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Sorry, Patriots, The Vikings Didn't Tamper With Footballs

Al Bello/Getty Images

Kudos to Adam Carlson over at The Viking Age for getting to this one before we did.

By now, you've certainly seen the rebuttal that The Onion the New England Patriots released about whether or not the team knowingly tampered with footballs before or during the 2014 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts. Along with the rebuttal, the Patriots supplied what they thought was evidence of four other teams tampering with footballs throughout the course of the season. One of the teams they cited was the Minnesota Vikings.

This apparently stems from an incident in the Vikings' game against the Carolina Panthers in December at TCF Bank Stadium when both teams were thought to have been using sideline heaters to warm up the footballs on a day where the temperature struggled to reach double digits. Per Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk, however, it turns out that wasn't the case.

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 and 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.

Strange. . .it seems as though whenever the Vikings are accused of tampering, the accusations come from people who simply have their heads lodged too deeply in their fourth point of contact to get the actual facts straight. (See also: The Vikings "tampering" with Brett Favre back in 2008, which the Vikings were also cleared of but we still manage to hear the occasional whine about today.)

So, if the New England Patriots want to justify their actions by pointing at other teams, they should be pointing in a direction that isn't towards Minnesota.

I can't let this go without bringing up my favorite part of the farce that is this entire rebuttal. It concerns Patriots' locker room attendant Jim McNally, who was apparently referred to as "The Deflator." Why did they call him "The Deflator?"

Well, it certainly isn't for the reason that you think, apparently.

Mr. McNally is a big fellow and had the opposite goal: to lose weight. "Deflate" was a term they used to refer to losing weight.

So, they referred to McNally as "The Deflator" because he wanted to lose weight, you see. That completely explains why the team suspended him indefinitely in the wake of the league announcing discipline against the Patriots. It's a fat-shaming thing. It all makes so much more sense now.

Honestly, I'm surprised that they didn't just say that "Deflator" was Spanish for "The Flator."

Somebody in the Patriots' hierarchy, presumably, looked this rebuttal over before it went out and said, "Yep, sounds good to me." That person should probably be fired or suspended, too.