The NFL confirmed it was looking into claims that the New England Patriots had cheated on Sunday during the AFC Championship Game when they clinched their record tying seventh trip to the Super Bowl, by using footballs that were deflated, a charge Tom Brady the star quarterback called ridiculous.
A spokesperson for the NFL confirmed the league’s probe on Monday, following the Sunday game in which New England routed the Indianapolis Colts to the tune of 45-7.
The claims were made first on Sunday night, when an reporter from Indianapolis reported that the league had seized one and possibly more balls from the game to examine whether they had been intentionally deflated to make them easier to both throw and catch.
In his morning appearance on radio in New England on Monday, Brady called the charges ridiculous.
He said he know has heard it all. He called the charge the last of his worries and that he did not even have to respond to things like that.
The reporter from WTHR in Indianapolis said that at one point officials took a ball from the game and weighed it.
If New England did in fact cheat, it is not the first time. In 2007, the team received a penalty of one first round pick in the draft, a fine of $250,000 and Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 after an NFL investigation determined the team illegally videotaped opponents hand signals during one of their games.
Accusations of other cheating that have gone unsubstantiated have dogged the team’s image. These accusations stem from their wins in the Super Bowl in 2002, 2004 as well as 2005. St. Louis claimed New England had videotaped the Rams walk through practice before the 2002 Super Bowl.
By deflating the football, it would have theoretically made it easier for quarterback Brady to throw and for Patriots receivers to catch in the bad weather on Sunday.
However, that would have been true as well for Andrew Luck the Colts quarterback and his corps of receivers, so where would the advantage be?
The NFL rules show that home teams hosting outdoor games must provide 36 footballs and make them available to be tested prior to each game with pressure gauges.