media portion of it is being handled.
Is 90 seconds enough time to deflate 10 or 11 game balls? Or is the report we shared with you from earlier today about the officials not doing their jobs really what happened here?
Deflategate has reached absurd levels, and there are dozens of reports out there from credible sources. Most of them are directly conflicting. While it’s possible that the NFL has hard evidence against the Patriots and is waiting until after the Super Bowl to share it, the league seems to be looking worse by the day.
What the NFL will likely do is review surveillance footage from locker rooms that the Patriots visited and from home games they played earlier in the season. If a locker room attendant takes game balls into the bathroom before every game, the Patriots would look more guilty.
Many have questioned the role of the officials in Deflategate, and rightfully so. A huge part of the NFL’s investigation will be determining if the New England Patriots’ game balls were tested, approved and then had air taken out of them. According to one Boston sports radio station, only some of that happened.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich Show” reports that the Patriots turned in their game balls slightly under-inflated and an official — presumably head referee Walt Anderson — signed off on them. The show’s source indicated that a pressure gauge was not used.
Of course, this report directly conflicts others that we have already shared with you. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe was told that all 48 of the footballs — 12 game balls for each team and 12 backup balls — were tested with a pressure gauge and approved.
Unless the NFL can provide documentation proving that an official stuck a needle inside of each ball and measure the PSI, the league will have a problem on its hands. As we mentioned before, the NFL could be trying to cover for its officials and prove they were not negligent before an important playoff game.
Some comments Aaron Rodgers made last week are one of the reasons I have not ruled out the possibility of the officials not doing their job. Rodgers admitted that he likes the ball to have as much air in it as possible and gets annoyed when the referees take air out.
“I have a major problem with the way it goes down, to be honest with you,” Rodgers said on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show. “The majority of the time, they take air out of the football. I think that, for me, is a disadvantage.”
If referees always used a pressure gauge and never did a squeeze test (like this former ball boy indicated they do), why would the Packers ever try to slip over-inflated footballs through the cracks?
Another question worth asking: If the NFL tried to run a sting operation against the Patriots, shouldn’t they have informed their officials and told them to be diligent?
Perhaps this is one reason Patriots owner Robert Kraft basically called out the NFL on Monday night. Let’s assume for a second that Toucher and Rich’s report is accurate. If that’s the case, it would be up to the fans to decide if the Patriots cheated. Most people have already made up their minds about Deflategate and the evidence is irrelevant. To me, you can’t really cheat with footballs that were inspected by an official and approved for play.
Former NBA player and basketball analyst Greg Anthony was arrested two weeks ago for soliciting a prostitute as part of a sting operation. Now we have some details about the case.
The Washington Post reports that Anthony responded to an ad he saw on backpage.com that was posted by the undercover officer. The ad was for an escort.
The Post provides the details:
According to the charging documents, when the undercover officer arrived at Anthony’s room around 5:45 p.m. the undercover officer said it cost $80 for sex. Anthony immediately tried to rebuff such talk and said “Oh I don’t wanna say all that.” The undercover officer responded “I just need to know so I don’t have any surprises.”
After the two discussed the type of sex, the undercover officer then asked “You want me to dress up?” Anthony responded “oh yeah.” No further details were given.
Anthony was arrested at a DoubleTree hotel in Washington, D.C., where he was staying ahead of a Maryland-Michigan State game he was scheduled to broadcast for CBS. The sting operation apparently was created as a response to complaints of prostitution in the area.
Perhaps it was just a matter of time before the ex-player-turned broadcaster was busted for this considering he allegedly has a prostitution habit.
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Robert Kraft usually sits up in the owner’s box and enjoys watching his team win football games, leaving the coaching, playing and media responsibilities to his employees. But, on Monday, Kraft decided to face the media straight on to defend his franchise against the “deflategate” controversy.
“If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs, I would expect and hope the league would apologize to our entire team, and in particular to Coach Belichick and Tom Brady, for what they’ve had to endure this week,” Kraft said in a prepared statement from which he read. “I’m disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled and reported upon. We expect hard facts rather than circumstantial leaked evidence to drive the conclusion of this investigation.”
Kraft could have very easily let Bill Belichick and Brady handle the defense for this just like they did on Friday and Saturday, but he decided to double-down on his men by standing behind them.
“I want to make it clear, I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots have done nothing inappropriate in this process or are in violation of NFL rules,” Kraft said. “Tom, Bill and I have been together for 15 years. They are my guys. They are part of my family. Bill, Tom and I have had many difficult discussions over the years. I’ve never known them to lie to me. That’s why I’m confident in saying what I just said.
“It bothers me greatly their reputations and integrity – and by association that of our team – has been called into question this week.”
Patriots fans will love his defense because it gives them even more reason to have faith in their team. Doubters like myself will point out that throughout sports history, guys like Ryan Braun and Lance Armstrong have taught us that the more aggressive the denial, the more guilty the party in question.
The bottom line here is that most of the public has made up their mind about whether or not the Patriots cheated. How severe of a violation is it? How does it rank compared to some of the other cheating throughout the league? Those are other questions to debate. But short of the NFL finding a video of someone wearing Patriots gear walking into the officials’ locker room with a pump in hand deflating footballs, the league won’t have sufficient evidence to punish the team. That’s probably one of the big reasons why Kraft feels safe defending his team. That and because he has to protect the Brady/Belichick/Kraft legacy which has produced an incredible three Super Bowl wins and six Super Bowl trips.