"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," Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady said when asked about DeflateGate.
The NFL is investigating whether the New England Patriots intentionally deflated footballs during their victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday's rain-soaked AFC Championship Game.
A league spokesman confirmed the investigation, which was first reported Sunday by television station WTHR in Indianapolis, to ESPN on Monday morning.
An underinflated football could be easier to grip and catch. NFL rules stipulate that footballs must be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces.
"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," Former NFL official Jim Daopoulos told ESPN.
"Once the balls have left the locker room, no one, including players, equipment managers, ball boys, and coaches, is allowed to alter the footballs in any way.
"If any individual alters the footballs, or if a non-approved ball is used in the game, the person responsible and, if appropriate, the head coach or other club personnel will be subject to discipline, including but not limited to, a fine of $25,000," the NFL's game operations manual states.
Unless the Patriots did the same thing the first time they beat the Colts I doubt they did this. They have been blowing out teams all season and nothing about deflated balls has come up.
Enough with the conspiracy theories. All this is doing is putting another stigma on the Patriots that will (try to) discredit their success.
I'm not a Patriots fan, but I am a football fan and this entire playoff season has been a joke with drama. Do you get that WWE feeling indeed?
Up until this morning, "taking air out of the ball" was simply an expression for when a team utilizes a run-heavy attack to shorten the game against an elite passing attack. That's what I saw Sunday night.
Now apparently we are to believe the Patriots are being accused of LITERALLY taking the air out of the ball.
This just doesn't make sense, because deflating the balls would have helped the Colts more than the Patriots. After all, the Colts threw the ball almost exclusively, while the Pats blew the game wide open with a dominating running attack. This was hardly a surprise either, since that's how they have played Luck and the Colts every time they have faced them.
Balls sometimes don't measure up to league requirements and are pulled. In the event a home team ball does not conform to specifications, or its supply is exhausted, the Referee shall secure a proper ball from the visitors and, failing that, use the best available ball. Any such circumstances must be reported to the Commissioner.
This happens often, the Ref pulls the ball and the game continues.
Both teams use the same balls per NFL rules:
"The home club shall have 36 balls for outdoor games and 24 for indoor games available for testing with a pressure gauge by the referee two hours prior to the starting time of the game to meet with League requirements. Twelve (12) new footballs, sealed in a special box and shipped by the manufacturer, will be opened in the officials’ locker room two hours prior to the starting time of the game. These balls are to be specially marked with the letter "k" and used exclusively for the kicking game."
If the Patriots deflated the balls, it would theoretically have made it easier for Brady (who completed 23 of his 35 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns) to throw and for his receivers to catch in the bad weather of Sunday’s game. But since both teams use the same footballs, it also should have benefited Colts' quarterback Andrew Luck, who had a miserable game, completing just 12 of 33 passes for a mere 126 yards. Luck just sucked.
The Colt's are used to playing under a dome and the Patriot's are used to playing outside in awful weather, so the Patriot's obviously play better in lousy conditions. Plus, they are just the better team.
The Superbowl hype machine has started already. I am amazed we haven't heard the Packers complaining that the Seahawks used an over-inflated ball on that onside kick that bounced off Brandon Bostick's grille.
No matter what sort of underinflated, overinflated, round, elliptical, etc. ball had been used, the Patriots would have romped.