After Sunday’s AFC Championship game, the NFL launched a probe into the New England Patriots under allegations that they were playing with deflated footballs. The results of that probe have found that the New England Patriots were playing with 11 of their 12 game balls significantly under inflated.
The investigation showed that the game balls were deflated over 2 pounds per square inch less than what the NFL rules stipulate.
The investigation also confirmed that the balls were properly inspected by the game officials before the game went underway, and the testing at half time revealed that only the balls the Patriots had been using were deflated. The balls used by the Indianapolis Colts were also retested and found to be within NFL regulations.
The Colts had concerns about the potential for under inflated footballs before the AFC championship game went underway. During the Colts game against the Patriots on November 16th, Colts safety Mike Adams intercepted the ball twice and gave the balls to the Colts equipment manager, both times with concerns that the balls felt under inflated.
The Colts made the NFL aware of the concerns, and according to the findings, the concerns appeared to be validated.
So far, there has been no word on what, if any penalties will be imposed on the Patriots as the NFL is still looking into just how those 11 game balls became deflated, though the situation appears to indicate some level of foul play.
The reason this is such a major issue is the fact that a deflated ball could provide a competitive advantage by allowing a ball to be more easily gripped by a player as well as altering the way a ball travels through the air.
This isn’t the first time the Patriots have come under the leagues magnifying glass, as this is reminiscent of the 2007 spygate incident that occurred in a game between the Patriots and Jets that saw Bill Belichick fined $500,000.