The Patriots are under investigation for deflating footballs during AFC … – USA TODAY
PROVIDENCE, RI — The NFL is investigating whether the New England Patriots used under-inflated footballs in Sunday’s AFC championship game win against the Indianapolis Colts.
League spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed the investigation to USA TODAY Sports. It was first reported late Sunday night by Indianapolis television station WHTR’s Bob Kravitz.
The investigation could be linked to a moment just after halftime, when officials stopped play while Tom Brady and the Patriots offense were on the field. The referee called for a new ball to come in from the Patriots sideline. On the CBS broadcast, announcers Phil Simms and Jim Nantz speculated that a kicking ball could have initially been in play instead.
An under-inflated football would be easier to grip, and therefore easier to throw and catch, especially in adverse weather conditions, as was the case Sunday night in Foxborough, where heavy rain pounded Gillette Stadium throughout the second half.
NFL footballs are required to be inflated with 12.5-13.5 pounds of air, and home teams must give all game balls to the league two hours and 15 minutes prior to kickoff to be inspected.
According to the WHTR report, if the league confirms the balls were deflated, the Patriots could lose future draft picks. In 2012, USC was found to have illegally deflated footballs during a game against Oregon. The Trojans were fined $25,000 and the team’s student manager was fired.