Patriots tried to use unapproved kicking ball in AFC Title Game

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By Robby Sabo

Not only do we have Deflate-Gate, but we now have issues with the kicking balls.

You didn't really think the New England Patriots troubles were over, did you?

Sure Roger Goodell and his henchmen are doing a fantastic stall job into the investigation on Deflate-Gate, and many question the veracity for which the commissioner will go after Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the now Super Bowl Champions, but to think we'd go the next month or so without a few leaks here and there would be insane.

According to ESPN, a source close to the investigation told Outside The Lines that the Patriots now infamous locker room attendant tried to sneak in an unapproved kicking ball into the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

At the center of this investigation is 48-year old Jim McNally, who is this infamous locker room attendant. He was interviewed by investigators of Ted Wells, the man who was hired by Goodell to conduct this independent investigation.

Outside The Lines also claims that three sources have stated that McNally, who has worked Patriots games for a decade, tried to hand an alternate official (who was in charge of the special teams footballs) an unapproved kicking ball.

While Deflate-Gate is directly concerned with the 12 offensive balls each team supplies, the kicking balls or K-Balls, are obviously only used for kickers and punters, not counting towards the 12 offensive balls.

It is still unknown whether McNally is the same man that was reported by Jay Glazer of Fox Sports to have disappeared into the bathroom for about 90 seconds with a bag of balls.

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Gregg Yette, who was that alternate official, became suspicious of McNally's actions when he saw that the ball he was being handed did not have the stamp of approval which is provided by the officials prior to the game.

This report will only further the madness that is surrounding this situation and the league right now. For Goodell, he's being measured every inch of the way on the very outcome of this situation.

Many feel his close ties to Robert Kraft will outweigh the legitimacy of the investigation. Some already feel that the money-maker that is the Super Bowl has already out-weighed the league truly wanting to find the truth.

Most also criticize Goodell for using independent investigators, like Wells and Robert Mueller before him during the Ray Rice case, that work for firms who are so closely tied to the league.

While some have already dismissed the severity of Deflate-Gate, others realize there's something much more serious about the nature of the claims.

It's not about one game against the Colts for which the Pats could've beaten them without helmets on. It's about a culture of uneasiness that has leaked cracks and exposed it's dirty head little by little.

For some strange reason, there's always smoke up in New England.

Without Spygate there is no Deflate-Gate. Without the mysterious nature of Spygate tapes disappearing, there aren't so many legitimacy questions surrounding Goodell this time around.

For now, the public has more to chew on, but it's not because McNally, Dean Blandino or anybody else close to the investigation is talking.

Outside the Lines asked both the NFL and Blandino to comment and they both declined. OTL approached McNally earlier this month and he swiftly waived the reporter away and declined to speak.

Stay tuned NFL fans, regardless of the uncertainty surrounding this situation, there will be some sort of conclusion eventually.

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