A series of eye-opening text messages between two Patriots staffers are part of a lengthy NFL report on "Deflategate," released Wednesday, that found the team likely deflated game footballs before the AFC Championship.
The text messages (see below) between locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski are just a segment of the 243-page report, but together the texts are perhaps the strongest part of Ted Wells' case that the balls were deliberately deflated — and that quarterback Tom Brady was likely "at least generally aware" of it.
In the texts, according to the report, Brady is referenced a number of times as McNally and Jastremski discuss the inflation level of game balls, Brady's unhappiness with the inflation level, Jastremski's plan to provide McNally with a needle for the balls and McNally's requests for cash and sneakers together with the needle to be provided by Jastremski.
In addition to the text messages, the report also notes that Brady and Jastremski -- after not communicating by phone for more than six months — spoke by phone multiple times in the days immediately after suspicions of ball tampering became public on Jan. 19.
Brady hasn't yet addressed the report. But in a press conference on Jan. 22, he said: "I have no knowledge of anything, any wrongdoing."
Patriots owner Robert Kraft issued a lengthy statement Wednesday, defending his team and his players. He said he's "disappointed" in the report's findings.
Here are the text messages from the report:
For example, on October 17, 2014, following a Thursday night game between the Patriots and the New York Jets during which Tom Brady complained angrily about the inflation level of the game balls, McNally and Jastremski exchanged the following text messages:
McNally: Tom sucks...im going make that next ball a f------ balloon
Jastremski: Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done...
Jastremski: I told him it was. He was right though...
Jastremski: I checked some of the balls this morn... The refs f----- us...a few of then were at almost 16
Jastremski: They didnt recheck then after they put air in them
McNally: f--- tom ...16 is nothing...wait till next sunday
Jastremski: Omg! Spaz
On October 21, 2014, McNally and Jastremski exchanged the following text messages:
McNally: Make sure you blow up the ball to look like a rugby ball so tom can get used to it before sunday
On October 23, 2014, three days before a Sunday game against the Chicago Bears, Jastremski and McNally exchanged the following messages:
Jastremski: Can‟t wait to give you your needle this week :)
McNally: f--- tom....make sure the pump is attached to the needle.....f----- watermelons coming
Jastremski: So angry
McNally: The only thing deflating sun..is his passing rating
The next day, October 24, 2014, Jastremski and McNally exchanged the following messages:
Jastremski: I have a big needle for u this week
McNally: Better be surrounded by cash and newkicks....or its a rugby sunday
McNally: f--- tom
Jastremski: Maybe u will have some nice size 11s in ur locker
McNally: Tom must really be working your balls hard this week
On October 25, 2014, McNally and Jastremski exchanged the following text messages:
Jastremski: Size 11?
Jastremski: 2 or 3X?
McNally: Tom must really be on you
McNally: 11 0r 11 half......2x unless its tight fitting
Jastremski: Nah. Hasn‟t even mentioned it, figured u should get something since he gives u nothing
On January 7, 2015, eleven days before the AFC Championship Game, McNally and Jastremski discussed how McNally would have a “big autograph day” and receive items autographed by Brady the following weekend, before the playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. McNally and Jastremski exchanged the following text messages:
McNally: Remember to put a couple sweet pig skins ready for tom to sign
Jastremski: U got it kid...big autograph day for you
McNally: Nice throw some kicks in and make it real special
Jastremski: It ur lucky. 11?
McNally: 11 or 11 and half kid
On January 10, 2015, immediately prior to the game between the Patriots and the Ravens, in the Patriots equipment room with both Brady and Jastremski present, McNally received two footballs autographed by Brady and also had Brady autograph a game-worn Patriots jersey that McNally previously had obtained.
In addition to the messages described above, before the start of the 2014-15 season, McNally referred to himself as “the deflator” and stated that he was “not going to espn……..yet.” On May 9, 2014, McNally and Jastremski exchanged the following text messages:
McNally: You working
McNally: Nice dude....jimmy needs some kicks....lets make a deal.....come on help the deflator
McNally: Chill buddy im just f----- with you ....im not going to espn........yet