Contrary to what you may have heard, it’s tough being a New England Patriots fan, what with the constant claim by their detractors that the team cheats. It doesn’t help that the team cheats, either.
And now, we have “Deflategate.”
WTHR in Indianapolis is reporting that the NFL is investigating whether the Patriots deflated footballs during last night’s AFC championship game.
Deflated footballs make it easier to throw and carry, although — for the record — it won’t help a receiver shake a defender. As the reporter who broke the story correctly notes…
Nobody is suggesting this is why the colts lost obviously. They were manhandled.
— Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz) January 19, 2015
According to the Washington Post:
The NFL rule book states that game balls must be inflated with 12.5-13.5 pounds of air. Both teams at each game must provide a dozen balls each to be tested and approved 135 minutes before game time. The home team must also have 12 reserve balls available for testing, with the road team also having that option in outdoor games. The referee, the rules state, “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.”
An underinflated or deflated ball would be easier to grip, which would have been advantageous in the pouring rain Sunday night. Tom Brady completed 23 of 35 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception, in the Patriots’ 45-7 crushing of the Colts and LeGarrette Blount had 30 carries for 148 yards and three touchdowns.
The league is in charge of the footballs. But during the game each team “manages” the balls used on offense.
Still unclear is how “weighing” a football has any relevance in a question about how much air is inside.
Related: Bostick's botched attempt to catch onside kick turns tide (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).