NFL investigation into deflated footballs ongoing

11 Of 12 Pats Footballs Under-Inflated


The NFL says its investigation into whether the New England Patriots used under-inflated footballs in the AFC championship game is ongoing after a report Tuesday night claimed the league found 11 balls were not properly inflated.

Troy Vincent, the NFL's executive vice president for football operations, told The Associated Press that the "investigation is currently underway and we're still awaiting findings."

Vincent was responding to an ESPN report that cited anonymous league sources saying 11 of the Patriots' 12 allotted game footballs were under-inflated by 2 pounds per square inch of air. ESPN did not say how that occurred.

Vincent said earlier Tuesday he expected the probe to be concluded by the end of the week. The last thing the NFL wants after a difficult season off the field is a potential cheating scandal that disrupts Super Bowl week. New England faces Seattle on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona.

The Patriots, who beat Indianapolis 45-7 for the AFC title, said they were cooperating with the league, and a Seahawks spokesman said the team would defer to the league on the matter.

The NFL began looking into the issue not only because doctoring the footballs could provide a competitive advantage, but because it would compromise the integrity of the game.

Deflating a football can change the way it's gripped by a player or the way it travels through the air. Under NFL rules, 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, then handled during the game by personnel provided by the home team.

Social media responses were quick late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

"11 of 12 balls under-inflated can anyone spell cheating!!! #Just Saying" was the tweet from Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice.

"So we get to play the game again or nah?" tweeted Colts cornerback Darius Butler.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said on ESPN radio in Milwaukee that he didn't like how referees who inspected balls before games take air out of the game balls.

"I have a major problem with the way it goes down, to be honest with you," Rodgers said. "The majority of the time, they take air out of the football. I think that, for me, is a disadvantage."

Rodgers said referees have a set range in which they "like to set game balls," and that he always liked the higher end of the range because of his grip.

"I just have a hard time throwing a flat football," Rodgers said. He thought a slight majority of quarterbacks like footballs on the flatter side.

"My belief is that there should be a minimum air-pressure requirement but not a maximum," Rodgers said. "There's no advantage, in my opinion. We're not kicking the football. There's no advantage in having a pumped-up football."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said the investigation is the least of his worries. And tight end Rob Gronkowski tweeted a photo of himself spiking the ball with the words: "WARNING GRONKING MAY CAUSE DEFLATION."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Tuesday deferred questions about the investigation, saying reporters should ask league officials. Belichick earlier said he wasn't aware there was an issue until Monday morning and promised to "cooperate fully with whatever the league wants us to, whatever questions they ask."

Belichick, of course, was fined $500,000 in 2007 for having an assistant spy on the New York Jets' defensive signals.

Special teams captain Matthew Slater said the Patriots "try to do things the right way. We work hard at our jobs, our professions, to be successful and it's unfortunate that things like this come up, but that's life, that's the world we live in."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said he did not notice issues with the football and didn't specify when asked whether the Colts had reported the issue to officials.

"We talk just like they talk to officials (before the game)," he said. "We have an opportunity to talk to the officials about a lot of things."

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman said the balls didn't feel different than usual.

And defensive tackle Vince Wilfork seemed amused by the matter and didn't shed any light on it.

"I don't know anything about that," he said. "I don't touch footballs. I tackle people."

25 PHOTOS
Patriots Colts - AFC Championship Game 01/18/2015 - football - Super Bowl 2015
See Gallery
NFL investigation into deflated footballs ongoing
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots walks through the media after defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 45-7. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots shake hands after the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 45-7. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Darrelle Revis #24 of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 45-7. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Head coach Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts walks off the field after being defeated by the New England Patriots in the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 45-7. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots walks through the media after defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 45-7. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on against the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter of the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (29) runs as Indianapolis Colts cornerback Darius Butler (20) brings him down during the first half on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. (Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant/TNS via Getty Images)
Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) and New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty (32) battle for the ball during the first half on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. (Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant/TNS via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Darrelle Revis #24 of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 45-7. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Indianapolis Colts running back Zurlon Tipton (37) reaches for a ball as New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower (54) plays defense during the first half on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. (Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant/TNS via Getty Images)
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) battles Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson (52) for the ball during the first half on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. (John Woike/Hartford Courant/TNS via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 18: The Patriots' LeGarrette Blount scores in 3rd quarter action during the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (29) runs past Indianapolis Colts strong safety Mike Adams (29) during the first half on Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. (John Woike/Hartford Courant/TNS via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 18: The Patriots' LeGarrette Blount scores in 3rd quarter action during the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts reacts in the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots in the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Zurlon Tipton #37 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball against Jamie Collins #91 of the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter of the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts looks to pass in the second half against the New England Patriots of the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 18: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates Blount's touchdown in the 3rd quarter action during the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Jamie Collins #91 of the New England Patriots celebrates with teammates after an interception against the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter of the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts on the sideline in the second half against the Indianapolis Colts of the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 18: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski reception in 3rd quarter action during the AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots makes a catch against D'Qwell Jackson #52 of the Indianapolis Colts of the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball in the second half against the Indianapolis Colts of the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 18: Rob Gronkowski spikes the ball after making a touchdown in the third quarter at Gillette Stadium Sunday, January 18, 2015. AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Nate Solder #77 of the New England Patriots celebrates a touchdown with teammates in the second half against the Indianapolis Colts of the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.