Report: Patriots’ locker room attendant took footballs into bathroom for 90 seconds before game
NEW YORK — A New England Patriots locker room attendant who took the approved footballs for the AFC Championship game to the field first took them into a bathroom for about 90 seconds, according to NBC Sports Pro Football Talk, citing a league source.
The NFL is investigating why the footballs used by the Patriots were under-inflated, and below league requirements, for the first half of the game against the Indianapolis Colts. The footballs were discovered to be under-inflated at halftime and were properly inflated for the rest of the game.
The Patriots organization and quarterback Tom Brady have said they have no knowledge how the balls had become under-inflated.
On Monday, FOX Sports reported that the NFL had interviewed a locker room attendant who allegedly took footballs from the officials’ locker room after they had been inspected and approved as being properly inflated “to another area on the way to the field” before the game.
Pro Football Talk said, according to a league source, that the other “area on the way to the field” was a small, one-toilet bathroom.
PFT said the same source said the attendant 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.
The source said the evidence comes from a surveillance video that was discovered by the Patriots and given to the NFL early in the investigation. In addition, the video shows the employee in the bathroom for approximately 90 seconds, PFT said.
“Could the employee have fished 12 balls out of a fairly large bag, deflated each of them by two pounds, put them back into the bag, and exited the bathroom in roughly 90 seconds?” PFT asked.