Sports

DAN SHAUGHNESSY

Patriots’ latest spin on Deflategate has us going in circles

Loyal Patriots fans don’t like what they’ve heard from the Wells Report — but now they have a new manifesto.

Jared Wickersham/Getty Images

Loyal Patriots fans don’t like what they’ve heard from the Wells Report — but now they have a new manifesto.

SEATTLE — Now the Patriots want you to believe that Jim McNally referred to himself as “The Deflator’’ because he was always trying to lose weight.

Wow. In non-legal, unscientific terms, that’s what we call a good old-fashioned whopper.

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The Patriots are insulting your intelligence again. Because they can. Because they know that most Patriots fans believe the team can do no wrong.

The Patriots are merely victims of jealous rivals and a league run by buffoons. They hate us ’cause they ain’t us. Got it? Good.

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Fort Foxborough has become an NFL college town on a par with Tallahassee, Fla. The Patriots are not going down without a fight and will enjoy universal support of a fan base thankful for all the franchise has accomplished in the last 15 years.

On Thursday, the Patriots delivered the latest counterpunch in this fiasco, releasing a 20,000-word rebuttal to the Ted Wells Report. Heavy on legalese, misdirection, and Ideal Gas Law, the cluttered defense was immediately accepted as the manifesto of Patriot Nation.

Any good lawyer will tell you that when you have nothing, the best course of action is to accuse the accuser, and the never-yielding Patriots have done this in spectacular fashion.

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I originally came to Seattle to talk to Seahawks fans about Pete Carroll and the worst coaching decision in the history of sports. I wanted to know how Hawks fans felt about losing the Super Bowl to New England when Carroll elected to throw a slant pass over the middle when he was 1 yard from a Lombardi Trophy and had the NFL’s best downhill runner in his huddle.

The gentle folks of the Pacific Northwest were happy to talk about the disappointing loss.

“It still hurts, but he’s a good coach and a good guy,’’ said A.J. Thingh, who owns a Seattle limousine company. “I’m not really mad at him. He’s done good work. One bad call doesn’t make someone a bad coach.’’

(Tell that to Grady Little.)

“We are very understanding, forgiving fans,’’ said the polite young woman behind the desk at a downtown hotel. “I mean, I couldn’t go to work the day after that game because I was so upset, and we really didn’t talk about it for about three months, but I think everyone here supports the coach and the team.’’

“Everyone around me was dumbfounded when we saw that play,’’ said camera technician Greg Youtsey. “As heartbreaking as it was, I tried to justify the decision.

“We’ve very loyal to Pete Carroll around here, but we were all wondering what he was thinking. A couple of months have eased the pain, but it’s still on people’s minds. It’s deflating.’’

Oooh. There’s that word.

I was in mid-interview with yet another coffee-drinking Carroll sympathizer when I learned that Patriots lawyer Dan Goldberg had delivered the club’s exhaustive counterpunch to Wells.

The tome doesn’t explain why the Patriots suspended McNally and John Jastremski last week, but it provides repetitive detail and explanations regarding many other aspects of Wells’s finding. There’s even a Nobel laureate chemist (a scientific co-founder of a company partially bankrolled by Robert Kraft) poking more holes in Wells’s flawed science.

“The Wells Report in Context” explains that McNally went to the bathroom to . . . you know . . . go to the bathroom when he disappeared with the AFC Championship footballs on Jan. 18. Not to deflate them.

Swell. But basically, all the stuff the Patriots said Thursday was the same stuff they said to the Wells investigators. Wells didn’t believe them the first time. Nor did the NFL. So how is this going to change?

The NFL Players Association officially filed its appeal for Tom Brady Thursday. We’re still waiting to see whether Kraft and the Patriots also will appeal.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that this is headed to court. That sounds good for folks who want to see the league embarrassed and the Patriots exonerated.

But be careful what you wish for. Court means disclosure, never a friend of the Patriots. Fear of disclosure is what led the Patriots to these harsh penalties in the first place.

Court means testimony under oath, and opening up all e-mails, texts, and telephone calls. You are not allowed to sit on the stand and tell the judge, “We’re on to Cincinnati.’’

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dan_Shaughnessy.
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