BOSTON (CBS/AP) – It appears that “DeflateGate” may have started right after Tom Brady was intercepted in Sunday’s AFC Championship game.
The NFL is investigating whether the footballs used by the Patriots were not inflated with the proper amount of air.
Deflating a football could change the way it would be gripped by a player or the way it travels through the air. It could also help them grip it better in the rain.
HOW DID IT START?
New York Newsday reported Tuesday that the Colts first noticed something unusual after linebacker D’Qwell Jackson intercepted Brady in the second quarter.
Jackson reportedly gave the ball to someone on the equipment staff, who thought it seemed under-inflated. He allegedly told Colts coach Chuck Pagano. The Colts general manager was also notified and he notified a league official, according to the report.
“DeflateGate,” as it quickly became known, developed into a national story, and on Monday afternoon, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about the situation.
“We’ll cooperate fully with whatever the league wants us to [do], whatever questions they ask us,” Belichick said on a conference call with reporters. “I didn’t know anything about it until this morning.”
According to the NFL rule book, home teams are responsible for furnishing playable balls at all times. Each team brings 12 primary balls, while home teams are required to also bring 12 backup balls.
Once the referee makes sure the footballs are properly inflated, they’re delivered to ball attendants provided by the home team.
The league’s game operations manual notes: “If any individual alters the footballs, or if a non-approved ball is used in the game, the person responsible and, if appropriate, the head coach or other club personnel will be subject to discipline, including but not limited to, a fine of $25,000.”
“We are looking into it,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Monday. “We do not have anything further to add at this point.”
The Patriots beat the Colts 45-7 to reach the Super Bowl. New England will play the defending champion Seattle Seahawks in Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 1.
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