NFL Investigation Reveals Patriots Used Deflated Footballs vs. Colts

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IJanuary 19, 2015

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The NFL has reportedly reached a conclusion on whether the New England Patriots used deflated footballs during their AFC Championship Game win over the Indianapolis Colts, finding that 11 balls were under-inflated by two pounds each, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

Continue for updates. 

NFL Reportedly Reaches Conclusion

Tuesday, Jan. 20

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports the NFL has reached a conclusion in its investigation of the Patriots:

Chris Mortensen @mortreport

NFL has no comment at this time and Patriots say they will continue to cooperate with the investigation. More on SpotrsCenter.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe confirmed Mortensen's report.

Mortensen also added that "One source described the league as "disappointed ... angry ... distraught," after spending considerable time on the findings earlier Tuesday."

Jason Cole of Bleacher Report weighed in on the news:

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports also added his thoughts:

Dan Wetzel @DanWetzel

That's 16 percent under inflated. A LB for the Colts, who rarely touches the ball, notices. But not the refs? Strange story.

ESPN's Kevin Seifert reported a potential punishment:

Kevin Seifert @SeifertESPN

NFL game ops manual calls for at least $25K fine for person who alters footballs, and “if appropriate” head coach or other club personnel.

Chris Simms of Bleacher Report weighed in on what the punishment should be for the Patriots:

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora also notes that the Colts may not be the only team with a grievance:

Jason La Canfora @JasonLaCanfora

As NFL investigates Deflate-gate would be wise to speak to Ravens. Some there believe kicking balls used in their playoff game underinflated

Jason La Canfora @JasonLaCanfora

There appeared to be less air in some kicking balls which may have had an impact on the depth of punts and kickoffs in AFC Divisional game

Aaron Rodgers Says He Pushes the Limit on Adding Air to Footballs

Tuesday, Jan. 20

Amidst the league's investigation into whether the Patriots used deflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game, Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com (h/t Tom E. Curran of CSN New England) reported what Phil Simms said regarding Aaron Rodgers' preference to use over-inflated footballs. Simms shared Rodgers' comment and added his perspective:

'I like to push the limit to how much air we can put in the football, even go over what they allow you to do and see if the officials take air out of it.' Because he thinks it’s easier for him to grip. He likes them tight. Of course, he’s got very big hands and you can tell that by watching him play.

With so much attention centered on this issue, it remains to be seen what action, if any, the league will take moving forward.

Brady Admitted in 2011 He Prefers Deflated Footballs

Tuesday, Jan. 20

CBS Connecticut passed along a report on Tuesday that highlighted a previous interview Brady did with WEEI in November 2011 (via Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com). During that interview, Brady commented on how he likes deflated footballs:

But when Gronk scores – it was like his eighth touchdown of the year – he spikes the ball and he deflates the ball. I love that, because I like the deflated ball. But I feel bad for that football, because he puts everything he can into those spikes.

Colts Reportedly Initiated NFL Investigation After Interception

Tuesday, Jan. 20 

Bob Glauber of Newsday reported on how the league's investigation into the Patriots' footballs was initiated:

According to a person familiar with the background of the matter, the Colts first noticed something unusual after an interception by Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson in the second quarter. Jackson gave the ball to a member of the Colts' equipment staff, who noticed the ball seemed underinflated and then notified coach Chuck Pagano.

General manager Ryan Grigson was notified in the press box, and he contacted Mike Kensil, NFL director of football operations. Kensil then told the on-field officials at halftime, when the Patriots led 17-7. The Patriots erupted for 21 points in the third quarter, although it is not known if any of the balls were improperly inflated after halftime. 

Patriots Face NFL Investigation for Improperly Inflated Footballs

Monday, Jan. 19 

Shortly after their 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, the New England Patriots are reportedly set to be investigated by the NFL for the use of deflated footballs.   

WTHR TV's Bob Kravitz first reported the details, which NFL spokesman Michael Signora later confirmed, per Newsday's Bob Glauber. Kravitz also noted the Patriots are at risk of losing draft picks if they are found guilty of the accusations, while Football Zebras revealed potential monetary punishment: 

Bob Kravitz @bkravitz

Breaking: A league source tells me the NFL is investigating the possibility the Patriots deflated footballs Sunday night. More to come.

Bob Kravitz @bkravitz

I'm told at one point the officials took a ball out of play and weighed it. Should hear more tomorrow on this subject.

Bob Kravitz @bkravitz

Told if a league investigation confirms deflated footballs it will result in lost draft picks. Stay tuned.

Fᴏᴏᴛʙᴀʟʟ Zᴇʙʀᴀs @footballzebras

Unreal. Min $25K fines RT @bkravitz NFL is investigating the possibility the Patriots deflated footballs Sunday night http://t.co/KXBJfINH7G

Tom E. Curran of CSN New England provided a comment from NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello regarding the time frame of the league's investigation:

Tom E. Curran @tomecurran

NFL's Greg Aiello on NFL ball investigation: "It will take as long as necessary so we cannot put a timetable on it. The review is underway."

NBC Sports' Mike Florio reported multiple balls were removed, but that it's not abnormal for it to happen:

Per a league source, several balls were removed from play for being underinflated.

The inflation (or lack thereof) of footballs is checked before each game, and the balls are periodically tested during each game.

According to the source, it’s 'not unheard of' for a ball to be removed from play for an abnormality noticed during the game.

Brady reacted to the allegations during an appearance on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show, courtesy of Art Martone of CSNNE.com, saying, "I think I've heard it all [now]. Oh, God. It's ridiculous...that's the last of my worries. I don't even respond to stuff like this."

Chris Simms of Bleacher Report weighed in on the reports surrounding the Patriots:

Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman also chimed in with his reaction:

mike freeman @mikefreemanNFL

One thing I'm getting from talking to team people is that it will be almost impossible to prove the Pats intentionally deflated footballs.

The Patriots were the better team Sunday, outgaining the Colts by 188 yards and dominating both sides of the ball for the majority of the game. It would be a huge stretch to suggest the final score was a product of a football that may have weighed slightly less than usual. 

Kravitz put it simply:

Bob Kravitz @bkravitz

Nobody is suggesting this is why the colts lost obviously. They were manhandled.

However, Alvaro Martin shared why deflated balls would be an advantage for a team:

Still, this is an interesting story. The Patriots, of course, were at the center of the 2007 videotaping controversy—also known as Spygate—in which they were found to be videotaping New York Jets coaches' signals from the sideline. Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 for that incident, while the team lost its first-round draft pick.

More than anything, with two weeks until the Super Bowl and media attention significantly increased, the Patriots will be hoping this doesn't serve as a distraction before the most important game of the season.

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