Ryan Grigson told NFL about footballs because he wanted even playing field

"We had concerns, and just like any general manager would do, he wants their team to play on an even playing field," Colts GM Ryan Grigson said. AP/Darron Cummings

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts aren't strutting around feeling good about themselves now that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld Tom Brady's four-game suspension for Deflategate.

That wasn't the reason why Colts general manager Ryan Grigson notified the NFL on Jan. 17, the day before the AFC Championship Game, about his concerns with the air pressure the Patriots used in game balls.

Grigson wanted the game to be played fair. That's all he wanted. Nothing more.

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

Part of the 243-page report by Ted Wells earlier this year was the email that Grigson sent David Gardi and Mike Kensil, senior members of the NFL football operations department.

Here's a reminder of how the Colts decided that it was time to notify the league about the footballs the Patriots were using.

Grigson sent an email to the NFL 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."

Sean Sullivan, the Colts' equipment manager, sent Grigson an email that said:

"As far as the game balls are concerned it is well known around the league that after the Patriots game balls 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."

The process started during the first meeting between the Colts and Patriots in Week 11 last season. After two interceptions of 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 also pointed out that there had been talk around the league that the Patriots liked their footballs softer than other teams and visiting teams needed to be on the lookout when playing at Gillette Stadium.