New England Patriots Being Investigated for Using Deflated Balls
The NFL will be investigating claims that the New England Patriots deflated footballs during the AFC championship game, where they annihilated the Indianapolis Colts 45-7, according to Bob Kravitz of Indianapolis' WTHR-TV.
The NFL has regulations on how much pressure the ball must have — between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch, weighing between 14 and 15 ounces. With the constant rain in Foxborough, Mass., on Sunday evening, the football would have been hard to grip. A deflated ball would have been easier to handle.
Kravitz tweeted Monday morning,
If the league finds that the Patriots tampered with the balls, they could face heavy penalties.
I reached out to the only football rules professional I know, an unnamed NCAA officiating source. He said while it is possible that the balls were tampered with, it's highly improbable.
The balls are taken in and out of the game by NFL officials, and given to kick and game ball coordinators (who are typically NCAA refs). So they would have to do it on balls that get thrown out of bounds before handing it to the coordinator, and not enough that the coordinator would notice and take the ball out of the game.
Sources have stated to NBC Sports that "several" balls were removed from the game on Sunday evening for being underinflated.
The question remains: Was this deliberate? And, if not, how did this happen?
We are sure we'll be hearing more on #deflategate (yes, it has its own hashtag) as the week goes on.
Of course, this doesn't mean that the win will be taken away from the Patriots (even if the allegations are found to be true). Which I'm sure will anger many Colts fans. But even Kravitz (who lives and works in Indianapolis) has stated that the balls were definitely not the reason for the Colts loss: