Report: Most of the Patriots’ footballs were ‘just a few ticks’ underinflated
The footballs the New England Patriots used in the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts may not have been as under-inflated as we were initially led to believe.
According to a new report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, most of New England’s game balls were just slightly under the allowable range of 12.5 pounds per square inch (PSI). Rapoport notes that of the 11 balls that were under-inflated, one was two pounds under-inflated and the other 10 were “just a few ticks under the minimum.”
Now, the question becomes how could ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Sports Illustrated’s Peter King have been so wrong. When the Deflategate scandal first erupted, both Mort and King reported that 11 of the Patriots’ 12 balls were roughly 2.0 PSI under-inflated. That information is what led most to believe that New England had blatantly cheated.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk later cited sources who claim 10 of the footballs the Patriots used were just one pound under-inflated at halftime, which seems consistent with what Rapoport reported on Sunday.
Assuming the latest information is accurate, you can understand why Patriots owner Robert Kraft feels that his team has been unjustifiably dragged through the mud.
Rapoport also provided some more details about the locker room attendant who was reportedly seen on camera taking a bag of balls into the restroom before heading out onto the field. The employee, who is described as an “elderly” man, was in the bathroom with 12 Patriots’ game balls and 12 Colts’ game balls for 98 seconds.
The one thing the NFL has admitted during the investigation is that the exact PSI of each ball was not logged by head referee Walt Anderson. The details are obviously incredibly important. If the footballs were two pounds underweight, it’s impossible to believe they were not deflated intentionally. If they were a “few ticks” under, that would be completely negligible.