A new light has been cast on the use of illegal footballs by the New England Patriots during the AFC Championship game and if true, suddenly Deflategate does not sounds nearly as egregious.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, 11 of the 12 balls used by the Patriots were under the allowed limit of 12.5 Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) of pressure. However, most of the balls were not nearly as deflated as many originally believed.
“As far as the 11 footballs that I am told were below the 12.5 PSI, one was about two pounds under,” Rapoport said on NFL Network. “Several were about a pound under, and several more were just a tick below 12.5 PSI.”
This is in stark contrast to initial reports which stated that 11 of the 12 balls “were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below what’s required by NFL regulations.”
Complicating matters is the admission by the NFL’s vice president of officiating that the PSI of the footballs prior to the game were not recorded by the officials so there is no way to know exactly how much pressure was lost from the balls used by the Patriots or the Indianapolis Colts.
This is significant because most reports debunking the possibility that weather caused the change in pressure assumed that most of the balls had seen a 16% decrease in PSI, when that may not have been the case. Suddenly, the Patriots explanation for how the balls were deflated is at least plausible for a large number of the balls and something like a slow leak or an oversight could be used to explain the one that was two pounds under.
In addition, Rapoport also reports that the “person of interest” that was seen on video taking the bag of balls into the bathroom was an “elderly gameday attendant” and that he was in the restroom for 98 seconds.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.