The New England Patriots And The Case Of The Deflated Balls

A new Patriots cheating scandal, or much ado about nothing?

Patriots Colts

Among the more bizarre allegations coming out of the wake of this week’s NFC and AFC Championship games was the allegation that the New England Patriots had used deflated balls during the course of the game, allegedly to make the balls easier to catch and to throw. The story originated with an Indianapolis television station, which apparently got the story from people on the Colts’ staff who had noticed that a ball that had been intercepted during the course of the game felt like it was less inflated than it should be. While the Patriots dismissed the allegations, the NFL had apparently already opened an investigation into the matter as early as Sunday evening. Now, reports indicate that as many as eleven of the twelve balls that New England was required to provide for its use during the game may have been under-inflated:

The NFL has found that 11 of the New England Patriots’ 12 game balls were inflated significantly below the NFL’s requirements, league sources involved and familiar with the investigation of Sunday’s AFC Championship Game told ESPN.

The investigation found the footballs were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below what’s required by NFL regulations during the Pats’ 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, according to sources.

“We are not commenting at this time,” said Greg Aiello, the NFL’s senior vice president of communications.

League sources have confirmed that the footballs were properly inspected and approved by referee Walt Anderson 2 hours and 15 minutes before kickoff, before they were returned to each team.

ESPN Sports Radio 810 in Kansas City reported that the Patriots’ footballs were tested at the half, re-inflated at that time when they were found to be low, then put back in play for the second half and then tested again after the game. All of the balls the Colts used met standards, according to the report.

Under NFL rules, no alteration of the footballs is allowed once they are approved.

Troy Vincent, the league’s senior executive vice president of football operations, told The Associated Press late Tuesday in response to this report that the “investigation is currently underway, and we’re still awaiting findings.” He told “Pro Football Talk with Mike Florio on NBC Sports Radio” earlier Tuesday that the NFL expected to wrap up its investigation in “two or three days.”

Sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Wednesday that the Colts had concerns about underinflated balls after their regular-season game against the visiting Patriots on Nov. 16.

During that game, Colts safety Mike Adams twice intercepted Tom Brady and gave the balls to the Colts’ equipment manager to save — and both times there were concerns about the balls feeling underinflated, sources told Schefter

Those sources said the Colts raised concerns to the league, which was aware of the issue going into this weekend’s AFC title game.

Yet to be determined is what, if any, penalties may be imposed upon the Patriots. One source described the league as “disappointed … angry … distraught” after spending considerable time on the findings earlier Tuesday.

When this story was first reported, I was admittedly somewhat incredulous, although in no small part that was due to the fact that, like I suspect most people, I was unaware of how the NFL handled the delivery and custody of what would seem to be the most important part of the game. As it turns out, the NFL handles this seemingly important matter differently from other sports. In Major League Baseball, for example,  the home team is responsible for providing the umpires with an adequate supply of baseballs for use during the course of the game, however Rule 3.01 of the Official Rules of Major League Baseball require the home team to provide the umpire with a sufficient quantity of balls for use during the course of the game, each of which are to be inspected by the umpires to ensure that they comply with the rules. Additionally, before a ball is used in play it must again be inspected by the head umpire to ensure that it has not been defaced or altered in a manner that could benefit either team. Rule 13 of the National Hockey League’s Rules require the home team to provide pucks; however, the rules require those pucks to be kept in a freezer prior to game time and under the sole control of one of the on-ice officials. Finally, the NBA’s rules are somewhat unclear but appear to say that league officials are responsible for providing balls and ensuring that they are adequately inflated. In the NFL, things are a bit different:

Section 1

BALL DIMENSIONS

The Ball must be a “Wilson,” hand selected, bearing the signature of the Commissioner of the League, Roger Goodell.

The ball shall be made up of an inflated (12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds) urethane bladder enclosed in a pebble grained, leather case (natural tan color) without corrugations of any kind. It shall have the form of a prolate spheroid and the size and weight shall be: long axis, 11 to 11 1/4 inches; long circumference, 28 to 28 1/2 inches; short circumference, 21 to 21 1/4 inches;
weight, 14 to 15 ounces.

The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications. A pump is to be furnished by the home club, and the balls shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to the start of the game.
Section 2

BALL SUPPLY

Each team will make 12 primary balls available for testing by the Referee two hours and 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the game to meet League requirements. The home team will also make 12 backup balls available for testing in all stadiums. In addition, the visitors, at their discretion, may bring 12 backup balls to be tested by the Referee for games held in outdoor stadiums. For all games, eight new footballs, sealed in a special box and shipped by the manufacturer to the Referee, will be opened in the officials’ locker room two hours and 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the game.These balls are to be specially marked by the Referee and used exclusively for the kicking game.

In the event a home team ball does not conform to specifications, or its supply is exhausted, the Referee shall secure a proper ball from the visitors and, failing that, use the best available ball. Any such circumstances must be reported to the Commissioner.

In case of rain or a wet, muddy, or slippery field, a playable ball shall be used at the request of the offensive team’s center.  The Game Clock shall not stop for such action (unless undue delay occurs).

Note: It is the responsibility of the home team to furnish playable balls at all times by attendants from either side of the playing field.

Since each team is permitted to provide its own balls for its own use during the game, that means that the alleged advantage of under-inflated balls would not benefit the opposing team unless they happened to end up using one of the home teams balls instead of one that they brought for themselves. Additionally, it doesn’t appear that there is any kind of official custody of the balls by game or league officials after the pre-game inspection, which thus leaves open the possibility that they could be altered prior to the game but after they’ve been inspected. Even given that, though, NFL Media analyst Gil Brandt is skeptical about how the Patriots could have pulled this off:

Q.How would the Patriots get deflated balls into the game?

A. That’s the $64 question. The officials do a great job of being sure everything is up-to-date. With all the procedures they take, I find it hard to believe that someone could take two bags of 12 balls and deflate them. I don’t see where you could go with this large bag of balls. Do you lock yourself in a room? It’s not very feasible.

(…)

Anything is possible, but it is highly improbable. If you’re down on the sidelines and taking a ball out of the bag, which logistically you’d have to do, you could be seen.

Q.Could the balls have inadvertently lost air because of the cold weather?

A. Sometimes balls can have a bladder problem. I’m a collector, and I have a ball that hasn’t lost any air in five years. But I have another ball that has to be reflated. Those great ladies in Ada, Ohio [where Wilson produces game balls for the N.F.L.] do such a great job sewing the balls, but sometimes the bladder loses air and it’s beyond their control. But the officials are so good at what they do and are taught what they have to do, I find it hard to believe it could take place.

Given the size of the Patriots’ victory over the Colts, it seems unlikely that the allegedly deflated balls were the definitive factor in the outcome of the game. However, given previous allegations against the Patriots such as the infamous “Spy Gate” scandal and, more recently, complaints from the Ravens that the team had played fast and loose with the eligible/ineligible player rules, tend to add to perceptions about the Patriots under Bill Belicheck that are unlikely to go away regardless of what happens in the Super Bowl in two weeks. If the NFL does find that the team deliberately deflated balls, they are likely to take away draft picks from the team and possible impose a fine. More broadly, though, if the allegations are true then it shows that the Patriots didn’t learn their lesson from the cheating scandal five years ago, and that something ought to be done about that. What it is, and whether there’s even authority for the NFL to do more than a fine and denial of draft picks, is the big question. If there is no such authority, then the league would seem to need to do something about that because this is the kind of issue that goes to the very integrity of the game itself.

FILED UNDER: Sports, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ben says:

    As a lifelong New Englander and Patriots fan, this really f&^#ing pisses me off. I remember 5-year-old me crying myself to sleep when the Pats got slaughtered in Super Bowl XX, and the win over the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI was probably one of the top 10 happiest nights of my life. But I’ve had to spend the last 7 years listening to the rest of the country talk about how all of the Patriots wins are tainted and they’re cheaters, and now here it is all over again. It has completely sucked out any joy I might have over the Super Bowl next weekend, no matter what happens, because everyone will call this one tainted too.

    It pisses me off because it’s so unnecessary. This is probably the best Patriots team since 2004 (yes, I think they’re even better than the 2007 team), they shouldn’t need to cheat, especially in a dumb little insignificant way as this. The Patriots have been turned into the most hated team in all of professional sports, everyone views them as cheaters and all of their titles are tainted and they want asterisks and all that other crap.

    Well, I think it’s come to this. Kraft needs to fire Bill Belichick. Period. This man has brought so much ill-repute to this organization, that only a complete house-cleaning can start to clear it up. And I’m fully expecting that to make the Pats suck for a few years. Fine. I just want this entire coaching staff and organization flushed out and started clean.




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  2. Will Taylor says:

    It’s real simple. Let Baltimore play Indy this Sunday and the winner plays in the Super Bowl.
    It’s getting very difficult to ignore the fact that the NFL is turning into the WWE. I hope Marshawn Lynch has bodyguards because he might get attacked Tonya Harding style.

    btw, i want my $$ back from losing on the SuperBowl in 2001 against the Rams.. my track record in the SB is about 70% over the last 17 years, but that one really bothers me. The guy should have banned ala Pete Rose after videotaping practices and a teams walkthrough.




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  3. c.red says:

    As a Colts fan, I agree with the “had no real affect on the game” verdict, which makes it an even silier action.

    But the Belicheck Patriot’s have crowded every inch of the rules and stepped over twice now and shown little or no remorse for hurting the reputation of the entire league. IF the investigation proves it was deliberate then they should be fined heavily, lose draft picks, and probably even be declared ineligible for playoffs for a year or two. If it turns out Belicheck knew about it in any capaciy (which I find doubtful) then he should be banned from the league.

    They sould have had meaningful sanctions five years ago.




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  4. al-Ameda says:

    (1) Four words: Forty Five To Seven
    (2) Bill Belichick is a recidivist

    All of this does make me wonder a bit if it is coincidental that New England hasn’t won a Super Bowl since Bill was busted a few years ago on the so-called spying deal.Too bad, because this is a very good team, with one of the most media-genic quarterbacks of the past 15 years and now people are focused on cheating.

    I personally think that every athlete, every coach and every owner is out there seeking some kind of competitive edge, however it is notable that in the NFL, in recent years, only one team has been caught outside the rules – New England, twice. I expect that they’ll be fined and they will lose a high draft pick.




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  5. C. Clavin says:

    One has to ask…if the effect is so minor, so infinitesimal…then why did they do it?

    I expect that they’ll be fined and they will lose a high draft pick.

    And what team wouldn’t give that up in return for a shot at the Lombardi Trophy?
    Now I have to root for the Seahawks…even though I live in New England…an hour from Foxboro.




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  6. Moosebreath says:

    Assuming this was true, at the time they deflated the balls, did they know they were going to win in a blowout? Absent a time machine, I can’t see how they would. Therefore, if this is proven true, they felt they needed the advantage and the final score is irrelevant.




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  7. C. Clavin says:

    Leapin’ Lizards!!!
    Perhaps Giselle deflated Tom Brady’s balls?
    Footballs, I mean. Elliptical spheroids even.
    Heavens to mergatroid; it’s a super-model conspiracy!!!




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  8. Gustopher says:

    Sometimes balls can have a bladder problem.

    This space intentionally left blank. Just enjoy that quoted section.




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  9. Tyrell says:

    Other infamous scandals of the NFL: The ” loaded ” shoe of kicker Mark Mosely. The Redskins at RFK Stadium opening the end zone tunnel doors to create a draft to affect field goals. The famous “snow blower” of the Patriots: it was used to clear some snow to enable a winning field goal, as I remember.




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  10. Pinky says:

    Well, the original “gate” didn’t affect the outcome, either. But both Nixon and (it appears) Belicheck were obsessives who would bend or break any rule, large or small, in order to win.




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  11. Tyrell says:

    Other infamous scandals of the NFL: The ” loaded ” shoe of kicker Mark Mosely. The Redskins at RFK Stadium opening the end zone tunnel doors to create a draft to affect field goals. The famous “snow blower” of the Patriots: it was used to clear some snow to enable a winning field goal, as I remember.
    Teams and athletes are always looking for an edge: pine tar bats loaded bats, spit balls. Fans don’t really care.




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  12. James Pearce says:

    I think on its merits, the deflated balls didn’t mean much. But the Patriots’ reputation precedes them. Any kind of shenanigans is going to take a more sinister tone considering their recent history.




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  13. Pinky says:

    @Tyrell: You’re wrong; fans care. A cheating team’s fans might try to ignore the accusations, but the general reputation of the sport declines every time there’s something like this.




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  14. Dave Schuler says:

    I think they can treat that with penicillin.




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  15. Davebo says:

    If it’s proven Fine Bellichick the half million and the team again and this time take their first and second round draft picks for next year. If another “scandal” is uncovered in the future they need to lose their entire draft.




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  16. Tyrell says:

    I remember years ago there were these Congressional hearings about the use of steroids in major league baseball. There were these ball players, including McGuire and a few others sitting there in a Capitol meeting room. Imagine that: pro ball players of the highest caliber being questioned by some politician: bizarre. Yet other sports were not bothered. And think about the WWE: steroid use if there ever was. Why were they not investigated along with other pro sports ?
    I am not sure that politicians should be interfering with what happens on the sports fields of this country. Where is the line drawn ? Now some are questioning a teams name. I guess next they will having an investigation into uniform colors and dugout seats. If they want to do something helpful, how about the insane price of food? $4 for a hot dog ! Talk about a perfect crime. And they won’t let you bring anything in. So we are stuck in a stadium for hours without food! That is what they need to investigate.




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  17. ernieyeball says:

    “No one is allowed to touch those balls,” Giants equipment director Joe Skiba said, via The Times. “They’re precious jewels. Too much work has gone into them.”

    http://nep.247sports.com/Bolt/NFL-Teams-Tailor-Footballs-to-QBs-Preferences-34926448




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  18. humanoid.panda says:

    What I would like to know is who put the hallucinogenics in the water the Packers were drinking in the last five minutes of the NFC final. That has to be the explanation for them pissing that game away, right?




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  19. ernieyeball says:

    @humanoid.panda:..who put the hallucinogenics in the water the Packers were drinking…

    Same guy who put the steroids in the cheese they eat all season long…




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  20. Pinky says:

    @humanoid.panda: Or, who sent a high school team onto the field in Seahawks uniforms for the first 3.5 quarters.

    And really, the Packers offense played great on that last-minute drive. The Seahawks defense got their butts kicked by a one-legged man.




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  21. Tony W says:

    @Pinky: And Sherman stayed in with one wing bent. These guys are amazing.




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  22. Tony W says:

    It’s not too late to have a Hawks/Colts superbowl.




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  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Tyrell:

    Why were they not investigated along with other pro sports ?

    Because baseball, alone among all professional sports, enjoys an exemption from federal antitrust laws.




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  24. dennis says:

    Dorchester, MA, born and raised. All the haters of my team can eat crow.




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  25. Hal_10000 says:

    Assuming these allegations are born out … here’s some ideas about what to do:

    They could suspend Belicheck for a year or half a season, including the Super Bowl. This is his second offense. No it didn’t make a difference in the game. But it’s still cheating. And it’s not like the rule didn’t exist or wasn’t being actively enforced (which is a reason I don’t think we should punish MLBers who used steroids before the testing era). There must have been some shenanigans here to deliberately violate a known rule.

    The could also, for the next season, teste all Patriots game balls before they are put in the game. Any deflated ball will result in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. More than one means a one game suspension for Belicheck.




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  26. ernieyeball says:

    The “protection” enjoyed by enterprises like the NFL and the NBA that antitrust laws codify provided little relief for the United States Football League.

    In 1986, the USFL, having recently decided to compete directly with the NFL, filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the National Football League. The NFL was found to have violated anti-monopoly laws. However, in a victory in name only, the USFL was awarded a judgment of just $1, which under anti-trust laws, was tripled to $3. When it folded, the USFL had lost over $163 million.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Football_League




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  27. ernieyeball says:

    @dennis:..All the haters of my team can eat crow.

    They will be eating SeaHag Hash after the Patriots turn them into stew.




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  28. ernieyeball says:

    @Hal_10000: The could also, for the next season, teste all Patriots game balls before they are put in the game. Any deflated ball will result in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. More than one means a one game suspension for Belicheck.

    If Patriot balls are examined then they will have to examine the Bears balls and the Bills balls, the Bengals balls , not to mention the balls of the Broncos and the Buccaneers. I can’t see how checking all the balls of just one of the teams is good for the game.




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  29. Hal_10000 says:

    @ernieyeball:

    Why would they have to check the balls of all the teams? Only the Patriots were found to be cheating. Think of this as putting them on ball probation.




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  30. ernieyeball says:

    @Hal_10000:..Why would they have to check the balls of all the teams?

    OK by me. Let the other teams get away with it. Don’t check them.




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  31. Just 'nutha' says:

    @Tyrell:

    Why [was the WWE] not investigated along with other pro sports ?

    Ummm….because it’s not actually a sport in the same sense, it’s theater?

    On to other matters. It’s clear to me that in the wake of all the stuff going on–drafting gangsta kids who can play ball, steroids, beating up our girlfriends/wives, drunk driving negligent homicides, scandals, and such–we can stop talking about “the integrity of the sport” and admit that these are businesses focused on the bottom line just like any others and they will do whatever is not criminally prohibited in order to gain an advantage, just as most, if not all, other businesses do. He cheated, he may get away with it–as he did the previous time, get over it.




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  32. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Correct me if I’m wrong here, but aren’t the balls (for all games) already inspected / tested by the refs prior to each game?

    It seems more like they have a chain of custody problem post inspection, not an inspection problem. It would make more sense for custody of those balls to be held by the officials once they have been inspected.




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  33. Guarneri says:

    Giselle offers you certain “favors” for a win and you know you play better with under inflated balls. You a) do nothing in the spirit of sportsmanship, b) yawn and go back to your search for news stories about legalization of gay marriage, c) get your pistol and hollow points out and blow those footballs all to hell.




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  34. ernieyeball says:

    Meanwhile in Other Football News: Iron Mike said what?

    Notably, Ditka has joined the growing number of parents who wouldn’t let their children play football. “That’s sad. I wouldn’t. And my whole life was football,” he told Gumbel. “I think the risk is worse than the reward.”

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/chi-mike-ditka-football-dangerous-son-20150121-story.html




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  35. Liberal Capitalist says:

    You Will Suffer Humiliation When The Sports Team From My Area Defeats The Sports Team From Your Area

    As you can see from the calendar, the game is coming up this weekend. I’m sure you are as excited for it as I am, as our cities are rivals and have been for quite some time. Your confidence in your team is high, but rest assured, you will suffer humiliation when the sports team from my area defeats the sports team from your area.

    On numerous occasions, you have expressed the conviction that your area’s sports team will be victorious. I must admit that every time I hear you make this proclamation, I react with both laughter and disbelief. “Ha!” I say to myself with laughter. “What?!” I say to myself in disbelief. How could you believe that your sports team could beat my sports team? It is clear that yours is inferior in every way.

    When the sporting contest begins, the players on your team will be treated as though they are inconsequential. It will be remarkably easy for my team to accumulate more points than yours. There are many reasons for this, starting with the inferior physical attributes of the players representing your area. Strength, speed, and agility are just three of the qualities that the players on the team from your area lack. The players representing my area, on the other hand, have these traits in abundance.

    I would not be a bit surprised if the individuals on the team from your area were sexually attracted to members of their own gender. That is how ineffective they are on the field of battle.

    Underscoring your team’s inferiority is its choice of colors. It is ludicrous to believe that your team’s colors inspire either respect or fear. Instead, they appear to have been chosen by someone who is colorblind or, perhaps, bereft of sight altogether. The colors for my team, on the other hand, are aesthetically pleasing when placed in proximity to one another. They are a superior color combination in every way.

    While we are on the subject of aesthetics, let us compare the respective facilities in which our teams play. While my team’s edifice is blessed with architectural splendor and the most modern of amenities, yours is a thoroughly unpleasant place in which to watch a sporting contest. I know of what I speak, for I once attended a game between our respective teams in your facility. Let’s just say the experience left me wishing that my car was inoperable that day due to mechanical problems, rendering it impossible for me to get to your area to attend the game.

    If you need another reason why the sporting franchise representing my area is superior, look no further than the supporters for the two sides. Not only are the supporters of the team from my region more spirited, but they are also more intelligent and of finer breeding than you and the rest of your ilk. In addition, the female supporters of the team from my area possess more attractive countenances and figures than yours. Some of the women from my side that I have observed could make a living by posing for pictures for major men’s magazines. The women who cheer for your team, I’m afraid, are far too unattractive to do so.

    One of the more pathetic aspects of the team from your area is the fact that only people in your immediate area possess an affinity for it. By means of contrast, the team from my area inspires loyalty and affection in individuals who live in many other geographic locations.

    To illustrate this point, let me tell a brief story: Recently, I was on vacation in an area of the country far away from my own, and I saw many individuals wearing items of clothing that bore the insignia of my team. I approached one such individual and asked him if he originated from my area. He said no, explaining that he simply liked the team from my area and had for many years. Interestingly enough, during this trip, I saw no clothing or other paraphernalia bearing the insignia of your team.

    Do you still doubt that the team from your area is inferior to the one from mine? Just look at our teams’ respective histories. In the past, we have defeated you on any number of occasions. Granted, there were times when your team beat my team, but those were lucky flukes.

    The day of the game will soon be at hand. And no matter how hard you pray to a higher power or how many foam accoutrements you wear in support of the team from your area, your team will be defeated. We will win and you will lose. This is your fate.

    Prepare for humiliation. It shall be upon you at the designated hour.

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/you-will-suffer-humiliation-when-the-sports-team-f,10804/

    (… seriously, who cares.)




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  36. Hal_10000 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    They inspect them two hours before the game. What I am proposing is that, for a team now shown to be purposefully deflating them by some scheme (if that is indeed shown in the investigation), you check each ball again when it is put in play and throw a flag if it has been deflated.




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  37. Rick DeMent says:

    I still don’t get this, if the balls were under inflated wouldn’t both teams receive the same advantage? Did the Pat’s manage to get a regulation ball in play for the other team somehow?




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  38. Pinky says:

    @Rick DeMent: Each team has their own supply of footballs (usually 12). There’s some leeway allowed – some quarterbacks like them scuffed up, for example – but they have to meet certain specifications, and are checked a few hours before the game. This accusation apparently came up following an interception, when a Colts player said the ball he picked off felt funny.




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  39. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    Yeah, that was initially confusing for quite a few. Some articles (I can’t find a good link now) clarified that each team keeps their own balls. The only time the inflation would benefit both teams is if the Colts intercepted the ball. Then it would only benefit them until the next play, when they would use one of the balls they brought.




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  40. al-Ameda says:

    This NFL season has been a raging dumpster fire since training camp opened and the Ray Rice domestic abuse video premiered.

    The NFL has for years successfully marketed itself as America’s sport – a wholesome friends and family sport, one that affords people the opportunity to get together many times a week for about 5 months, to watch games, bet on games, and once a year to binge on 8 hours of Super Bowl pre-game, game, post-game, advertisements, and saturation bloviation.

    At least now the NFL doesn’t have to pretend to be wholesome.

    Thank god for the NBA, they never pretended to be the sanctimonious operation that the NFL presented itself to be.




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  41. Bill BeliCheat says:

    I’m a Giants fan so I’m not for either team.

    You might say ‘they all do it” but that’s just not so. Many coaches are old school and still believe in an honest game where the best team wins. (Example, Tom Coughlin Terrible coach but an honest man).

    These footballs were checked and approved by a “trusted” official, but (somehow) during the game 11 of 12 of them became deflated (what’s the odds).

    The officials over looked a roughing the kicker on the colts first drive. I’ve seen just too many over looked penalties by the NE Pats go uncalled to be coincidence. They always have 12 men on the field — their team and the “trusted’ officials.

    If you want to the officials honest just review each game and if they made bad calls fine them big money! If they make too many mistakes don’t let them officiate at all! Who wants someone with bad eyesight or judgment to officiate the game anyway!

    If you want too see the cheating NE Pats get what they deserve let the Giants kick their a** in the super bowl again and again and …

    Yours Truly

    Bill BeliCheat.




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  42. Rick DeMent says:

    Pinky:

    ah thanks for the clarification. then the fix is easy, use a common ball pool.




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  43. Pinky says:

    @Rick DeMent: Use a common pool ball? Like, a cue ball? Those things are way harder than footballs.




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  44. Dave D says:

    How did the Refs not notice in game? They set the ball for every down, shouldn’t they in fact know what a regulation ball feels like? It took a player from the opposing team to say something? This is bad for everyone involved including the refs because how they didn’t do something seems off.




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  45. Tony W says:

    @Bill BeliCheat: I heard today that coach Bill has fired the equipment manager…..for failing to deflate the 12th ball.




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  46. ernieyeball says:

    @al-Ameda:..At least now the NFL doesn’t have to pretend to be wholesome.

    Whatta’ relief!
    What It Was, Was Football Andy Griffith

    And then I looked down there, I seen these pretty girls wearin’ these little bitty short dresses and a-dancing around, and so I sit down and thought I’d see what it was that was a-going to happen. I did.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNxLxTZHKM8
    This video was created by Cornerstone City Church using illustrations from George Woodbridge, a Mad Magazine (1958) illustrator.
    (Be sure to catch the team captains shaking hands at 3:27.)




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  47. Dave D says:

    @Tony W: That 12th Ball needed to be filled for field goals.




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  48. Tyrell says:

    In this situation, a fine would be appropriate. Another option would be to require the Patriots to sell hot dogs for $1.00 next season.
    Think about things that go on in other sports: ice hockey – curving the sticks too much; baseball – spitballs, Gaylord Perry’s famous grease ball, and the “pine tar” bat incident; basketball – off angle backboard; wrestling – everything from using chairs to knocking out the ref. NASCAR – some of the greatest mechanics figured out every trick possible: hidden fuel tanks, weights that would fall off, and illegal engine parts. Now those mechanics and crew chiefs are legends. All of them did it. Two mechanics actually developed engines that got over 50 mpg: Smoky Yunick for General Motors, and Ralph Moody for Ford. Neither project made it to the showroom.




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  49. Pinky says:

    @Tyrell: Come on. No wrestler has ever used a chair or knocked out a ref, by any reasonable definition of the word “wrestler”. But violations of the rules should be punished, even in something as silly as sports.




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  50. Tyrell says:

    @al-Ameda: No, baseball is still America’s pastime.
    The whole underflated ball thing is just a minor deal. No worse than spitballs, rosin on the bat, and cut baseballs.




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  51. Eric Florack says:

    having been born and raised in western New York, believe me when I tell you I am no New England Patriots fan. Neither am i fan of the Colts. That having been said, any driver worth his salt is going to tell you that when you expose a tire to cold weather the internal pressures are going to go down. That’s why it’s more critical to watch your tire pressure during the winter months.
    I voiced this at the diner last night, and was asked what what about the balls from the other team? I suggested that the Indianapolis TV station wasn’t reporting on those. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember anybody examining them.

    I suspect much is being made of nothing.
    By the losing team.




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  52. gVOR08 says:

    @Eric Florack: Given the reported temps, cold might account for 3/4 psi. It’s reported they were 2 psi under spec.

    Ran across a two year old NYT article about the obsessiveness with which the equipment managers prepared Eli Manning’s balls. Sorry, too lazy to go look for the link. If their practice is typical of the NFL, Brady’s out right now practicing, learning how to throw a properly inflated ball.




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  53. Pinky says:

    @Eric Florack: We don’t know anything officially, but I’d have to assume that if the Colts’ balls were underinflated as well, the NFL would have made this known. And this wasn’t cold weather, at least not by New England standards in January.

    I’ve heard a lot of sports fans talking about how this isn’t a big deal, but every player and ex-player I’ve heard interviewed considers it one.




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  54. Tyrell says:

    @Pinky: Nick Foley, Bradshaw, Big Show, Steve Austin, Randy Orton, Undertaker, Triple H.




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  55. Rick Almeida says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I voiced this at the diner last night, and was asked what what about the balls from the other team? I suggested that the Indianapolis TV station wasn’t reporting on those. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember anybody examining them.

    As a New England native and fan, this pains me, but:

    All of the balls the Colts used met standards, according to the report.




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  56. Pinky says:

    @Tyrell: Exactly. Bodybuilders and stuntmen. None of them are competitive wrestlers. (The Big Show and Undertaker can barely move, much less wrestle.) At least you could’ve mentioned Kurt Angle, who used to be a wrestler before he joined the WWE.




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  57. bill says:

    at least the sports writers have something to do during the lull/buildup. it’s pretty weak though as the refs are responsible for allowing the balls in question to be used. and there still hasn’t been a clarifying as to how much they were under inflated.
    and local scholar troy aikman has already declared this to be a major deal- like he was ever accused of being the brightest light on any sign……




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  58. Pinky says:

    @bill: Actually, sports writers are all saying that it’s no big deal. The athletes themselves are the ones saying that it is. This is a story that the sports reporters can’t control, and it’s making the reporters look like the dim bulbs.




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  59. mannning says:

    If the Patriots run 40 or more plays in a game, that offers the refs 40 or more opportunities to feel the ball’s pressure as they handled it and set it down for the next play. So far, I have seen no reports from the refs saying that they felt the balls to be underinflated. Silly stuff.




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