First there was Spygate, now we have DeflateGate. After the New England Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts 7-45 in the AFC Championship on Sunday, it was revealed that the Patriots may have been playing with under-inflated footballs that allow players to better catch the ball in slick weather.
Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson first noticed something might be wrong after he intercepted a Tom Brady pass late in the second quarter. He brought the ball to the Colts equipment staff who inspected the ball and passed the message along to the officials.
The official inspected the ball and found it to be below league standards for inflation and removed it from play. It’s not unheard of for a ball to lose some air during a game, but in this case “several” of the Patriots game balls were found to abnormal, according to a league source. Each team supplies their own footballs for their offense and each of the balls are checked prior to kickoff as well as throughout the contest to check for inconsistencies, so the questions that remain are how did it happen and was it deliberate?
New England head coach Bill Belichick said in statement Monday that the Patriots organization would “cooperate fully with whatever questions they ask us and whatever they want us to do.” Belichick claims he knew nothing of the under inflation issues until Monday morning. “I really don’t know what to say or know anything about what we’re talking about here.”
Despite the claims, the Patriots are Super Bowl bound where they will face the Seattle Seahawks. If the team is found to be in violation of any of the rules regarding proper ball inflation, they will likely be penalized by league officials with a fine and/or loss of draft picks in the future.