Official who was suspicious of Jim McNally told some lies of his own
Former NFL head linesman Mark Baltz took aim at New England Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally in a recent interview, accusing McNally of “suspicious behavior” and revealing that he reported him to the league for it several years ago.
But was Baltz being completely truthful while ripping McNally?
Baltz, who was an NFL official from 1989-2013, claims McNally is the only equipment manager he ever remembers asking to get his hands on game balls 10 to 15 minutes before game time as opposed to two minutes, which is when they are supposed to be taken out of the officials locker room. Baltz said he worked “10 to 15 games” in Foxboro and McNally asked him for the balls early the “first few times” but eventually stopped because he realized Baltz was not going to hand them over.
As Michael Hurley of CBS Boston notes, a search on Pro Football Reference revealed that Baltz actually worked six games in Foxboro during his officiating career from 1999 on. Tom Brady was the starting quarterback for the Patriots in four of those games. In addition, a February report from ESPN states that McNally became the officials locker room attendant in 2008. If that’s true, Baltz worked just three games in New England in which Brady was the starting QB and McNally was the officials locker room attendant.
Hurley’s research also revealed that Baltz most often worked with NFL official Bill Leavy, who was the referee last year in Week 7 when the game balls used by the Patriots were allegedly inflated to 16 psi. If you remember, Brady claims he never thought about the actual air pressure inside a ball until they were grossly over inflated that game.
That could be a coincidence, but it could also be that Baltz and Leavy suspected McNally and the Patriots were up to something and were determined to not allow them to get away with it. If that’s the case, it also means the NFL ignored their suspicions and allowed them to deal with the concerns on their own.
Baltz lived in the Indianapolis area while he worked as an NFL official. Jim Daopoulos, another former NFL official who is from Massachusetts, told CSNNE.com’s Tom E. Curran on Thursday that some of the behavior Baltz described from McNally (read more about it here) would not warrant reporting McNally to the league.
“There’s no reason to,” Daopoulos said. “If he had a sideline pass, he could stand in those areas. It’s not our responsibility to police locker-room attendants or what they do. We don’t know what their team responsibilities are.”
Daopoulos added that McNally was well-liked among officials, noting that McNally “does whatever the officials want” and “works hard.”
McNally is a suspicious character if for no other reason than the nickname he gave himself. That said, there are countless people who are loosely tied to Deflategate who may have agendas. I wouldn’t be surprised if Baltz is another one of those people.