New England Patriots Busted Using Underinflated Footballs
( 4UMF NEWS ) New England Patriots Busted Using Underinflated Footballs:
Did Bill Belichick get caught Beli-cheating again?
The Patriots and their integrity-challenged coach could be in deep trouble with the NFL once more after ESPN reported late Tuesday that 11 footballs confiscated from their 45-7 win over the Colts in the AFC title game last Sunday were found to be underinflated by two pounds of air (PSI) each.
ESPN described league officials as “disappointed, angry and distraught” at the findings.
The bombshell report — which the network attributed to anonymous sources — could mean the second major cheating scandal involving Belichick and the Patriots since Spygate in 2007, when they were caught taping the Jets’ defensive signals and fined $750,000 and docked a draft pick.
In addition, CBS Sports reported late Tuesday the Ravens suspected the special “K-Ball” kicking footballs were underinflated in their loss to the Patriots in Foxborough in the divisional round.
According to NFL rules, all non-kicking game balls — there are at least 24 in circulation, with 12 provided by each team — must have between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch of pressure.
If proven that the Patriots underinflated balls, the team faces fines of at least $25,000 and potentially the loss of draft picks.
The NFL had no comment in response to either report, but a high-ranking league official said Tuesday afternoon the NFL expects to complete its investigation by the end of the week.
“We obviously want to … get that behind us so that we can really get back to the game itself,” Vincent told NBC’s “Pro Football Talk Live.”
The latest claims of cheating against New England picked up steam thanks to the Patriots themselves, as Tom Brady admitted in an unearthed 2011 interview with a Boston radio station that he liked to use underinflated footballs.
Brady laughed off the allegation as “ridiculous” to the same station on Monday, but he told WEEI four years ago he prefers the deflated effect that results from 265-pound tight end Rob Gronkowski spiking the ball.
“When Gronk scores … he spikes the ball and he deflates the ball,” Brady said in the 2011 interview. “I love that, because I like the deflated ball. But I feel bad for that football, because he puts everything he can into those spikes.”
A league source confirmed media reports the Colts alerted the league about underinflated footballs after linebacker D’Qwell Jackson intercepted Brady near the goal line in the second quarter of the Patriots’ eventual 45-7 victory at Gillette Stadium.
The officials were informed at halftime, then removed at least one football for testing in the third quarter — a moment that produced a noticeable delay in play. A league source said that was just one of several balls set aside by the officiating crew for inspection.
Quarterbacks and receivers prefer a deflated ball because it is easier to throw and catch, though Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told a Milwaukee radio station Tuesday he likes an overinflated ball instead because he has bigger hands.
“My belief is that there should be a minimum air-pressure requirement but not a maximum,” Rodgers told ESPN Milwaukee. “There’s no advantage, in my opinion — we’re not kicking the football — there’s no advantage in having a pumped-up football.”
Vincent said the league is serious about the allegations because the integrity of the game is at stake.
“For a fan, you want to know that everything’s equal,” Vincent said. “The integrity of the game is so important.”
- No timetable given for NFL's deflated-football probe as Patriots, Seahawks prepare for Super Bowl (o.canada.com)
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