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Sunday, January 25, 2015

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Report: Patriots’ footballs were reinflated at halftime

deflated football

The under-inflated footballs that the New England Patriots allegedly used during their win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game were reportedly reinflated to the proper NFL standards at halftime.

ESPN Sports Radio 810 in Kansas City reported Wednesday that officials put more air in New England’s game balls at halftime after it was determined that they contained roughly 2.0 PSI less air than the league allows. The balls were then tested again after the game, though the results of the testing have not been revealed.

Why is that significant? For starters, the Patriots would have to be even dumber than we all thought if they intentionally deflated balls before the game and then did it again before the second half after officials put more air back into them.

So let’s assume the balls the Pats used in the second half were all inflated to legal standards. If you’re worried about the impact the alleged cheating had on the outcome of the game, you should understand that Tom Brady completed 12 of 14 passes for 155 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in the second half. The Patriots also scored 21 points in the third quarter alone.

That is the main reason we have seen reactions like this from current and former players.

The real issue here is integrity. Very few people seem to believe that the Patriots won because the footballs they used were under-inflated. That said, the organization that is responsible for the Spygate scandal rarely ever receives the benefit of the doubt, and for good reason.

Olivia Munn didn’t know who Aaron Rodgers was when she met him

We all know chicks dig quarterbacks, but sometimes chicks can dig quarterbacks before they even know they are quarterbacks. Olivia Munn is living proof of this.

Munn, who has been dating Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for quite some time, told Conan O’Brien on Tuesday night that she had no idea who Rodgers was when she met him.

“When I met him I asked what do you do and he said, ‘I play football,'” Munn explained. “So I said, ‘Cool, what college?’ And he’s like, ‘Oh no, I play professional.’ So I said, ‘Cool, what position?’ And that was kind of it. I didn’t know he was a Super Bowl MVP or any of those things.

“All I saw was that he was really attractive. I didn’t really care what he did.”

Aaron Rodgers Olivia Munn

So much for real beauty being on the inside, huh?

Little did Munn know, Rodgers is also a master dog trainer. The fact that she’s dating an NFL player may impact Munn’s sex life on occasion, but she seems incredibly happy with her choice. And no, she’s obviously not a jersey chaser.

Arian Foster, Matt Leinart, others downplay Deflategate

NFL-refs-underinflated-footballs

While there are plenty of fans, analysts and players who are up in arms over the latest cheating accusations against the New England Patriots, there are others who feel that the amount of air the Pats have or do not have in their footballs has no correlation with their success.

Many of those people are current and former NFL players. The most notable may have been Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, who is never afraid to share his opinion on Twitter.

Matt Leinart and Shaun King, two former NFL quarterbacks, agreed with Foster. Both insist that tampering with footballs is something that every NFL quarterback does.

Hey, we know at least one former NFL quarterback who admitted to paying someone to mess with balls before the Super Bowl.

One of the more surprising reactions came from Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen, who said the amount of air in the game balls had nothing to do with the Patriots dominating his team.

Of course, there are plenty of others — like Hall of Famer Jerry Rice — who believe the Patriots should be nailed to the wall.

We have pretty much seen every reaction imaginable since the original story broke, the funniest of which came from Colts punter Pat McAfee. With more than a week remaining until the Super Bowl, the fun has just begun.

Colts concerned about deflated balls during November game vs. Patriots?

deflated football

If the Indianapolis Colts believed the New England Patriots were using balls in the AFC Championship Game that were inflated below the legal limit, they may not have been surprised. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Colts had seen that act before.

Schefter reported Wednesday that the Colts had concerns about balls being under-inflated when the Patriots visited Indy for a regular season game on Nov. 16.

During that game, Colts safety Mike Adams twice intercepted Tom Brady and gave the balls to the Colts’ equipment manager to save — and both times there were concerns about the balls feeling under-inflated, sources told Schefter.

Those sources said the Colts raised concerns to the league, which was aware of the issue going into this weekend’s AFC title game.

While there is in all likelihood no way to prove whether the Patriots were cheating back in November, this adds a new wrinkle to the story. Aside from raising the question of how long the Patriots have allegedly been doing this, you have to wonder if the league brought the issue up to New England.

If the NFL was made aware of the deflating accusations before the AFC Championship, would league officials have asked the Patriots about it or simply kept quiet and tried to catch them in the act? One would think the league would tell Bill Belichick “we’re watching you” rather than risk having a story called “Deflategate” completely overshadow the Super Bowl.

And if the NFL did tell the Patriots about the Colts’ concern, Belichick may be dumber than we thought. We have already seen last Sunday’s incident lead to more than one accusation against the Patriots. Don’t be surprised if there are more to follow.

Tim Hasselbeck: Tom Brady, not Bill Belichick, would know about deflated balls

Tom Brady

Very few people are surprised that the New England Patriots may have been caught intentionally deflating footballs to give themselves an advantage in the AFC Championship Game. Why? Because Bill Belichick has already been labeled a “cheater” as a result of the Spygate scandal. But what if it was — gasp — Tom Brady who knew about the balls being under-inflated and not the Patriots head coach?

To be clear, the NFL has not released any official word yet on the Deflategate investigation. But on Wednesday, former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Tim Hasselbeck explained that any funny business with the game balls would be done at the quarterback’s request.

To make matters more interesting, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen dug up a Brady quote from several years ago when the Pats quarterback admitted he likes a ball with less air in it.

“When Gronk scores … he spikes the ball and he deflates the ball. I love that, because I like the deflated ball,” Brady told WEEI in 2011. “But I feel bad for that football, because he puts everything he can into those spikes.”

Of course, the head coach is responsible for everything that goes on underneath him. But if by some chance it was Brady who pulled the strings that led to Deflategate, would this reporter toss him into the fire pit along with Belichick? It’s worth wondering.

Report: Officials inspected, approved footballs before Pats-Colts kickoff

NFL-refs-underinflated-footballs

The footballs that were used by both teams in the AFC Championship Game between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots were inspected by officials prior to kickoff, Pro Football Talk reports.

Prior to each game, officials are supposed to inspect each ball and use a pressure gauage to determine that each one contains no more than 13.5 PSI and no less than 12.5 PSI. According to multiple reports, the officiating crew did just that last Sunday.

It would seem that the issue with the Patriots allegedly using deflating balls arose in the first half after an interception by Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. The belief is that the league then tested both teams balls again at halftime, which is when it was determined that 11 of the 12 balls New England was using were under-inflated.

This is where the biggest potential problem arises for the Patriots. If the league checked the balls and OK’ed them before kickoff, how did they lose roughly two pounds of pressure between then and halftime? Some people have speculated that the cold weather could have played a role, but it seems highly unlikely that a 50-degree night would result in that much air pressure being lost.

The NFL will say its top priority in this situation is protecting the “integrity of the game.” Having a team in the Super Bowl that cheated would be bad for the league’s image, but having that cheating go unnoticed by negligent officials would be 10 times worse. Disproving the latter is more important to the NFL.

Report: Peyton Manning will play in 2015 if he passes physical

Peyton-Manning

The Denver Broncos have hired a new coach, but it is starting to look like they will not have to search for a new quarterback in 2015.

Woody Paige of The Denver Post reports that Peyton Manning is planning to return to the Broncos next season if he passes his physical exam. Because of the multiple neck surgeries that Manning had before signing in Denver, his contract with the team requires him to pass an annual physical before the next year of his contract kicks in.

Speculation that Manning could retire began when he looked terrible in Denver’s playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. It was later revealed that Manning was playing through a significant quad injury, but there were still rumblings that the 38-year-old might be calling it quits after John Fox and the Broncos decided to part ways.

Add in a report about John Elway trying to force Manning out of town and the fact that the Broncos hired a run-first coach in Gary Kubiak and it seemed like Manning’s days in the Mile High City were numbered.

Assuming he passes his physical, Manning has until March 9 to decide if he will play for the Broncos in 2015. Perhaps he realizes his skills are declining and is not opposed to playing in a more run-heavy scheme like the one Kubiak typically uses. Throwing it less than 40 times per game wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing for a quarterback who will turn 39 in two months.

Bob Kravitz: Bill Belichick should be suspended for Super Bowl, fired

Bill Belichick deflategate

Bob Kravitz, the reporter from WTHR who broke the story of the New England Patriots potentially deflating footballs against the Indianapolis Colts, is calling for extremely harsh punishment for Bill Belichick if the NFL determines that the Patriots cheated.

Kravitz is calling for Roger Goodell to suspend Belichick for the Super Bowl and Patriots owner Robert Kraft to fire his head coach. He wrote on Wednesday that both Goodell and Kraft would take swift action if either has “an ounce of integrity.”

The basis of Kravitz’s argument — and many agree — is that there is simply no way 11 of 12 balls became deflated below the league standard by some sort of accident or coincidence. He reiterated his stance during an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich Show,” noting that he would call for Colts coach Chuck Pagano to be fired if the roles were reversed.

The interesting part came when Kravitz was asked if, by his reasoning, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy should be fired. Earlier this season, Phil Simms said during a CBS broadcast that Aaron Rodgers once told him he likes to inflate balls beyond the legal limit. Rodgers also said on his radio show that it annoys him when officials take air out of the ball.

“No I would not call for Mike McCarthy’s firing,” Kravitz said. “First of all, we don’t know if Aaron Rodgers is doing this with (McCarthy’s) knowledge. Second, he has not had a problem beforehand. If this was a one-time incident with Bill Belichick, I would look very differently at it.”

That argument is fine, but it makes no sense why Kravitz said he would call for Pagano to be fired if the Colts were deflating balls. To my knowledge, Pagano is not a repeat offender like Belichick.

Now that the Patriots have seemingly been caught, we’re going to hear a number of stories that try to excuse what they (allegedly) did. We already shared one of them with you, which stems from a Super Bowl that took place more than 10 years ago. There will be no shortage of opinions, as usual.

Pat McAfee had great reaction to Deflategate

Pat-McAfee

Had the Indianapolis Colts not lost to the New England Patriots by 38 points in the AFC Championship Game, they would probably be more upset over Deflategate. But because they were beaten so badly and everyone knows they would have lost even if the Patriots were throwing Nerf balls, Pat McAfee is free to make his jokes.

After word surfaced that 11 of the 12 balls the Patriots used last Sunday were found to be under-inflated by about two pounds per square inch, McAfee sent this hilarious tweet.

Colts defensive back Darius Butler had a similar reaction, though not nearly as entertaining.

Of course, there’s no way the Patriots are going to have to forfeit anything other than some cash and potentially a draft pick or two.

McAfee is easily one of the funniest guys in the NFL, and some of his best tweeting has come during the playoffs. We’re not surprised Deflategate brought out the best in him.

Report: Ravens think kicking balls were deflated against Patriots

deflated football

Now that a report has surfaced indicating that 11 of the 12 balls that were tested from the New England Patriots sideline during the AFC Championship Game did not have enough air in them, you knew it was only a matter of time before other teams starting screaming “I thought something was up!” Naturally, the Baltimore Ravens are one of those teams.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, members of the Ravens believe some of the kicking balls Baltimore used during the divisional round of the playoffs in Foxboro were under-inflated and irregular.

As La Canfora notes, the Ravens’ kicking teams were not getting their usual depth and distance on kicks and punts. The Ravens have not filed an official complaint.

Of course, it was about 20 degrees at kickoff during the Patriots-Ravens game. The temperature dropped to well below 20 as the game went on. The temperature outside in itself would be enough to cause kickers and punters to lose distance and effectiveness. It might also be enough to cause balls to deflate on their own, whereas it was unseasonably warm (closer to 50 degrees) during the AFC Championship Game.

Just like with Spygate, everyone will want to jump on the bandwagon now and say they got cheated out of a win. The Ravens have been particularly outspoken when it comes to accusing the Patriots of skirting around the rules, so we’re not surprised they would insert themselves into the Deflategate conversation.

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