As the attention of the football world turns to Super Bowl XLIX, there is reportedly some question about the game balls used in the AFC Championship.
Bob Kravitz of WTHR.com and NBC’s WTHR-TV in Indianapolis reports the NFL is looking into whether the Patriots “deflated” game balls during their 45-7 victory over the Colts on Sunday night. Kravitz reports a ball was taken out of action to be weighed.
According to the NFL’s 2014 rule book, game balls are to be inflated with between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds of air. Per NFL rules, home and road teams must provide 12 game balls apiece to be tested and approved by the league 135 minutes before game time. The home team also has to have 12 reserve game balls on hand to be tested, with the road team also having that option in outdoor games.
Kravitz reports punishment for deflation could involve the NFL taking away draft selections. That prospect, however, would seemingly have to be tied to having proof of intent to deflate the ball with an eye on getting an edge, perhaps by making the ball easier to grip.
The Patriots lost their 2008 first-round pick as punishment for taping Jets signals. Head coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, and the Patriots were docked $250,000.