Indianapolis Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson told NFL.com’s Jeff Darlington that he noticed the Patriots using Colts game balls at one point during the first half.
Jackson says there was a sequence late in the first half where the refs couldn’t find any balls to use, and then the Patriots started using the Colts balls. From NFL.com:
Jackson does, however, recall one interesting moment during the first half that has something to do with the latest controversy. He recalls, during a television timeout, there was an especially long delay that prompted him to approach an official.
The game official mentioned something about their efforts to locate a usable football. Shortly after, Jackson noticed that the Patriots were using the Colts’ footballs late in the first half. Jackson said it was odd to him that New England couldn’t find a football to use, especially in the AFC Championship Game.
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported on Wednesday that the NFL planned to test the air pressure of New England’s footballs at halftime after getting “tipped off” that they were improperly inflated. According to Glazer, the Patriots balls were reinflated at halftime and used in the second half.
It’s unclear whether any abnormal New England balls were taken out of play before halftime. That could account for why the refs were unable to locate a usable game ball, but we don’t know if that’s the case.
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady denied any involvement in the scandal on Thursday. Belichick said he hadn’t heard about the allegations until Monday morning, and that he didn’t even know the ball procedure rules.
Brady said that he didn’t even notice that the balls were underinflated. Some former players later said that it’s impossible to believe that a quarterback whose livelihood depends on the quality of the football wouldn’t notice if it had been altered. If the Patriots were really using Colts balls at one point, it stands to reason the Brady would have noticed the difference.
Jackson also told NFL.com that he didn’t notice that the ball was underinflated when he made an interception in the second quarter. According to Newday’s Bob Glauber, the entire controversy started when a Colts equipment manager (who Jackson gave the ball to after the interception) noticed that it felt light.
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