We here at McLeod Governance Central couldn’t pick Tom Brady from a line-up.

We know that he has a predilection for beanies in press conferences but that is about it.

So why then would a report from a sporting body about deflated footballs concern us and be our Report of the Week?

Put simply the report by the independent investigator released last week by the American National Football League (NFL) into what is referred to as Deflategate is an instant classic.

First what is Deflategate.  

Deflategate is a controversy in the NFL, stemming from an allegation that the New England Patriots used suspiciously underinflated footballs in the American Football Conference (AFC) Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts on January 18, 2015.

One only has to skim the report to see that there was a desire by some to do what was thought to be the wishes of the New England Patriots quarterback, Brady.

Brady – by our reading of the report – was also not immune to articulating forcefully his disdain when these explicit or implied wishes were not followed.

As context – Brady was talented beyond most people’s wildest dreams and the team was within one game of the sport’s Holy Grail, the Superbowl.

This isn’t, however, a report on the air pressure in a football.  

It is a story about what can happen when idolisation goes unchecked.

This report has equal – if not more – relevance in the Boardrooms of organisations worldwide as it does in the locker room.

This is a story about subordinates crossing their “line” for what they perceived was the good of the organisation and the nod of appreciation from New England’s most revered sportsman.

This report could so easily exchange the words “football” and “Brady” for “product” and “CEO” and you will have the same result.

Questionable ethics and tarnished reputations.

So what did the report find:

It is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules.

It is more probable than not that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee.

It is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.

And what happened?

McNally took two bags of game balls from Officials Locker Room before the start of the AFC Championship without receiving permission of referee Walt Anderson. Anderson says that had never happened before in his career.

Video evidence from pregame of the AFC Championship shows McNally detouring to bathroom with two bags of game balls after taking them from officials’ dressing room. He remained in bathroom for 1 minute, 40 seconds and then took both bags to field.

McNally claimed he stopped in the restroom and used a urinal. He indicated that he has used that bathroom near the field entrance while in possession of the game balls “many times.”

And in what is brilliant auditing – the investigators noted that that bathroom has no urinal.

Perhaps though the most telling observation is that when the troubles dawn in any situation you are on your own:

Brady claimed during his interview that he did not know McNally’s name or his game-day responsibilities. McNally received two autographed footballs and an autographed jersey from Brady on January 10, 2015. Jastremski received various items of value from Brady during the years including cash tips (common practice), gift cards, memorabilia, etc.

Game On!


Download PDF

Some additional commentary from NFL reporting on release of report.

Subscribe to Receive Our Email Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.