NFL investigate New England Patriots ‘deflate-gate’

The NFL is investigating whether New England intentionally deflated balls during Sunday's victory over Indianapolis that sent the Patriots to the Super Bowl.

New England Patriots, blue, reached the Super Bowl after victory over the Indiana Colts. Charles Krupa/AP Photo
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The NFL is investigating whether New England intentionally deflated balls during Sunday’s victory over Indianapolis that sent the Patriots to the Super Bowl.

NFL spokesman Michael Signora confirmed the NFL is looking into the matter and said Monday afternoon there was no further update.

The Patriots routed the Colts 45-7 at Gillette Stadium in a game that was played in often driving rain.

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WTHR-TV in Indianapolis first reported the story, noting a deflated football could be easier to throw and catch in inclement weather.

The television station said that officials during the game took a ball out of play at one point and weighed it. It was unknown whether the ball was underweight.

If the Patriots deflated footballs intentionally they could lose draft selections.

According to the NFL rule book, in a game played outdoors, the home team has 36 balls “available for testing with a pressure gauge by the referee two hours prior to the starting time of the game to meet with league requirements.”

NFL rules specify the acceptable pressure and weight of the balls.

The rules also stipulate that the offensive team’s center can request a “playable ball” in the case of a “wet, muddy or slippery field.”

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, making his usual Monday appearance on a Boston radio show, called the charge “ridiculous.”

“That’s the last of my worries,” he said. “I don’t even respond to stuff like this.”

However, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the team would cooperate with the investigation.

“We’ll cooperate fully with whatever the league wants us to do, whatever questions they have for us, whatever they want us to do,” Belichick said on a conference call.

The coach said he first heard about the report on Monday morning, and on his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI later in the day was at a loss when asked again about the matter.

“I really don’t know what to say or know anything about what we’re talking about here,” he said. “Whatever it is, we’ll cooperate with them the best we can.”

The Patriots had already irked Baltimore coach John Harbaugh this post-season. Harbaugh accused the team of using “deceptive” formations in New England’s second-round win over the Ravens.

The NFL, however, said the Patriots “did everything legal from a formation and reporting standpoint in that contest.”

The Patriots were sanctioned, however, over the 2007 “spy-gate” affair, in which the NFL found they illegally filmed another team’s hand signals during a game..

The team was fined $250,000 and lost a first-round draft pick while coach Belichick was fined $500,000.

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