Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that the NFL has reviewed the entire process and determined that the balls were properly checked by the officials before the game.
According to Florio, officials didn’t notice anything wrong with the game balls while handling them because the pressure difference of a pound or two wouldn’t be obvious enough unless officials were looking for it.
The NFL reportedly decided to not stop the game, but instead inspect the game balls at halftime.
Questions still remain regarding who deflated the footballs and how they did it.
Steelers president Art Rooney told reporters on Wednesday that he doesn’t know if the report about the Patriots deflating 11 of 12 game balls last weekend is true, per Ed Bouchette.
However, Rooney did say that the Patriots would be disciplined if the league found that they deflated game balls.
We’ll have more updates as the news is available.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that the NFL’s investigation into whether or not the Patriots deflated their game balls for the AFC Championship game found that 11 of their 12 allotted game footballs were under-inflated by 2 pounds of air (PSI) as required by NFL regulations.
- According to Mortensen, the league has yet to determine if the Patriots will face any penalties for under-inflated footballs.
- A source tells Mortensen that the NFL is “disappointed … angry … distraught” about the situation.
The issue was reportedly first noticed by Colts LB D’Qwell Jackson after he intercepted a pass in the second quarter of Sunday’s game, according to Mike Lynch of WCVB.
Jackson reportedly told an equipment manager about the ball, who then told Colts HC Chuck Pagano about the deflated balls.
Eventually, work made it’s way to Colts GM Ryan Grigson, who contacted NFL director of football operations Mike Kensil.
Referees later changed the ball on the field before the start of the third quarter.
“We are not commenting at this time,” said NFL’s senior vice president of communications Greg Aiello regarding the matter.
The NFL is still investigating how the 11 footballs became under-inflated, but league protocol requires the official to examine the game balls before the game.
Teams are not allowed to alter the footballs after they’re approved by the league official.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James said that: “We have been in complete cooperation with the league and will continue to do so.”
Jason La Canfora mentions that some believe the kicking balls used in the Patriots playoff game against the Ravens were also under-inflated.
According to La Canfora, “there appeared to be less air in some kicking balls which may have had an impact on the depth of punts and kickoffs in the AFC Divisional game.”
There is a slight advantage to using a deflated ball in cold weather, as it improves your grip and ability to catch the ball. However, it’s hard to say that this had a major impact on the Patriots win over the Colts.