Will this latest scandal delegitimize the Patriots’ season?
New evidence has emerged in the latest New England Patriots cheating scandal that involves the underinflation of not one, but 11 out of the 12 footballs used in their AFC title win over the Indianapolis Colts.
SEE MORE:(Video) Big Bash seagull miraculously lives after being smashed by Adam Voges shot Arsenal announce signing of midfielder Krystian Bielik NBA news: Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry’s mom fines him for turnovers
A new report from ESPN NFL insider Chris Mortensen stated that 11 out of the 12 footballs used in the Patriots 45-7 AFC Championship Game win over the Colts were under-inflated by “two pounds per square inch below what’s required by NFL regulations.”
NFL game balls are required to be inflated with 12.5 to 13.5 pounds of air and weigh 14 to 15 ounces. Each team provides balls each game for use when its offense is on the field. The balls are inspected before the game by the officiating crew, but are then handled during the game by personnel provided by the home team – in this case, the Patriots.
Deflating the ball can have a variety of effects on the game even if the Patriots won the game in a blowout. NPR reported that in rainy conditions such as the AFC Championship Game was played in, a lighter ball can be easier to catch in slick and slippery conditions. A lighter ball also wouldn’t travel as far on deep throws. But the biggest factor would be gripping the ball – which slipped out of the hands of Colts QB Andrew Luck but never out of the hands of Patriots QB Tom Brady.
Mortensen’s anonymous league source said the NFL is “disappointed … angry … distraught.”
This isn’t the first time the Patriots have been investigated for cheating. In 2007 the Patriots were disciplined for videotaping New York Jets coaching signals on the sidelines – a violation of NFL rules – as a result, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fined Bill Belichick $500,000, fined the Patriots organization $250,000 and docked them their 2008 1st-round draft pick.
While it is easy to conclude that the deflated balls did not give the Patriots an overwhelming advantage in their AFC Championship win, it is yet another cheating-related blemish on a team that frequently finds itself on the receiving end of trouble.
At least one NFL legend, however, wouldn’t mince words with his opinion on what the ball deflation really meant:
11 of 12 balls under-inflated can anyone spell cheating!!! #Just Saying
— Jerry Rice (@JerryRice) January 21, 2015