A league source told WTHR's Bob Kravitz that the New England Patriots purposely deflated footballs against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC Championship Game in what has become known to be the "DeflateGate" scandal.
The New England Patriots allegedly deflated footballs during the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.
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Breaking: A league source tells me the NFL is investigating the possibility the Patriots deflated footballs Sunday night. More to come.— Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz) January 19, 2015
For his part, Newsday's Bob Glauber posted a series of tweets regarding the "DeflateGate" scandal:
NFL spokesman Michael Signora confirms the NFL is looking into whether footballs were properly inflated in Patriots-Colts game.— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) January 19, 2015
Belichick re: NFL looking into football inflation: "We’ll cooperate fully with whatever the league wants, whatever questions they ask us."— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) January 19, 2015
Belichick on whether he knew there was an issue w/footballs during the game: "No. I didn’t know anything about it until this morning."— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) January 19, 2015
Important to note that at no point did Belichick deny the Patriots were using deflated footballs during game against Colts.— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) January 19, 2015
Kravitz adds the NFL is expected to go down hard on the Patriots should evidence prove their guilt:
"I initially thought a softer ball would be tougher to throw, but people who understand physics have since told me it would be easier to throw and catch. Naturally, Boston fans went nuts on me, calling me every conceivable name. Nobody is suggesting the footballs had any appreciable impact on the game; it was a butt-whooping. But if the league believes the balls were deflated, expect the Pats to be fined or be forced to forfeit draft picks. Or both."
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady told WEEI.com's Jerry Spar there is no truth to this accusation. He quipped,"I think I've heard it all at this point...That's the last of my worries. I don't even respond to stuff like this."
Kravitz also revealed that he spoke with several Colts players who in turn said they felt there was nothing wrong with the football they used during the game:
"This is one of those integrity of the game, competitive advantage type of deals. Certainly it had nothing to do with the final outcome. We did talk to Andrew Luck and D'Qwell Jackson, who had that interception. They said they did not see a difference with the footballs. I'm not sure how they could, to be perfectly honest with you.
"It's the integrity of the game. It's the same thing that went on with Spygate. The New England Patriots -- it's not sour grapes, but the bottom line is, they don't get the benefit of the doubt."
In a separate update, Kravitz says an official NFL football must be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch. It also has to weigh between 14 and 15 ounces. Should it be deflated, it would be easier to it during harsh weather conditions.
Former NFL official Jim Daopoulos told ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss on Jan. 19 that game officials inspect footballs two hours and 15 minutes before the game. They then put check marks on those which are cleared to be used. Afterward, the officials hand the footballs over to a ball attendant.
Daupoulos said,"Officials check balls as they go into the game, and if the ball doesn't feel perfect, they can throw it out. There is always the possibility that balls can lose air due to the conditions."
Reiss adds officials have another set of six footballs which are set aside for the kicking game.
The Colts already had suspicions of game-ball tampering during their 42-20 home loss to the Patriots on Nov. 16, per ESPN's Adam Shchefter (via WTHR.com). Those suspicions were aroused when Indianapolis safety Mike Adams intercepted Brady twice. He said,"I've got both those balls at home. Maybe I should go home and weigh them."
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