GM Ryan Grigson sent email to NFL with concerns about Patriots

INDIANAPOLIS -- A portion of the 243-page report by Ted Wells focuses on an email sent by Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson to the NFL on Jan. 17, a day before the AFC Championship Game, about his concerns with the air pressure the New England Patriots use in game balls.

The email was sent to David Gardi and Mike Kensil, senior members of the NFL football operations department.

Grigson became aware of the situation when Sean Sullivan, the Colts' equipment manager, sent the general manager an email that said "all the Indianapolis Colts want is a completely level playing field. Thank you for being vigilant stewards of that not only for us but for the shield and overall integrity of our game."

Here is another intriguing part about Sullivan's email to Grigson:

"As far as the gameballs are concerned it is well known around the league that after the Patriots gameballs are checked by the officials and brought out for game usage the ballboys for the Patriots will let out some air with a ball needle because their quarterback likes a smaller football so he can grip it better, it would be great if someone would be able to check the air in the game balls as the game goes on so that they don’t get an illegal advantage."

Grigson acknowledged during the scouting combine in February that he notified the NFL about the Colts' concerns about the game balls prior to the AFC Championship Game, which New England won 45-7 over Indianapolis.

"We had concerns, and just like any general manager would do, he wants their team to play on an even playing field," Grigson said. "We took the proper steps to try to ensure that."

The Colts became suspicious of the balls during their Week 11 meeting against the Patriots. After two interceptions of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady by safety Mike Adams, Sullivan and Brian Seabrooks, the Colts' assistant equipment manager, said they noticed that the balls "appeared to be coated in a tacky substance and seemed spongy or soft when squeezed." The two said they didn't test the air pressure of the balls, but the softness of the balls made them suspicious based off their "years of experience."

Sullivan and Seabrooks added there has been talk around the league that the Patriots like their footballs softer than other teams and visiting teams need to be on the lookout when playing at Gillette Stadium, which is home to New England.

A Colts spokesman said the team is aware of the findings in the Wells report, but has no comment.