Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh refuted a report saying his team tipped off the Indianapolis Colts about the New England Patriots using underinflated footballs which eventually became known as the infamous "DeflateGate" scandal.
Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh denies his team ever tipped off the Indianapolis Colts about "DeflateGate."
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In an NBC Super Bowl pre-game interview (via ESPN's Jamison Hensley) on Feb. 1, Harbaugh refuted a report from FOX Sports' Jay Glazer saying his Ravens told the Indianapolis Colts about the New England Patriots deflated footballs used during this season's playoffs:
"I head all that; I couldn't believe it when I heard it. It's ridiculous, it never happened. I never made any call. Nobody in our organization made any call. As a matter of fact, just to make sure I had all the facts, I called up Chuck Pagano this week and asked him,'Did anyone else in our organization tip you off about deflated footballs?' and he said,'No way.'"
Harbaugh also added the football's condition did not drastically affect the outcome of the Patriots' 35-31 win over the visiting Ravens in the 2014 AFC Divisional Round game, per Hensley. He said,"It never came up, it never crossed my mind, it wasn't even an issue in the game. I didn't even think about it until I read about it later."
In addition to the Ravens tipping the Colts off about "DeflateGate," Glazer says the NFL was planning on inspecting the footballs at halftime of the 2014 AFC Championship Game between the Colts and Patriots.
Glazer also adds opposing NFL owners, general managers and coaches are tired of New England and are wondering if commissioner Roger Goodell will come down hard on the Patriots. The league says the investigation is still ongoing.
According to FOX Sports, the league is probing deeper into the matter "not only because doctoring the footballs could provide a competitive advantage, but because it would compromise the integrity of the game."
Once a football is deflated, a player's grip or throw could be affected. Quarterbacks' preferences vary -- some prefer less air while others prefer more air. League rules stipulate each team must provide balls for its offense to use. Game officials then inspect the balls before they are given to the home team's equipment personnel, per FOX Sports.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told ESPN Radio in Milwaukee (via FOX Sports) that taking the air out of a football is a definite disadvantage:
"I have a major problem with the way it goes down, to be honest with you. The majority of the time, they take air out of the football. I think that, for me, is a disadvantage.
"I just have a hard time throwing a flat football.
"My belief is that there should be a minimum air-pressure requirement but not a maximum. There's no advantage, in my opinion. We're not kicking the football. There's no advantage in having a pumped-up football."
For his part, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick earlier told reporters to ask league officials about the "DeflateGate" issue instead of him. He claims he only became aware of the said issue last Monday and promised "to fully cooperate with whatever the league wants us to, whatever questions they ask," per FOX Sports.
The NFL fined Belichick $500,000 for his involvement in the SpyGate controversy eight years ago, per FOX Sports.
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