Patriots Point Finger At Minnesota Vikings Following Deflategate

Following the ruling that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady would be suspended for 4 game and that the team would lose first and fourth round draft picks because of the actions involved in Deflategate, the Patriots did the one thing that you often see in kids that are getting in trouble: they pointed the finger at someone else.

That’s exactly what happened in the letter that the Patriots shipped to the NFL and Ted Wells in rebuttal of the decision made on Deflategate.  Instead of describing why their actions weren’t worthy of the hefty punishment, they instead accused teams like the Colts, Jaguars, Panthers and even the Minnesota Vikings of tampering with footballs in the past and not getting the same kind of punishment.

Here is the excerpt of that letter taken from an article on the Pro Football Talk website:

“The Patriots also supplied information to Mr. Wells about a prior reported incident of actual ball tampering which took place during a Vikings-Panthers game in 2014. Evidence was also provided that Indianapolis ball boys, in a prior season, had been seen by Jacksonville personnel with ball needles hidden under their long sleeves,” the Patriots’ letter says.

Nov 30, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Carolina Panthers secondary coach Steve Wilks talks with Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner before the game at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

However, in another article on Pro Football Talk, Mike Florio detailed the events that happened in Minnesota and cleared the Vikings of any kind of tampering.  According to his sources within the league with knowledge of the situation, the Minnesota Vikings weren’t even using the heaters to warm footballs on the sidelines.

Here is what Florio wrote in that piece:

“It happened in Minnesota, with the Panthers and Vikings both warned at halftime about not using sideline heaters to warm footballs on a 12-degree day. All other teams received a reminder the next day. Reports at the time from NFL.com and ESPN.com strongly suggested that both teams were warned because both teams were doing it. The truth, per a league source with knowledge of the situation, is that the Vikings weren’t. The confusion apparently came from accounts that it was happening on the Vikings sidelines, and from the fact that both teams were warned about it.”

It’s similar to little kids on the playground on school.  If one child gets in trouble, they’ll rat on the other ones to try to make what they did seem less horrible instead of taking responsibility for what they did and owning up to the punishment.  While it is a good effort for the Patriots to try to defect from the high-profile tampering that they were caught doing, New England instead looks like a team that is doing anything they can to get out of their punishment, even if it means grasping at straws.

But even the fact that the Minnesota Vikings were brought into something like this shouldn’t be any real surprise to fans of the team.  The way things have been going, I don’t think anyone could be surprised at anything that happens involving this team anymore.