At the Scouting Combine, Colts coach Chuck Pagano dismissed the notion that someone from his team took air out of the Patriots football brought to the sideline by linebacker D’Qwell Jackson “ludicrous.”
Those investigating the #DeflateGate controversy may not share that view.
Officially, the NFL has no comment on whether the Ted Wells investigation includes the question of whether the football the Colts obtained from the Patriots and gave to the NFL was deflated by the Colts. Unofficially, the investigation must at least explore the possibility.
The chain of custody necessarily was interrupted when the Colts secured possession of the football. Assuming the Colts may have deflated a football that came into the team’s possession is no less ludicrous than assuming the Patriots may have deflated it.
If it’s true that the football obtained by the Colts was even more deflated that the rest of the footballs being used by the New England offense, it’s at least possible that one of the various people who handled the ball after Jackson brought it to the sideline removed air from it, especially in light of G.M. Ryan Grigson’s admission that the Colts alerted the NFL to concerns about deflation in the days before the AFC title game. The Colts knew that air pressure was an issue; if a rogue employee from the Patriots was capable of taking air out of the footballs, a rogue employee from the Colts may have been capable of it, too.
It doesn’t mean the Colts deflated the football. It also doesn’t mean the Colts didn’t. It means that the NFL must rule out that the ball was deflated by the Colts if the NFL plans to conclude that the Patriots did.