The New England Patriots are under investigation for allegedly deflating footballs during their 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game, according to an NFL spokesman.
Deflating the ball makes it easier to hold, throw, and catch, which helps the offence.
Bob Kravitz of WTHR in Indianapolis first reported the story. According to Kravitz, the referees took a ball out of play at one point and weighed it.
During New England’s first drive of the second half, there was an unusual delay where the referee switched out the ball:
Under NFL rules the ball must be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds. Each team provides a set of 12 balls, which are tested by the referee two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff, and uses their own balls on offence.
The Patriots could lose draft picks if the story is true, according to Kravitz.
Speaking on WEEI on Monday morning, Tom Brady called the accusation “ridiculous.”
“That’s the last of my worries. I don’t even respond to stuff like this,” he said.
The Patriots won by 38, so it’s unlikely that a non-regulation ball swung the game. But given New England’s history of bending the rules, this will be a talking point over the next two weeks.
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