Stephen A. Smith was clowned earlier in the week for a segment on ESPN’s First Take that saw him break the news about Tom Brady destroying his cell phone.

Smith initially referred back to a source on knowledge of the situation, but it appears that a little birdie from the league offices may have dropped that pot of gold in his lap.

The narrative of an ESPN/NFL news partnership comes on the heels of Chris Mortensen’s false report on 11 of 12 Patriots footballs being two pounds under the 12.5 PSI minimum.

The NFL never disputed Mortensen’s claims, leading some to believe that the league office was responsible for him having that information six months ago.

It only makes the notion that the NFL is in cahoots with its most profitable partner that more accurate. ESPN pays $1.9 billion to the NFL for the rights to broadcast games and use footage.

The NFL apparently likes to repay such loyalty by allowing ESPN access to scoopage and information only a select few are made privy to.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft seems to believe such a narrative as well, insinuating such a partnership during his vitriolic press conference a few days back.

Kraft went on record accusing the league of leaking ESPN the story that 11 of 12 footballs provided by the Patriots were under-inflated, which proved to be a damaging in the Wells report, despite those claims proving to be untrue some time later.

This would usually call for an Outside The Lines investigation, but that would require ESPN to possibly out itself as the culprit.

By Glenn Erby

Buy FootBasket Apparel

Buy FootBasket Apparel
Click on the above image for custom apparel!