After the Patriots crushed the Colts in a 45 to 7 victory in Sunday’s AFC Championship match-up, the NFL has found that 11 of the 12 game balls used were significantly and illegally under-inflated, according to a new ESPN report. The amount of air in a football obviously has an effect on gameplay with some players and positions preferencing a softer, easier-to-grip football and others, like Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, pushing for referees to stop releasing any air at all from game balls.
The NFL’s investigation into the AFC Championship footballs found they were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below the league’s requirements according to ESPN. Notably, the game’s lead official Walt Anderson approved all dozen footballs after a regulated inspection a couple hours before the game. Almost ten years ago Patriots’ star Tom Brady and fellow QB Peyton Manning petitioned the NFL to allow teams to break in game balls ahead of play.
After the news of the underinflated balls hit the web, Colts tight end Dwayne Allen largely shrugged off the purported scandal in a Tweet.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano also steered away from publicity about the Patriots being behind the incident. “We talk just like they talk to officials [before the game],” he said. “We have an opportunity to talk to the officials about a lot of things.”
Meanwhile, Tom Brady is now set to become the first quarterback to start a total of six Superbowl games and will face off against the much younger Russell Wilson on February 1 on NBC.
For the first time ever, fans can watch the Superbowl without a cable subscription for free on their iPad or iPod touch thanks to NBC rolling out a new “Super Stream Sunday” promotion. The NBC Sports Live Extra app will give fans access to 11 continuous hours of streaming NBC content beginning at noon on Superbowl Sunday and lasting through the game, halftime show, pre- and post-game shows, and a single episode of the network’s The Blacklist.