It turns out there’s a new story surrounding 'DeflateGate.' A Patriots’ locker room attendant is under investigation for allegedly giving the referees an unapproved special teams’ football during the AFC championship game against the Colts, according to an ESPN.com report.
Special teams’ footballs or “kicking balls,” or “k-balls” are footballs specifically separated for kicking only.
The locker room attendant has been identified as 48-year-old Jim McNally. Sources say that McNally gave alternate official, Gregg Yette, an unapproved football during the first half which caused Yette to become suspicious. The football McNally gave him didn’t have the proper marking, meaning the ball had not been inspected before the game. Yette was also surprised that McNally, the officials’ locker room attendant, was on the field and handling footballs because they never have ball-handling responsibilities during games.
As soon as Yette became suspicious, he notified the Vice President of NFL game operations, Mike Kensil, but they are still unsure the reason behind the unapproved football. It is also unknown if McNally is the same locker room attendant that was seen taking footballs into the bathroom in a surveillance video for 90 seconds before the AFC championship game.
ESPN tried contacting McNally, but he declined and only told the reporter, “I can’t talk to you.”
According to a source, after being notified by the official about the unapproved football, Kensil personally walked down to check the footballs, and that is when he found that 11 of the 12 footballs were under-inflated by two pounds per square inch. He then inflated them back to the approved psi and returned them for the second half.
The NFL’s head of officiating, Dean Blandino talked about the issue during the Super Bowl news conference, but said he can’t get into specifics because the investigation is still going on.