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- ESPN reported on Jan. 21 that the New England Patriots underinflated 11 of the 12 game-day footballs used during the AFC title game against the Indianapolis Colts.
NFL sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen on Jan. 21 that 11 of the 12 game balls for the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts in Foxborough, Mass., were underinflated.
This was what an NFL source told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen on Jan. 21. Those 11 footballs “were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below what’s required by NFL regulations during the Pats’ 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts,” per ESPN.
NFL senior vice president of communications Greg Aiello told Mortensen the league is “not commenting at this time.”
In addition, Mortensen’s sources confirm the controversial footballs were inspected and cleared for use by referee Walt Anderson two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff, per league rules. What’s more is ESPN’s Radio 810 in Kansas City reported that the balls which were discovered not to have enough air were inflated at the half of the AFC Championship Game. They were then used during the second half before they were re-tested at game’s end.
On the other hand, WEEI.com (via ESPN) reported that the Patriots used 12 backup balls during the second half after the originals were discovered to have issues. Patriots spokesman Stacey James told WEEI that the team had 24 game balls for the game against the Colts.
Former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann asked the team’s equipment manager to add different amounts of air to two footballs on Wednesday so the former can draw a conclusion regarding DeflateGate, per USA TODAY Sports‘ Jim Corbett. Theismann said a football with 13 psi (pounds per square inch) isn’t much different from that with just 11 psi:
“I asked our equipment guy to pump one football up to 13 pounds per square inch and another to 11 psi. I wanted to physically handle the footballs and see if I could tell a difference in them. And I couldn’t.
“If you just pick a football up that is 13 psi and another that is 11 psi, no one would know the difference. Because you don’t grip a football tight anyway to throw it.
“Dan Marino made a great point — that the last thing you’re thinking about as a quarterback when you get to the line of scrimmage is, ‘I wonder if this football is 2 psi lighter?’
“The way the NFL is going after this, I think is proper because you want to get this thing settled before the real Super Bowl festivities begin.”
For his part, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman told USA TODAY’s Tom Pelissero on Jan. 21 the outcome of the league’s investigation won’t produce any significant effect on Super Bowl XLIX between Seattle and New England.
Sherman also linked the DeflateGate scandal to the league disallowing teammate and running back Marshawn Lynch from wearing gold cleats in last weekend’s NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers as that would violate the NFL’s uniform code:
“If it’s against the rules, it’s against the rules. But you see it’s not going to have any effect on this game. Nobody’s going to get suspended. Nothing’s going to happen. They’re going to play this game.
“Whatever they did, the risk-reward was greater.
“That really affects the game, if you suspend Marshawn for gold shoes. But then you’ve got balls being deflated and that’s the issue.”
WTHR of Indianapolis’ Bob Kravitz first broke the news regarding DeflateGate on Jan. 19. His league source told him the Patriots deflated the game-day footballs used for the AFC title game against the Colts last Sunday.
The same source told Kravitz that game officials even took a ball out during actual play and weighed it. When Kravitz tweeted the news at 1 a.m. on Jan. 20, the scandal was dubbed as “DeflateGate.” NFL spokesman Michael Signora confirmed Kravtiz’s report to Newsday’s Bob Glauer (via WTHR.com) six hours later and that the NFL has since been probing deeper into the matter.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told the media on Monday that the team will “cooperate fully with whatever the league wants us to, whatever questions they ask,” per Kravitz.
New England quarterback labeled the accusation “ridiculous” and “the last of my worries,” per Kravitz.
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