Ball inflation controversy creates a real mess for Patriots, NFL

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Seven years ago, an eventually-retracted report from the Boston Herald that the Patriots videotaped the Rams’ walk-through practice prior to Super Bowl XXXVI surfaced two days before the Patriots faced the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.  Though the team has never publicly claimed that the intense distraction that emerged was a factor in the eventual loss that prevented a 19-0 season, there’s no way the NFL’s immediate launching of an investigation on the Friday before the title game didn’t have at least some impact on the franchise.

This time around, the latest controversy involving a team that for whatever reason keeping tripping into these issues arose two weeks before the Super Bowl.  And it quickly has become a major distraction, both for the team and for the league.

At some point (the sooner the better), the Patriots need to forget about it and focus on the task at hand.  No one will be taking away their AFC title, which would have been easily secured regardless of whether the balls were filled with fluid, flubber, or flatus.  But the situation has created a vague sense of gloom regarding what could happen at some point after the Super Bowl.

During Tuesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent said that the league hopes to complete the investigation into this game-integrity issue within the next two-to-three days.  However, that doesn’t mean findings will be announced or punishment issued before the Super Bowl.  So the Patriots possibly will enter final preparations for the game uncertain as to what eventually will come.

For the league office, the fumes of the Ray Rice investigation make it clear to everyone involved that anything other than a thorough, fair, and transparent process will jeopardize jobs.  Commissioner Roger Goodell, who received multiple public statements of support from Patriots owner Robert Kraft during the Rice fiasco, may feel conflicted about the actions that need to be taken to protect the integrity of the game — and regarding the natural sense of loyalty to an extremely influential owner who stuck his neck out for Goodell at a time when the torches-and-pitchfork crowd was banging on the castle gates.

Goodell may feel compelled to take strong action simply because Kraft supported the Commissioner so fervently.  In October 2006, only a couple of months after Steelers owner Dan Rooney helped spearhead Goodell’s election as Commissioner (and personally delivered the news to the new boss of the sport), Goodell fined Rooney $25,000 for saying that the officials in a Steelers-Falcons game “should be ashamed of themselves.”

It’s a no-win situation for Goodell, given the Rice controversy.  Slam the Patriots, and he’ll be criticized for trying to insulate himself from criticism by going too soft on a team whose owner did him a favor during the biggest threat to Goodell’s employment.  Excuse the Patriots, and he’ll be criticized for looking the other way as a favor to a friend.

Another problem for Goodell arises from the question of whether other teams are doing the same thing.  In 2012, the NFL ignored that issue and other obvious practical questions arising from the Saints bounty scandal.  The Saints had been caught red-handed, and Goodell became determined to make an example out of them, even if the system that distributed relatively small amounts of cash for legal hits that knocked opponents out of games meshed with the pre-existing incentive in football to disable the best players on the other team.  Eventually, former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue subtly chastised Goodell for trying to change the culture of the sport by throwing the book at one team.

With the Saints, the NFL opted not to explore the rabbit hole but to fill it with cement.  It would be unfair to do the same thing to the Patriots, if (as it appears) other teams have taken liberties with the ball in order to make it conform to the preferences of their quarterbacks.

The investigation and its aftermath needs to consider these issues and any other questions that reasonably flow from the relevant facts.  Given the Rice case, it’s critical that the league demonstrate the ability to conduct a good investigation and to adequately and fairly dispense justice.  Even then, many will question the legitimacy and credibility of the league’s efforts.

That’s one of the clear byproducts of simply acknowledging a massive mistake and moving on with significant changes to the organization.  In other matters of significance, folks will assume that further mistakes are inevitable.

Ultimately, it’s no surprise, as reported by Chris Mortensen of ESPN, that the league is “disappointed … angry … distraught” by the discovery that 11 of 12 Patriot balls were two pounds underinflated on Sunday.  Coming on the heels of the clumsiest series of off-field blunders in its history, the NFL now must find a way to adequately address an on-field issue in a way that will be fair to everyone involved and that will promote public confidence in the league at a time when many members of the public have little faith that the league office can handle such issues properly.

264 responses to “Ball inflation controversy creates a real mess for Patriots, NFL

  1. The only good thing about Goodell having no credibility anymore is that he go ahead and destroy the evidence again, because nobody would be surprised.

  2. The NFL should have an outside investigator on this one. Obviously the Patriots are at fault but how high up the chain does this go?

    If the referees were made aware of this from the league office at half-time then why weren’t the balls removed from play? Reports say there are backup balls, those should have been brought in to usage. That would have also made it looked like the NFL actually cared about the matter.

    Is the NFL distraught over this because they are upset it got leaked to the media? Were they really trying to sweep it under the rug like everything else that happens?

  3. The Patriot way. There’s a reason why there is an asterisk on everyone of their logos.

  4. why is Ray Rice even mentioned in this article? The Patriots have been CHEATING for almost 15 years, long before Ray Rice ever donned a NFL uniform.

  5. As I said elsewhere, if the league comes down hard on the Patriots despite totally ignoring other teams which have already admitted to doing the same thing, especially given the fact that, if the NFL rules were followed by the officials properly there is no way such balls could ever make it on to the field, then this raises Tim Donaghy level questions about the integrity of the league.

  6. So the referees handle the balls 100+ times collectively in the first half and nothing was determined by them that they were under-inflated? Not saying that the patriots aren’t to blame here, but this has to be part of the story too.. Minuscule rules like these are stretched in all sports (goalie pad size in hockey, baseball pitchers). They got caught, but lets not all sit here and question the validation of the Patriots Super Bowl bid. And let’s not forget the crowd noise pumped into the dome in Indy either.

  7. Bill Belichick should be suspended, and have to legally change his name to Belicheat before being allowed back. How many times is he going to be allowed to bend the rules?

  8. This is unprecedented in the NFL because the Pats were caught during the game AND before the Superbowl.

    If the NFL allows a repeat cheating offender to play in the Superbowl I’m done with the NFL…….

  9. Pats fan saying coach billy most go I’m tired off all this junk going on.we just have to start with a new coach so people can respect us again.

  10. ” a team that for whatever reason keeping tripping into these issues”

    Can’t imagine what that reason may be. Could it be, maybe, that cheating is ingrained in Belichick’s makeup, and Kraft, Brady, etc. are just fine with it as long as they keep winning? Or are you suggesting a league-wide conspiracy to punish the Patriots?

  11. A few quick takes:

    *Timing is everything – man, worse possible timing ever… way to go Hoodie
    *Take away #1 draft pick this year and home field playoff game next season

    One positive outcome
    * NFL will need to have a ball monitor on each sideline at all games…. This should be accomplished by using one cheerleader from each team. The TV announcers will have a field day with this… “Troy, the Patriots ball inspector’s doing a fine job of handling those balls.” Yeah Joe, wish she was inspecting my balls back in the day.”

  12. #goodellmustgo

    The current people associated with the NFL are incapable of honesty and truth. They have shown themselves to be unable to operate their organization without being caught in lies, favoritsm and outright corruption.

    It is hopeless. They have killed the spirit of sportsmanship in pro football.

  13. I understand that the Patriots would have won anyway. I don’t understand how that makes a difference. I’m pretty certain there is no rule that states that you can cheat as long as you win by 20 points or more. The Patriots did sonething illegal to gain an unfair advantage. It turns out that it wasn’t nessasary because the team they were playing against didn’t much of anything throughout the entire game, but that doesn’t change the fact that they cheated. If this was the first time Belichick was accussed of cheating, then maybe a slap on the wrist would be sufficient. That isn’t the case, though. If the penalty for cheating in a Championship game is just a fine and a loss of a draft pick, I don’t see how that would prevent other teams from cheating in regular season games. Sure, other teams may be doing it, but the Patriots got caught. If you get a ticket for speeding, pointing out that the majority of people have driven over the speed limit at some point in their lives isn’t going to get you out of your ticket.

  14. Maybe the deflated balls wouldn’t have made a difference last week because they ran the ball 80 times but what about the game they won by 4 and passed it 80 times? No way this is the first time it’s happened. No way they tried it for the first time in the AFC championship game.

  15. They needed this add this controversy to the mix so they could shut up the other mishaps from the refs during the playoffs. This just shows how crooked the league really is and who really controls the show, Vegas.

    Bc why would you investigate a football when one team was blown out and hardly made a big deal about it. If their was something wrong with the ball Luck would’ve known before the game was over

    The league will fall apart if you keep going down this path bc honestly, no different between WWE and NFL

  16. Unfair to fill in the rabbit hole with cement?

    That’s exactly what they did with spygate when guys like Johnson, Parcells and Cowher said it was common practice, yet the league didn’t even question them about it. The Jets admitted taping a game and the league did nothing about it.

    They destroyed the tapes because they showed others doing the same thing. C’mon, the one leaked tape showed Edwards waving to the damned camera. Everybody was in the loop.

    One day Belichick will spill his guts and it will rock this league to its knees.

  17. The NFL is a game of momentum. You take a play here and a play there and you have a completely different game. Example: the final quarter of a dominated packers game in which they lost to Seattle. Then take For example josh cribbs fumbling the the ball. That was more deflating than all of the balls. Critical drops on third down near the end zone. The first half was 17-7. If viniateri makes the field goal its a bit closer. If patriots didn’t get the ball from cribbs maybe the game is completely different. Either way I admit the colts lost but this is a game of inches and maybe now should be a game of pounds. I’m sure there will be a bunch of Boston fans on here crying like they did when their team was accused of spygate. And then they will continue to cry as they are reminded of this. Just for once please accept that your team and its organization are a bunch of cheaters. Even if they were going to win anyways, it’s sad to see an XO genius like Belicheck stoop to that level. Forget the fines and the draft picks. Ban them from the super bowl and declare Seahawks the victors. That would hurt more.

  18. Right. Since the perpetrators you don’t catch go unpunished, then it’s “unfair” to punish the ones you catch.
    That’s perversion of justice — perversion. Not surprising from a disgusting lawyer.

  19. An under inflated ball is huge ! Its virtually impossible to strip a ball ! This is and should be a huge deal !

  20. First, I would to thank PFT for pointing out that the whole “taping practices” accusation is a flat-out lie, and one that is still being perpetuated by the likes of Bob Kravitz himself, who repeated the lie Monday morning during an interview on WEEI when he broke the story about the under-inflated balls.

    When the host pointed out to Kravitz that the Patriots never taped a practice and that the original accusation was a lie, Kravitz responded with an uninterested “whatever”.

    This. from an alleged “journalist”.

    Regarding the inflation of the footballs, it doesn’t look good for the Patriots that 11 of 12 balls were under-inflated below low standards, and they’ve got some explaining to do. But unlike the “haters” who have Belichick convicted, I believe that he has an opportunity to explain this.

    If they can’t come up with a convincing defense, I will be extremely disappointed that a team THIS talented did such a flagrant and unnecessary thing, one that will cement in the minds of the “haters” that this team is indeed tainted, and asterick-laden.

    The trolls will have been right.

    But to those who think the win Sunday should be vacated, and the Colts allowed in the Super Bowl in place of New England, let’s not forget that after the referees became aware of the inflation issue and should have been monitoring everything New England did from that point on, the Patriots actually played BETTER, outscoring the Colts 28 to NOTHING.

    The Colts SUCKED that day, and were outplayed BADLY. They have no excuse for the outcome of that game, they were thoroughly beaten, fair and square in that second half. They have no more right to be in the Super Bowl that the Raiders, the Jets, or the Titans, so Colts fans – and Patriots haters everywhere – SHUT UP.

    If Belichick has no defense or explanation, then fine them, take away another Number 1 draft pick, and yes, even suspend him for being a repeat violator.

    But that win was won fairly despite the under-inflation of the first half.

    And this Patriots fan will be thoroughly disappointed in Bill Belichick for needlessly tarnishing this teams legacy with such a foolish act – is in fact they are guilty.

  21. Unless we know what’s the count of deflated balls for the Colts, this remains a non-story for me and I dislike the Pats like most people 🙂
    It might just be a mistake in measurements for both sides.

  22. “No one will be taking away their AFC title, which would have been easily secured regardless of whether the balls were filled with fluid, flubber, or flatus. ”

    So if Brady can throw a deflated ball, and Blount doesn’t have trouble fumbling a deflated ball, and Luck likes and practices with an inflated ball, then everything is out the window.

    What if the Patriots didn’t score first? What happens if Brady threw a pick six on the first two drives? Well, we’ll never know. The Patriots again cheated, and are going to the Super Bowl.

  23. If all the indy balls were tested as well and found to be fine then they should suspend bellicheck from superbowl. Integrity is backbone of game. The saints coach took it like a man with no mercy shown. Cheaters

  24. In MLB cheaters don’t get in the Hall.
    Also Belichick was probably the lead schemer this time, but no way was he the only one responsible. Let’s not let Brady and the WRs, and TEs get a pass, like they were unknowingly cheating or something. They probably pick a football up a thousand times a day. So they sure as hell could be able to tell that a ball is not feeling the same.

  25. Although … flubber-filled balls certainly would make the game far more the most unpredictable (like Packers/Seahawks)

    You couldn’t also just then rule out the chance of Luck stepping up & becoming the all time #1 flubber-enhanced ball QB in NFL history, now can you?

  26. Now someone says that 7 or 12 Colt’s balls were underinflated??

    New York ….. we have a problem.

    Baltimore is claiming their K balls were tampered with? This is getting ridiculous as the OFFICIALS supply those……

    Can’t see how this won’t turn into:

    -motivation to play harder
    -anther example of differential League enforcement.. see Aaron Rodgers’ well publicized unpunished comments AND Woody Johnson’s tampering..

    Pats win by 5.. LOVE US….. I’ll now welcome comments from parents’ basement dwellers once they wake up around noon… until then…. big men have to go to WORK now….

  27. I’m still confused how the officials on the field would miss this. The umpire sets the ball on every play. He had to know the balls felt differently. I’m a high school official and there have been times in a game when if received the ball it didn’t feel right. If so, I’d stop play and ask another official to feel it. If not right, we’d toss it out of the game. Even at our level we can tell. How 11 of 12 could be underinflated is (as kasey kasem might say) ponderous.

  28. here we go again everybody’s doing it but the most successful team in the NFL gets caught and everybody is jumping around screaming cheeters…
    suck it haters we’re on to Arizona

  29. This seals the legacy of Bill Belichick, fair or unfair. He has now been caught cheating twice. We can go back and forth of the severity of each instance but the fact of the matter is, the guy is a proven cheater. If a player takes a PED he is suspended for games. This is essentially the same thing and Belichick must pay.

    After the year the NFL has had it cannot afford to be lenient with Belichick and the Patriots. They need to be removed from the Superbowl immediately and/or Belichick must be suspended for all of next season. Any lesser punishment would actually give credit to the idiotic conspiracy theories that the NFL wants the Patriots to win all the time.

  30. I love it, the Patriots are in every other teams head now. Fans from other teams use whatever excuse they can to try to knock down the Pats.

    At the end of the day “I DON’T CARE” about Spygate, Bountygate, Deflatgate or any other Gate.

    If I were a fan of another team I’d be pi$$ed that they weren’t looking for every little advantage to win.

    To every Pats fan out there I say “Embrace the HATE”

  31. Let’s not forget Aaron Rodgers stated he purposely over-inflates the Packers’ game balls. The issue is much larger than just the Patriots. I say we replay the entire season. I love football so it’s a win/win for me!

  32. Anyone who drinks the KoolAid and tries to say “Brady didn’t know” or that it was only for this game is crazy … if you think they haven’t been practicing and playing with underinflated footballs all year, think again. You don’t radically change the feel and performance of the ball before the biggest game of the year and surprise your quarterback. Read the NY Times story about the Giants preparing the footballs for Eli Manning. Brady knew.

    And you can do it right on the sideline inside the ball bag with no one seeing … just take the time to figure out how long you stick a needle into a 13 psi ball to consistently bleed it down to 11.5. 30 seconds?

    How many close games did a softer football — one that is easier to grip, catch and less likely to bounce off pads or hands — make that slight difference in? The Pats W-L record, the playoff bye and home field advantage came off of that.

    It’s a disgrace.

  33. Goodell and the media are the ones driving this

    No one BLINKED when Rodgers and the Packers ADMITTED tampering with the ball

    Now there’s an ALLEGATION and you see this sort of reaction? Double standard.

  34. We’re talking about the integrity of the game here, so a message must be sent that this is no longer tolerated. Every time someone is caught cheating, you can bet there are ten other times they did so and weren’t caught. It doesn’t matter that this may have had absolutely no effect on the results of the game, there has to be suspensions, fines, and draft pick removal.

    Not only that, but if Mr, Kraft has any honor at all, he would ask Bill Belichick to step down. Whether one likes it or not, he is ultimately responsible for his team and this team has showed a lack of respect for the rules and integrity of the game. Something has to be done to change the deceptive culture within the organization, as it isn’t just accusations of spying and deflating balls that have surfaced over the years per an article by a popular sports magazine.

  35. “No one will be taking away their AFC title, which would have been easily secured regardless of whether the balls were filled with fluid, flubber, or flatus. ”

    That is true, if you believe the Patriots only deflated balls vs. the Colts.

    But it would be foolish to believe that they didn’t also deflate balls in their divisional playoff game against the Ravens, a game which could have been decided by one play or one more incomplete pass by Tom Brady. If balls with lower air pressure are easier to catch in cold weather, then it would have been an even bigger factor in that game, as it was much colder (20 degrees F vs 51 degrees F at the start of the Ravens and Colts games, respectively).

    This is going to get really, really ugly.

  36. Has the league confirmed the balls were properly inspected prior to the game? Big difference between the balls being low when the were given to the refs and the refs missed it vs. the balls being at regulation PSI then having them deflated afterwards. The league may be distraught about the ineptitude of it’s officials.

  37. I’m confused. Isn’t the whole point of turning the balls into the refs was to ensure they were properly inflated? Brady has stated he likes the balls under inflated so it’s no surprise that the balls turned in were low. So when the refs get the under inflated balls isn’t it their responsibility to see that they are pumped up to snuff? This seems more like a league issue. The fact that the league doesn’t keep total control over the game balls is asinine in and of itself.

  38. For those of us who can’t stand either team playing in the super bowl well we now have a clear idea of who to root for. Go hawks!

  39. Well, as a fan of the team, this is disappointing. I just wonder if any of the Indy balls were also deflated. Grasping at straws, but if this is true, and the Pats did this on purpose, there should be some firings, and i mean the top guy. I sat in the stands when this team was worse that the Titans or Raiders, and I love the success, but at what cost?

  40. Florio, don’t try to play mind games and question the rest of the league. The issue at hand here is the Patriots tried winning with an advantage and they succeeded. Not that this decide that game last week, but this is the second time they have been CAUGHT. Enough is enough.

  41. Roger is between a rock and a hard place. He can’t step back and remove himself from assigning discipline (which in this case would be the smart thing) because he has fought so hard to maintain Judge Jury and executioner status regarding player discipline.

    He can’t blame a rogue ballboy because that sounds far fetched and stupid.

    He’ll probably fine them take a draft pick and have the balls destroyed.

  42. Sorry, but as a Pats fan, this seems like a complete snow job to me. EVERY team plays fast and loose with the inflation of the footballs. Half the QBs in the league are on record saying they like the footballs inflated a certain way. So if the Patriots did indeed get away with this, it seems like they are the only ones who got caught. I bet almost every other team in the league is doing the same thing regarding the inflation of the footballs. Just as in Spygate, other teams were also ‘cheating’ and ‘videotaping’ but the Patriots are the only team who gets caught. You’d have to be pretty naive to think the Patriots are the only team doing this type of stuff.

  43. “No one will be taking away their AFC title, which would have been easily secured regardless of whether the balls were filled with fluid, flubber, or flatus.” ….what a great line!

  44. I predict a quite the decrease in Super Bowl viewership this year. Seems to be little dark secret in every corner these days.

  45. as small a deal as this may seem its actually a huge deal.. we all seen the game, colts WRS were dropping the ball like it was a hot take out a little air and you can grip it alot easier in that cold weather

    if its found BB and pats did this they should immediately be banned from the superbowl no questions asked and belicheck needs to be FIRED.

    this isnt their first attempt 2 cheat and this one is even worse than videotaping..multiple 1st round picks need to be taken, millions of dollars fines between many people and firings all around the board. this is crazy

  46. Patriots are a good enough team to win without all this cheating. They just can’t help themselves.

    The only way I can forgive the Deflatriots is if in 10 years Belicheat comes out and says he did it all just to piss off Goodell. Then, he becomes my favorite human being in all of NFL.

  47. I’m a former high school football official, the umpire is required to check the ball to ensure proper inflation levels. Teams would attempt to under inflate at the HS level, how checking inflation doesn’t happen at the pro level is a bit mind boggling. Officiating 101.

  48. Goodell should replay the AFC Championship Game

    The use of illegal balls is clearly an Extraordinary Unfair Act under the NFL Rules and if the Commissioner determines through the investigation that the Patriots committed an offense and used illegal balls in an AFC Championship Game, there could be no greater infraction or harm to the outcome of a game than to use an illegal ball.

    The integrity of the game is clearly at stake. What would be the outcome of the Game should both teams use the same official spec ball?

    The big question is did it have effect on the outcome of the game? The ball inflation would clearly have an effect on ball control, fumbles, turnovers, grip, catches, throws, accuracy, possession, etc… That’s pretty much everything.
    Anyone that has ever played football in cold and wet conditions knows that the ball is hard, slippery and tougher to control. It appears that the Patriots clearly intended and circumvented that by putting into play illegal balls. So the answer is clear. Yes, It did have an impact on the outcome. It doesn’t matter what the outcome was or that it was a blowout. What if they played with the same ball?

    The Commissioner should do exactly what the Rules call for and either replay the game or reverse the outcome of the game. The Rules should be followed. There should also be a suspension, fines and draft picks forfeited, just as the Rules call for, especially considering the past violations of the Patriots.

    The Commissioner should also assign a study to be conducted by the Competition Committee to determine how under inflated balls could possibly be put into play and make corrective procedures to the handling of the balls before, during and after the game.

    There can be no greater purpose or responsibility of the Commissioner than to preserve the Integrity of the Game.

    On any given Sunday, the game should be fair.

  49. Let’s use a taped up Nerf for the SB. Shouldn’t get wet in Glendale but lets ban BB from the stadium hose just in case.

  50. And lets not forget that obviously it offered no real competitive advantage. After the ref replaced the ball they continued to march down the field and score on that drive and the rest of the game. this is all a bunch of nonsense. You know why no one cares that the Packers did it? Because they lost that’s why. The world hates a winner. Hey I get that, I hate the Yankees for the same reason pretty much but let’s not pretend that all of this false indignation is not deeply rooted in fandom

  51. I’m curious if the Colts balls were also tested as a means of quality control. I’m also waiting to hear from the league that the refs did in fact inspect the balls in the first place. All I’ve heard is what the protocol is, and not confirmation it was followed.

    I’m a Pats fan, but if the investigation is thorough, fair and definitive then the punishment needs to be steep. There’s no reason the league, the players or it’s fans should have to deal with this at a time that the sport should be shining its brightest. I see record fines, possible suspension for Belichick and definite multiple draft picks lost if that is the case. At the very least all balls should come from and be under the leagues control from now on.

  52. If they deflated balls post inspection (and the officials didn’t just let them pass) then what should the punishment be?

    I still don’t see why they would risk doing that, but if they did I have no idea how to set the punishment. It’s air in a football for goodness sake. It’s nothing and every QB wants it a certain way, but if they did it post inspection then that is intentional cheating. The ball attendant could have been rogue, but you kind of need to punish the same way regardless who admits to it.

    How it happened is the most important info now. The league has to prove they followed inspection procedure and didn’t go lenient with the rules.

    As Rodgers said, he tries to get over inflated footballs through inspection.

    Maybe they had an inaccurate pressure gauge (supplied by who?).

    Still lots to know.

  53. We don’t know why or who yet. Nevertheless,
    someone in Congress will draft legislation to prohibit playing with deflated balls. Whether it requires temps to never drop below 30F during games or something else remains to be seen.

  54. Every team/player/driver looks for every competitive advantage they can get, no matter what sport. If you don’t, then you’re the sucker. That’s just the way it is.

  55. I’ve all along said this is nothing just because nothing seemed to point to conspiracy any more than happenstance….

    This is now something.

    Is anyone privy to how each ball was noticed? It just seems to me that if a LB catches one ball and immediately realizes it’s low on air then why didn’t the Ref’s notice? Why didn’t any other defender that picked up the ball during the flow of the game notice? How did it happen?

    The Pats deserve most of the blame here if it’s found they did something outside the rules but a systemic failure has also taken place that’s hard to wrap your head around…I don’t handle footballs everyday but when I hold one I know instantly if it needs air. The Refs didn’t? It’s just odd.

  56. I would take away the Patriots first, second and third round picks this year. Then I would give the Patriots the choice of either firing Belichick, or losing their first three picks in 2016 too. I would also give the Colts and extra second and third round pick this year, since they’re the ones that possibly got something taken away.

  57. No question the referees turn a blind eye and allow teams to use their QB’s ball of choice. They scuff it it up, remove its slickness….yet now the league is drawing the line on PSI?? Just like side line video taping, every team is also doctoring the ball so that they can do what the league wants… Score a ton of points. There is a reason the high scoring teams get national TV coverage and the Clevelands of the league get buried. “Poor sports” Indy has opened up a league wide can of worms…just like Spygate. Unfortunately for New England, another desperate loser has to make excuses at the Patriots expense.
    The real story is that the refs are complicit and the league had no problems….until Sunday when Indy once again went all Polian

  58. Unfortunately ..all I can say is I’m pretty deflated…by this stupid move of the Pats..IF it turns out it was intentional! They’ve tarnished every success they ever had or will have..dumb..just plain dumb!

  59. The officials are supposed to check each ball prior to the game and then they give them to ball-boys to hold for the game. I’m kind of curious to how these balls all became ‘under-inflated’ and they all passed muster and got into the game.

  60. How in the heck is anyone at the NFL offices surprised these guys are cheating? The only success this franchise has ever seen has been a direct result of flagrant cheating. Belichick is a great coach as long as he’s taking unfair advantages over his opponents. When he’s not? 0.0 Lombardi’s…

  61. A team does something that’s not allowed – basically cheats. But let’s spend 3 months talking about a player getting “bullied” by his own teammates. This will off the radar by tomorrow and the Pats will continue to cheat.

  62. Football as we knew it is dead. This is reality TV now. No longer is running, blocking and tackling part of the sport.

    The biggest issues now are ball pressure, camera placement and cleat length. Stub your toe? Season-ending IR.

    You get whacked in a 38 point loss? Cry to the league.

    I respectfully ask everyone in the league office to turn in their man-card. You have officially given up your right to have male genetalia.

  63. 2 psi under-inflated? how is that possible considering the level of interaction between the refs and the footballs?

    If this was found out several days after the game, who knows what happened to them in the meantime.

    Either way, that is a lot. wow. I don’t know how any ref couldn’t have noticed right away.

  64. 1) I’m sure the Patriots are doing much more cheating then we know. These are only two things hey’ve been caught doing.

    2) punisment for a 2 time cheating offender better be severe since they obviously dont fear breaking the rules under goodell.

    3) goodell should take away their entire 2015 draft and suspend belicheck for a year.


  65. If they broke the rules, the Commissioner should be twice as hard on the Pats as he was last time. To all you kool-aid drink zombies knows as Pats fan, if your team did this then they cheated again.

  66. Pop quiz: Bill Belichick is playing his mom in poker for nickel stakes, but she has to answer a phone call during a climactic hand.

    So Bill…

    a) Looks at her cards surreptitiously while she’s chatting.

    b) Has his a few of his many minions swipe some of her chips (chips that have no actual value).

    c) Deflates her two pair into a busted straight.

    d) All of the above — prior to ‘offering total compliance with the house’s investigation into any wrongdoing that may or may not have taken place’, but only after every last nickel out of mom’s purse, and winning this year’s biggest poker tournament.

    Momma’s boy Bill finally cracks a smile, right about the time the house docks him a whole 27 cents (for the 2016 tournament), while he’s getting sized for his 2015 world champeen poker bracelet.

    e) Or, is the moral of the story really that Bill knew better than anyone, prior to last summer, that the NFL encourages criminal activity, I mean who isn’t willing to take a slap on the wrist for a Lombardi trophy — so isn’t Bill obligated as the head coach of a football team to do everything within his power (aka rob, cheat and steal) to win? And shouldn’t Bill continue to implement this successful strategy until the arbitrage offered by doing so is finally offset by the penalty for doing so?

    Now please pass your scantrons forward, and try not to use any quasi-illegal formations of desks while doing so…

  67. They care about this, but not forcing players to use helmets that are not the safest in the existing marketplace, not properly PED testing, and not having refs that are beyond the reach of gamblers fixing games.

    OK then, carry on.

  68. First of all, the NFL shouldn’t try to “preserve the integrity of the game”, it should try to reestablish the integrity of the game. Second, if 11 of the 12 balls were 2 pounds under, why didn’t a single official notice it?

  69. I hope they tested the colts balls as well. If they turn up with psi loss as well there’s an issue. Also hope it’s fully investigeted. If it is found pats balls were under, that doesn’t mean any player knew. Or belichik. This could be a rogue thing that went on. And it should be tested under normal circumstances as well. Balls will lose pressure in cold weather. It’s just science. This whole thing is a witch hunt I still say. People look for anything at all to knock the pats. And I could easily see this being nothing at all. People though are already saying guilty and no evidence at all has been put up. It’s all hearsay at this moment.

  70. I don’t even hate the Patriots anymore.

    They’ve become a joke. They video tape teams, deflate balls, and have most certainly cheated in other ways where they weren’t caught.

    Their Super Bowls are all tainted, no one ever talks about them winning without Spygate, and now even if they win next week it will be tainted too. Though I feel Seattle’s gonna open up a can on them just like they did to the Broncos in XLVIII.

    They’re a joke, I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

  71. We can’t be mad at the Patriots. Why is it that we expect them to suddenly become something they are not? It’s not like there is rehab for cheating sports franchises and quitting cold turkey is no joke. We need to offer our support and do what we can to help them break their patterns, not burn them at the stake.

  72. raiderufan says:
    Jan 21, 2015 7:20 AM
    I’ve all along said this is nothing just because nothing seemed to point to conspiracy any more than happenstance….

    This is now something.

    Is anyone privy to how each ball was noticed? It just seems to me that if a LB catches one ball and immediately realizes it’s low on air then why didn’t the Ref’s notice? Why didn’t any other defender that picked up the ball during the flow of the game notice? How did it happen?

    The Pats deserve most of the blame here if it’s found they did something outside the rules but a systemic failure has also taken place that’s hard to wrap your head around…I don’t handle footballs everyday but when I hold one I know instantly if it needs air. The Refs didn’t? It’s just odd.


    Very odd. I’m still thinking (hoping?) the officials didn’t follow the exact inspection rules and approved them as is. Which means it’s exactly what Rodgers said he does. Any tampering post inspection (other than game play and Gronk spiking which probably does slightly cause deflation) is clearly against the rules and would be cheating. But I agree that the refs should have noticed given so many footballs were under inflated. They were handling them a lot.

  73. If there’s a rule about the exact weight for footballs to be used during the game, there must be a league policy about what the consequences are if this is not respected. This shouldn’t be complicated.

  74. Here’s the thing: Isn’t it the league’s responsibility to catch this in real time? I mean, isn’t the league ultimately responsible for enforcing its own rules? They pay people to walk around and flag uniform violations in real time. They have money coming out their ears. If it’s so damn important, why don’t they check the footballs in real time, too?

    I just have a hard time caring that the Patriots may have tried to sneak underinflated footballs into the game. The NFL should take responsibility for enforcing its own rules. The cop doesn’t pull you over and then ask if you were speeding — he checks his radar first. NASCAR checks out the cars before the race starts. Can’t the NFL check the equipment before the game starts, and assume responsibility for its maintenance during the game?

    This is all just balderdash.

  75. The coveted shield had a tough year.

    The Super Bowl will suck now. The Pats cannot win because this will be an amazing distraction. Damn!

  76. Bud Selig’s last act as commissioner should be to head over to NFL HQ and tell them, “Duh! Hey, guys, make the refs responsible for the balls. Maybe it is more than just the players suffering from consussions.”

  77. Nothing to see here. We’ll end up hearing more reports in the next few weeks (probably AFTER the Super Bowl) about how other teams DID do this, COULD HAVE done this, PREFER under- or over-inflated balls, etc.

    The Pats got caught because everyone’s watching them and the opposing team needs excuses for why they can’t beat them. Case in point: John Harbaugh going berzerk and embarrassing himself over what was an obviously LEGAL formation.

  78. Lets not over think this. The Patriots had no idea what the score was going to be when they ordered the balls deflated. The intent was to give themselves an advantage. They knew they were breaking the rules when they did it. Plain and simple, the intent was to cheat.

  79. The NFL has themselves to blame for this! How can they leave control of 12 footballs per team to prepare ?
    This is a one Billion dollar operation .
    Part time refs ?
    Footballs left in the hands of teams to scuff , under inflate , manipulate to whatever their QB prefers .
    It’s one thing after another.
    Whatever ?
    Patriots have screwed the Eagles and other teams over the years and the NFL just sweeps it under the carpet !
    Bill , I mean Darth Vader ! WIN ! WIN ! WIN ! Anyway you can ! I don’t blame under-inflated balls for a 45-7 loss by the Colts. But can’t you ever play on the UP & UP Bill ?

  80. gforce4all says:
    Jan 21, 2015 7:18 AM
    Mike McCarthy is stupid.

    3 3

    OH Gees Pack fans, let’s hope you get over this quickly the subject at hand is deflated balls, now I now you all are aware of the 5 stages of grief, but as a refresher here you go:
    Denial — As the reality of loss is hard to face, one of the first reactions to follow the loss is Denial. The person is trying to shut out the reality or magnitude of his/her situation, and begins to develop a false, preferable reality.
    Anger — Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. The person in question can be angry with himself, or with others, or at a higher power, and especially those who are close to them. Certain psychological responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”; “Why would God let this happen?”
    Bargaining — The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow undo or avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Other times, they will use anything valuable as a bargaining chip against another human agency to extend or prolong the life they live. In essence, the individual cannot totally move into acceptance yet acknowledges the fact that what has happened cannot be undone. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example, one may say “Can we still be friends?” when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it is a matter of life or death.
    Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon so what’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?”
    During the fourth stage, the grieving person begins to understand the certainty of death. Much like the existential concept of The Void, the idea of living becomes pointless. Things begin to lose meaning to the griever. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and sullen. This process allows the grieving person to disconnect from things of love and affection, possibly in an attempt to avoid further trauma. Depression could be referred to as the dress rehearsal for the ‘aftermath’. It is a kind of acceptance with emotional attachment. It is natural to feel sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty when going through this stage. Feeling those emotions shows that the person has begun to accept the situation. Oftentimes, this is the ideal path to take, to find closure and make their ways to the fifth step, Acceptance.
    Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”
    In this last stage, individuals begin to come to terms with their mortality or inevitable future, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event. This stage varies according to the person’s situation. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief. This typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the individual, and a stable mindset.

  81. voddyt says:
    Jan 21, 2015 7:07 AM
    Why doesn’t the league simply supply/manage the game balls?!?


    Search for the Eli Manning story about how his team preps the footballs for
    him. It’s pretty clear when you read that that QBs are given the right to have the balls basically how they want. Down to pre soaking the footballs and even machine grinding the surface. The league just controls inflation range, and model.

    The league wants QBs to perform well obviously. Using new standard footballs would change the game a lot.

  82. And don’t forget in the litany of transgressions:

    (1) the coach-to-QB headset communication violations. Because this involved 12 teams — and because none of these teams were the Patriots — and because the league (other than denying the Pats were one of them) refused to reveal the identities of the franchises — never became a “scandal.”

    (2) player tampering. The Pats are a victim of this one.

    (3) Eli Manning — winner of 2 SBs — upsetting the natural order of things by arranging the team he played for rather than going to the team that drafted him. I don’t see how any of the Giants accomplishments in the Eli Manning Era get recognized as legitimate.

  83. lemmetalkwouldya says:
    Jan 21, 2015 6:46 AM

    I hate the pat’s, i think they are low life cheaters. BUT i do think they woulda beat the colts, their run game dominated, not brady. But cheating is cheating, just b/c it didnt help doesnt justify it. And no one ever gets caught their very FIRST time cheating…….did they do this against the ravens? is that why they came back to win? we dont know, and thats why they shouldnt be in the super bowl. Cheating is cheating, period.

  84. If Belicheat is still coaching when the dust settles from this mess, something is very, very wrong…. Caught cheating twice not only shows a total disregard for the rules but also shows what an idiot he is for getting caught TWICE!! He needs to immediately be removed from the NFL and put in the same category with Pete Rose…. Cheating not only shows how paranoid of a person he is but also shows he believes he is above the rules. The only way the NFL can save face is to permanently ban Belicheat, Brady and whoever else was involved….. Then we can get on with the Super Bowl! Indy 34 Seattle 20

  85. These guys have permanently tarnished what could have been a great legacy. They will NEVER be on par with the Cowboys, Steelers, 49ers and Packers. I really wish this franchise would just go away.

  86. billswillnevermove says:
    Jan 21, 2015 7:26 AM
    Belichick makes Pete Rose look like a choir boy. The Patriots, a team full of Lance Armstrongs’.


    Lance Armstrong took PEDs. Just like many players on the team you cheer for. That’s cheating too.

    As for deflated balls… It’s not exactly betting on the game for to want the balls a certain way for the QB.

  87. It should be simple that any coaches (Belicheat, McDaniels) or personnel (BallBoy, Kraft) that were behind this needs to be banned from the NFL for Life all players (Brady, Gronk, LaFell, Blount etc) behind this should receive a minimum of a one year suspension.. Anything else is a joke. Do you have the Balls to do it Roger?

  88. “Coach Belichick…you’ve been caught red handed under inflating AFC Championship game balls to illegally give your quarterback an advantage. Do you have any comments on the matter?”

    “Yes I do. We’re on to Arizona”

  89. 1 of 3 things happened here.

    The Pats cheated, the officials cheated on behalf of the Pats, or the officials are just down right incompetent. I’m leaning towards #3 but the first choice is smack dab in the realm of possibility also.

  90. I’m not defending the Pats but deflating footballs is certainly not nearly as bad as some other practices I’ve seen certain other teams do in the past like chop blocking by o-lines, modifying jerseys/gear so that opponents impale their hands, etc.

  91. “Tire pressure can drop one-half to one pound per square inch (psi) for every 10-degree drop in temperature. ”
    Indoor temp=75
    Outdoor temp 35
    That’s a 40 degree drop = 2 pounds reduction…same differential in ballgate.
    Funny how science gets ignored

  92. How did the Colts balls come out? I am willing to bet they were under inflated and I will as far to say they refused to have their balls tested. Don’t forget Pagano comes out of the John Harbaugh coaching tree.

  93. The eventually “retracted” report about the Patriots spying on the Rams practices before SB XXXVI? I’m sorry, but after spygate, not only is that accusation believable, but very probably true.

    Belichick is known for crossing the line, and will continue to do so until he either retires, or until the league punishes the Patriots hard enough to prevent it from happening again.

  94. Since the perpetrators you don’t catch go unpunished, then it’s “unfair” to punish the ones you catch.


  95. First off this has nothing to do with belichek this has to do with a qb. A catch doesn’t prepare balls for a qb and alter them without the qb who has to throw them

    Rogers openly admits to over inflating balls, and Eli manning equipment manager works on balls for weeks before a game.

    This story comes down to the colts reporting the patriots out of animosity as one thing is way more clear the. Spy gate and that’s that a lot of teams are doing something along these lines

    How come no investigation ever of rogers who openly admitted this to Simms and nantz

  96. Lose their first three draft picks the next two years, indefinite ban for those directly involved and legendary stain on the organization.

    Sound about right?

  97. Witch hunt, plain and simple.

    Spy-gate was real. Despite the fact that other teams were taping signals the NFL told every NFL team before the 2007 season that they would be cracking down on the practice. The Patriots didn’t listen, they got caught, and were rightfully punished.

    But this? Aaron Rodgers openly talks about inflating his football beyond the league rules. So much so that Phil Simms talked about it on an NFL broadcast and NO ONE cared! But the Patriots are accused of deflation a few footballs to adjust to the weather and people are talking about vacating the Super Bowl appearance and being barred from the Hall of Fame? HAHA! By NFL rule it’s a $25,000 fine!

    It is what it is. If people want to make this into a massive deal and blow it out of proportion then so be it.

  98. The balls are the responsibility of the REFEREES. So, when will the Refs be held accountable for anything? Clearly the Pats beat the snot out of the Colts even after the discovery of the “deflated ball” in question so if there was any hint at impropriety why wasn’t something done at the time.
    This is all media hyperbole because drama drives the NFL and it’s popular to target the Patriots because they are so good. I’m not a fan of either team so don’t have a dog in the race but am just tired of all the “gates” as it only brings out the nut bars of the tin hat brigade! Get over it, it’s a game!

  99. Makes you wonder on that Sunday or Monday night game against the Chiefs, the Patriots were awful……..Brady couldn’t throw the ball with no zip, couldn’t throw the ball down field, he looked old, washed up……..then after that game….magic!! He could throw the ball again, looked like a different QB. Makes you wonder indeed. This team is the most tarnished organization in the history of modern day sports. Everyone outside of Boston knows it. Suspend Bellacheat………..he couldn’t win at Cleveland. He has been cheating for years with the Patriots.

  100. The fault here goes to the stupidity of the officiating. How do you justify anything they do? If football teams are playing with their own footballs, the first question people should be asking is why? That’s terrible judgement by the NFL, every other team sport in the world that you play, every one uses the same ball.

  101. The Cheaterbowl 49 does no credit to the NFL. Carroll cheated at USC and should have been banned from coaching. Belichick cheated on his wife, led spygate, and now deflategate. Ban him form the sideline, take top 2 draft picks at a minimum.

  102. 1st. I agree, the Pats could have been carrying a rock in that game, it did not matter, they took the Colts to the woodshed…


    This “team” continues to skirt the rules. I feel like Walter Sobchak in “The Big Lebowski”… am I the only one who cares about the frigging rules!?!?! This is not the WWF, it’s the NFL and their are rules and standards that need to be respected and followed. The Patriots do NOT do this. They disrespect the integrity of the game with these ridiculous antics.

    I’m actually thankful the game was a blowout now, for had it been close, think of the controversy! An underinflated ball is an advantage… especially in the rain! Imagine if it was a close game and the Pats won on a last second TD pass!

  103. What was the weight of the Colts’ footballs? If those were also not sequestered how do we have a control vs. variable situation? Especially if the Ravens are saying that the K balls in Foxboro the week before were also deflated. You know, those K balls that the Patriots don’t have any access to? If the Ravens claim is true, it leads me to believe that weather could be a factor here.

    Side note, does anyone have an explanation as to how the Patriots played better in the second half once the refs did exchange out the ball? Does anyone have a complain about Rodgers admitting he tries to get illegal balls past the ref? Does anyone have a problem with how Eli Manning conditions his footballs?

  104. They need to hire Nascar inspectors to inspect their footballs before games. Those dudes can tell if a rear quarter panel on a race car is a 1/16″ too low.

  105. @metitometin said: You’d have to be pretty naive to think the Patriots are the only team doing this type of stuff.

    The irony in that sentence is that you’d have to be even more naive to think that other teams are doing it, yet only the Patriots get caught.

  106. Cheaters…

    Spy gate
    Deflated balls
    Intentional score board malfunctions when opposing teams have the ball in Foxborough

    Grow up & play….. Pathetic

  107. This new scandal only makes me wonder how many other things the Patriots cheated with and got away with. If I were the I.R.S I would start an audit on BB cuz you know he cheated on his taxes too.

  108. How did the pats even pull this off. They must have the refs in the bag to. Here is why each team gives 12 balls to the refs before game time. They are supposed to check them at that time. What did the refs just not do there jobs. Not unheard of but that could be an even bigger problem for the nfl.

  109. I know golfers get to pick their own balls. And in cricket the bowling team get to manipulate the ball within strict criteria. But I can’t think of another football code that lets the teams pick, prepare and use their own balls during a game.

    The simple change has to be the NFL controls the balls and all balls are delivered with a standard pressure and with a standard criteria for any other manipulation such as substances applied to the surface.

  110. The Patriots have an incredible record at home when their is inclement weather. It wouldn’t surprise me if they have been deflating balls for years.

    Anyone who has ever thrown a football or tried to hold onto one when it gets very cold or wet outside, knows that a deflated ball makes it a lot easier to throw and handle.

    If the Patriots are to be found to have done this purposely the punishment needs to be severe. An entire draft gone? Two drafts? Ban Belichick and anyone else who participated in the scheme from the NFL?

    Those may seem like drastic measures, but when you blatantly break rules the call into question the integrity of the game you must take such actions in order send a message to all that participate – such actions will never be tolerated.

  111. The question isn’t what he got caught doing but what has he gotten away with all these years.

    I can certainly see how a dropped pass or an INT in that game, especially early on could’ve changed the outcome.

    Look at the Pack/Seahawk game, first drive. The Seahawks were offside, the center saw it, Rodgers saw it but the refs didn’t see it. Rodgers believes he has a free play so he takes the shot to the end zone. It get’s intercepted by Sherman. Instead of it remaining Packers ball and play over, the Seahawks get it on the 20.

    It was early but an important screw up by the refs.

    The better team does not always win, which is why Belichek is always looking for that edge. The difference between winning and losing is often a single play, despite what the winning fans often love to tell the losing team.

    The other thing that Belichek knows is that the league will never take away a win no matter what, it would be to embarrassing to the league. It’s all about avoiding embarrassment for the league, not doing what is right.

  112. This is a complete league-wide conspiracy to take down the Patriots, as was the bogus Spygate, where EVERY team was ‘cheating’ and ‘videotaping’ because it was LEGAL. EVERY team plays around with the inflation of the football. This isn’t new. Anyone who thinks the Patriots are the only team that does this has to be the most naive person on the face of the earth. This is a league-wide conspiracy to take down the Patriots because people hate them so much. So pathetic. Why exactly did the Patriots choose the Colts game to suddenly deflate footballs? Defies all logic.

  113. Each team uses its own football on offense — a 2013 New York Times article said that each team even has its own logo on the football when on offense — and teams are allowed to slightly doctor the footballs to their preference. “Rubbing up” the football with dirt to make it less slippery is common, and so is slightly adjusting the inflation levels.

    If that is the case, why is this an issue other than the NFL looking like a bunch of idiots again? Fire the moron in charge.

  114. Patriots fan here.

    I want to apologize to the fans of other teams.

    I was wrong to defend Belichick.

    He has no integrity.

    He must be fired immediately.

    I’m sorry that your teams have been cheated.

    To other Patriots fans: shame on you if you don’t turn your back on this team and this coach.

  115. Kraft and his partner Mara run the NFL, and they control the strings of the dummy commissioner. Move along, nothing to see here like the Tuck rule, Spy and Bounty Gate, Dallas and Washington’s cap hit. Same old, same old NFL cronyism.

  116. Burn the evidence: 11 of 12 Patriot game balls are more than likely headed straight to the furnace. BFF Goodell and Kraft both need to go !!!!!!!!!!

  117. At least one of the two first half touchdown balls went into the stands. Was it retrieved before the second half?

  118. Now it’s up to the Patriots to defeat the Seahawks. If they do, this will all go away because you don’t beat the defending SB champ and best of the NFC if you are not yourself the best team (and everyone will assume this game is being monitored closely).

    If they lose, everyone will pile on.

    Now THAT’S motivation!

  119. the hate of the patriots success that flows through the haters keyboards is awesome……

    we are on to our SIXTH did I say SIXTH superbowl Yes 6TH SIXTH SIXTH count em suckers love em or hate we are going again for the SIXTH time!!!!!!!!

    Oh Yeah did I mention the SIXTH time…….


  120. I will go on record to say that

    1. I believe I read it on this site that the balls were tested by officials before the game and protocol was followed, so we are to assume everything passed.

    2. 11 of 12 balls for the Pats were 2 psi under the minimum and it was reported this morning, and get this, ALL of the Colts balls were within specs!!!

    3. So at this point it is pretty easy to say that the balls were tampered with and Pats fans trying to justify by using science/barometric pressure is extremely laughable.

    4. As a Jets fan I had a ton of respect for Brady, BUT his smug little attitude and blatant lying when asked about this has lost every bit of said respect. He knew it, Bill knew it, and they will only be sorry because they got caught. My expectations are along lines with the masses. Roger needs to have a heavy hand in this discipline. I have one word for Bill, KARMA. Any idiot could tell Woody was not intentionally trying to tamper w/ Revis but because of his personality Bill couldn’t help himself, so he filed the charges and now you get what you deserve!!! A year minimum sounds nice because Bill isn’t just the HC. What were your words Mr Kraft after Spygate? Here we are again and the entire football world is looking at your pathetic franchise in a very negative light!!!

  121. If there is smoke there is fire. If this was a first time the have been accused of something that would be one thing,, but its a constant thing. They even asked Brady about it early in the week and he laughed it off. throw the book at them.

    At a minimum:

    Belicheat should be suspended for a year
    Brady fined for lying
    Patriots heavily fined
    Lose of all 2015 draft picks
    3 year league probation

  122. If you are surprised that the Patriots cheated I also feel bad for telling you that Santa isn’t real.

  123. The fact that the Colts got beat up so badly doesn’t make the cheating any less despicable.

    Win, lose or tie, if the Patriots cheated they should be punished. The outcome of the game is not an excuse for them not to be punished.

    Regardless the author is correct, the NFL gets a black eye out of this no matter the result of the investigation.

  124. The easiest solution to this mess and to eliminate future Patriots cheating (although they’ll find some other sinister methods I’m sure):

    1. Just use the same Footballs for each team.
    2. Keep the Footballs under neutral supervision.

    Problem solved. Those Patriots though, really?!?

  125. Is it possible the Flacco’s pass that was intercepted to end the game in the divisional round hung up longer than he meant it to because of an illegally altered ball?

  126. Why should the NFL feel anything about what has happened?

    The Patriots have long been the NFL’s version of NASCAR’s Hendrick Motorsports – a place where a team that wins 7 shampionships has been both caught and penalized at least 14 times for violating NASCAR rules and even won a shampionship driving an illegal vehicle that had no consumer version sold until the last week of October 2013 and that means that during all of the qualifying races and nearly 70% of the Chase that not one version of the consumer model had been sold. This is against NASCAR rules and nothing was ever done. Every victory of the Chevrolet SS in 2013 before November 2013 should have been invalidated – you MUST SELL THE CAR FOR THE FULL TIME IT COMPETES – the race car was approved in July 2012 and was started racing in February 2013 without any consumer model sold!

    I figure NASCAR will just allow this mess to linger until draft time and then slap the wrists of the Patriots around that time. This ain’t the first cheating rodeo that this coaching staff and ownership have been a part of so why even bother? They are above all the rules just like Hendrick.

  127. If there isn’t some scientific explanation related to the cold then belichick should be suspended for the next six months. No contact with the team. Starting immediately. No super bowl. No draft.

  128. Lol, they win the Super Bowl, throw up another asterisk. Cheaters have a very hard time stopping and in all likelyhood the Patriots cheated at points in their first 3 Super Bowl wins. Well maybe not the first but then there was the Tuck rule which was basically the league cheating for the Pats!! Go Hawks!!

  129. Seems like all teams try to doctor or rubbed down the footballs before the refs inspect them. For this to happen in the 2nd quarter, the pats must have altered them after inspection. Which makes it questionable at best and cheating at worst.

  130. – Everything I’ve read says the Indy balls came back fine.
    – If you think this is the 1st game this was done in, then you are nuts. Look at Brady’s #s after the 1st 4 games of the season. After that blowout win, my immediate response was “So the Patriots are cheating again”

    Loss of draft picks (at least 1st round) and banning Belichick for a minimum of 1 year is where the punishment needs to start. Anything less is just like the Spygate slap on wrist.

  131. Has the league confirmed the balls were properly inspected prior to the game? Big difference between the balls being low when the were given to the refs and the refs missed it vs. the balls being at regulation PSI then having them deflated afterwards. The league may be distraught about the ineptitude of it’s officials.

    The officials touch the football on every play, usually a couple at minimum and that’s simply once a player hands one of them the ball and then another when it’s placed on the ground. If a football was under-inflated, an official should have noticed it immediately.

  132. So again why does the league not control and monitor the inflation of the footballs. The balls are touched by the refs on every play. So did the officials miss another call. Blaming Bill Belichick makes sense due to spy gate which he admitted to but let’s see what the investigation reveals before he is blamed for cheating.

  133. Brady laughed a little too long and a little too hard when asked about this. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was him that had the ball boy deflate the balls. It’s not like it would be that hard to do. When the refs give the balls back all a ball boy has to do is stick a needle in it for a few seconds.

  134. First, they still have not proven anything except the balls were deflated somehow. It could have been atmospheric, or maybe the Pats had a bad batch of balls…who knows for sure at this point? ONLY if they can prove that someone on the sideline deflated the balls after the ref’s inspection do they have a case.

    Until that happens, this is 100% on the ref, and whoever else tested the balls.

  135. I can only imagine what the outcry would have been if the game was close. Oh man, flaming babies would be thrown out of skyscrapers. Apocalypse city.

  136. Stop wasting your time with this story. Obviously the media/NFL had to think of something to stay relevant this week but we all know the NFL won’t do anything about this. The shield has proven again and again that there is zero integrity in the NFL. Might as well start watching WWE instead of this garbage since they are equally predictable these days.

    Only enjoyment is listening to the pompous prick Tom Brady lie on the radio

  137. Ummmm….there’s still no evidence that the Pats actually DID anything to under-inflate the balls. If they’re all weighed before the game and it’s fine, it became an issue at half time when once again the balls were weighed. Who’s to say that every ball used in the NFL doesn’t lose pressure by the half? Are ALL of the balls used in NFL games again measures/tested at half time to see what a standard loss of pressure is?

    If the Pats intentionally messed with the balls, they should be fined as the rule book calls for and the organization is completely moronic for skirting the rules after the whole Spygate fiasco. However, if there’s no evidence or proof that the Patriots did this intentionally, then they can’t be punished….and this opens up a whole can of worms. Could the Patriots not now sue the league if balls aren’t now consistently checked at halftime during every NFL game for equal enforcement of the rules? I think if they start checking balls every game at half time then the NFL will have a whoooooole lot of investigations they’ll need to carry out.

  138. Its not an issue… Bellichick should be banned. Kraft should be suspended. Pats should lose all 2015 draft picks. Next time… they have to fold. Enough is enough with this cheating franchise. If a ball boy or the refs have to take the blame… then the fix is in. Its time to be a man for a change Goodell… come down on the cheaters or NFL has no credibility.

  139. The referees who are responsible for the ball and the Pats should be punished and all those who changed the ball to suit their likings. Nobody should get a pass. The Pats should demand this. They should not be the only team that gets punished while the rest get away with it. I am a Pats fan but if this is true , then the person culpable should be punished esp. if it is BB. It’s unfair for the rest of the players who work hard do be drag into this. The NFL should punish or investigate any team that break the rule right away, not only till the Pats does it and come hard on them to set a grand example. —- Teams will game the system. The people most responsible for this one are the referees. They handle the ball before they give them to the players every time. They are paid to discern peculiarities. The NFL should punish them for incompetence; the Pats for trying to game the system.

  140. Wow. So the Super Bowl is going to be Cheat Carroll vs Bill Belicheat? I want them both to lose.

  141. A SB winning QB knows if a ball isn’t the right weight. The fact that he laughed it off and called it ridiculous proves he knew it was true. We’re not talking an ounce but 2 pounds…. Stop making excuses. They do have a great football team but they also cheated.
    If the Ravens pulled this nonsense, the NFL would have already pulled down the banners in Glendale and deemed the Colts the winners……

  142. “This time around, the latest controversy involving a team that for whatever reason keeping tripping into these issues arose two weeks before the Super Bowl. ”

    Really? What’s that saying about ducks, walking, and talking?

  143. ” Unfortunately for New England, another desperate loser has to make excuses at the Patriots expense.”

    I haven’t read anything where a Colts fan is saying that they should have won the game.

    This isn’t about desperate losers, it is about a team repeatedly cheating.


  144. Can’t replay the game and can’t just send the Colts to the SB. They should lose their entire draft….and maybe some of the next one for good measure.

  145. Obviously Pats fans take this stuff serious and it hurts them. They want to be able to brag unabated.

    The Partiot organization is tainted, I’m pleased with that.

  146. Would LOVE to see Belicheat fined, suspended for a year, and picks taken from the team. They’re ALWAYS trying to deceive in one way or another, legitmately or not – ALWAYS!

  147. real mess for The Patriots????
    The Greatest Coach In NFL History will flip this into NE’s 4th Superbowl Win.

  148. Am I supposed to feel bad for Roger Goodell after reading this article? Because I’m having a hard time getting there.

    Announce the findings quickly, and take the appropriate action based on those findings. Forget the politics of the situation. That is the only outcome I will respect.

  149. It’s starts from the top. Sounds cliche to say that. But we all know that the league re-writes rules and arbitrarily administers to league issues, according to player preference, player salary (value), and marketing preference. So when the top futzes with outcomes all the time, teams will do the same in their own capacity. This is not a Patriot Problem. This is a League Problem.

  150. bizono says:
    Jan 21, 2015 7:04 AM

    “No one will be taking away their AFC title, which would have been easily secured regardless of whether the balls were filled with fluid, flubber, or flatus. ”

    That is true, if you believe the Patriots only deflated balls vs. the Colts.

    But it would be foolish to believe that they didn’t also deflate balls in their divisional playoff game against the Ravens, a game which could have been decided by one play or one more incomplete pass by Tom Brady. If balls with lower air pressure are easier to catch in cold weather, then it would have been an even bigger factor in that game, as it was much colder (20 degrees F vs 51 degrees F at the start of the Ravens and Colts games, respectively).

    This is going to get really, really ugly.

    Well said! Why on Earth would they just do this against Indy, a team they knew they could beat with their running game, and not against the Ravens, a team that is strong against the run and weak against the pass, and that always gives them a tough fight? In a game where, as you pointed out, the weather was colder and there was a greater benefit from deflation? That would make no sense at all.

    The NFL has a HUGE problem on its hands.

  151. Did the officials actually check the balls before the game? Like with an accurate pressure gauge? Or did they just squeeze a few and go, “Seems fine to me.” They didn’t seem to notice that the balls were low during the first half, so would they have done so in the locker room when the balls were warmer and harder?

  152. We’re not talking an ounce but 2 pounds…
    Pounds is a unit of force or mass. Pounds per square inch is a unit of pressure. We’re talking about PSI. The mass of air left out of the ball was only a few grams.

  153. i think this may put to bed the notion that belichick is the greatest coach in nfl history. he’ll still have ZERO superbowls where he didn’t get caught cheating.

    why can’t he cover his tracks better. most teams are probably cheating one way or another. only the patriots are dumb enough (or arrogant enough) to keep getting caught.


  154. Why on Earth would they just do this against Indy, a team they knew they could beat with their running game, and not against the Ravens, a team that is strong against the run and weak against the pass, and that always gives them a tough fight?
    You still need to prove tampering with approved balls. Simply havering LP balls isn’t enough. Ball tampering is the big no-no here.

    Maybe they did try to slip LP balls through against BAL and maybe the game officials caught it. No foul no harm. But maybe the game officials missed then like they apparently did here. Then you come background game day officials not doing their job properly. Thats an NFL problem, not a NEP problem.

    On that day, a ball that was taken outside and cooled would have lost 2.5-3.0 PSI(a) due to cooling.

  155. Ha-ha, now Spygate will never go away!

    And don’t say they would have beat the Colts. Brady could have thrown 3 more picks and the RB could have fumbled twice!

  156. People will complain but in the end do nothing… and the NFL knows that the money will continue to flow… so they have to do exactly zero. Until people start waking up and doing something nothing is going to change.. because if you’re waiting for billionaires to quit doing what they do you have to speak to their pocket…

  157. This does look bad especially considering the recent history. The league is screwed no matter what they find or what they do. I have no doubt that the balls were bare minimum when inspected. It is possible that they could lose pressure during the game through use, temperature and atmospheric pressure and any loss whatsoever would mean they would be under specs. The problem is they were low a full 2 lbs (assuming the reports are precise and not rounded). That seems a bit much for an innocent loss of pressure. It will be extremely difficult to prove active tampering during the game unless a camera happened to view something overtly suspicious.

    I see only 3 possible conclusions (assuming there is no confession or proof of tampering):
    1) blame incidental loss of pressure via temp, use, atmospheric pressure
    2) throw the officials under the bus by saying they failed to properly check the balls pre-game
    3) ignore the lack of substantial proof and punish the Patriots

  158. The Ravens lost by 4 points. I wonder how many of the Patriots’ balls in that game were under infalted.

  159. WRONG!!!! So easy to say let them play. The Black Sox scandal in baseball put a cloud over baseball. This is the SECOND time that the Patriots have been involved in cheating. Brady got on the radio and LIED about it. Enough is enough. The integrity of the game is at stake. Take away the AFC title or suspend Belicheck and Brady. Brady lied if he didn’t know the balls were deflated.

  160. So the Patriots can’t win a post season game without taping practices or tampering with the football?

    Poor Patriots fans, theyre the real losers in all of this.

  161. Just give the Pats’ 31st pick in the first round to the Colts, revamp the ball inflation scrutiny procedure, and let’s move on from this.

  162. Again, the NFL will be forced to fix things after the fact that should have been fixed long ago. Teams never should have been providing footballs. That sounds like a rule from back in the days when money was so tight teams had to provide them because the league couldn’t afford to.

    What will happen is they’ll wait until after the Super Bowl before announcing any punishment. They’ll hope the Seahawks win because that will make it a whole lot easier. I’m guessing a hefty fine, some underling will be thrown under the bus but BB will skate by, and the league will provide the footballs from now on.

  163. First, this puts the Patriots organization as repeat offenders in regards to cheating…

    With that in mind, either Bellichek needs to suspended without pay the entire 2015 season and two first round picks need to be taken for the next two years or…

    Take two first round picks for the next two years and a 60 million dollar fine needs to done. They’ve got to find a way of breaking Bellichek from constantly cheating. And the two options I just gave should be stringent enough.

  164. Throw the officials under the bus by saying they failed to properly check the balls pre-game…
    It’s not throwing them under the bus if they really didn’t properly check the balls. Seeing as the couldn’t figure it out on the field, what’ll makes you think they figured it out in the locker room when the balls were warmer?

  165. Bill needs to face the judge one of these days. He continues to thumb his nose at authority and cheats every single season. Patriot Way

  166. The game should be forfeit! They cheated, Brady lied, and Belicheat knew it and doesn’t want to act guilty so he, of course is going to let the investigation go forward, he can’t stop it at that point!

    Of course, the cheated, not once in this game, but in many games.

    Holding the ball, is a huge advantage, especially when the defense is constantly trying to take it away, and punch it out every play. You can’t do it when you can grip the ball that much firmer. Add to that, that when its cold, you can catch it easier, hold it easier, and its softer to catch, it is huge.

    Yeah, it happened, and this was not the first time! It was the first time they were caught!!

    NFL – NFL – NFL – do the right thing, forfeit the game, let the colts play, or have a rematch and have the colts play the ravens, and then hold the Super Bowl!! Other wise it is all a BS!!

    The where’s waldo, substitution, no eligible / eligible receiver known and called out for all teams – that was pure BS, and the REFs did not do their job during the game to handle that correctly. In other games they held the play to allow all parties in on the substitutions, but allowed it for the Cheaters from NE!! It is BS!

  167. freestyle1022 says:
    Jan 21, 2015 6:32 AM

    So the referees handle the balls 100+ times collectively in the first half and nothing was determined by them that they were under-inflated? Not saying that the patriots aren’t to blame here, but this has to be part of the story too.. Minuscule rules like these are stretched in all sports (goalie pad size in hockey, baseball pitchers). They got caught, but lets not all sit here and question the validation of the Patriots Super Bowl bid. And let’s not forget the crowd noise pumped into the dome in Indy either.

    This is what I exactly thought the minute I heard the story. And I also mentioned this on one of my earlier comments on a different subject. The league has to be fixed, rigged, planned or something else of that terminology. On every play there are almost two ref’s that touch the football. The first being the side judge who picks up the ball after the tackle has been made and he then tosses it to the umpire to spot the ball. None of these guys picked up the ball and said “wait a minute this ball doesn’t feel right”? Come on now, the league condones this type of officiating every week can’t you all see? That’s why Dez Bryant didn’t make that catch in GB a couple weeks ago, that’s why the Cowboys didn’t commit pass interference or holding the week before that. The NFL is suckered into these REF’s and don’t hold them accountable because they don’t care. It was hilarious when a lot of you same bloggers on here were complaining about the replacement ref’s when I thought they were doing an awesome job. Yeah they might have missed the GB/Seattle catch/INT but that was only one call out of thousands they made that year that raised any flags. This year was horrible when it comes to the refs, the postseason has been even worse. I have been skeptical of the league and it being somewhat fixed/planned but this year more than ever has it shown.

  168. If the league is so angry than either paly another game in Indy or suspend Bill-_I-Cheat-Again and Brady in the Super Bowl. Show you disappointment not in words but actions.

  169. If players like Rice, Gordon and AP are going to be suspended for an entire year for things that happen off the field should a harsher penalty be levied against Tom and Bill for doing something that ACTUALLY affects the game?

    this is absurd to me – if Goodell or the league office dont punish them with an insane suspension AND loss of picks i dont really understand anything the league does any longer.

  170. Goodell is a chump. Plain and simple. He’s mishandled so many issues during his tenure that the general public has lost all respect for any of his future decisions, right or wrong.

  171. Not that I thinks the Colts were going to beat the Pats anyway (which makes me wonder why someone in the Pats organization felt the need to cheat) but if the NFL wants to maintain any semblance of integrity, sooner rather than later, it is going to have to come down real hard on a team, ala the Black Sox scandal.

    You don’t think owners and coaches would happily pay a few million in fines fit a SB title. They’ll make that back in enhanced revenue in a year.

    And don’t you think 31 other billionaires are going to be real pissed that one of them is getting ahead at their expense?

    At this point I think Roger has to at least suspend Bill and the GGM for the Superbowl. The Pats have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar to often for this to be a “mistake”. At the very least it is an organizational culture issue.

  172. It’s amazing how Spygate has been warped over the years. Goodell didn’t destroy the evidence to protect the Patriots, he did to remove any advantage they supposedly had from the tapes, as well as physical notes they’d taken. That they’ve since had the highest winning percentage in the league shows you how much advantage those tapes really had.

    It’s also worth remembering that it wasn’t stealing signals that was the problem, it was using a camera to do it instead of some other device:

    “The issue is not stealing signals. That is allowed, “and it is done quite widely,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said recently. The issue, rather, is the method of acquiring the signals. “I’m not sure that there is a coach in the league that doesn’t expect that their signals are being intercepted by opposing teams,” Goodell said Feb. 1, two days before the Super Bowl.” — NY Times, 2/17/2008

  173. Not at pats FAN at all and who cares about all this they would have won regardless too much psi in the ball or not would not have made a diff who won this is getting blown out of proportion mostly cause majority of people hate the pats and always need to find a way to bring down the most successful and big dog

  174. From the league’s standpoint, this is not simple. But from a game’s standpoint, it is. If the Pats tampered with the game balls in order to gain an artificial competitive advantage in a game, and were found to have tampered with the game balls; then the game in which the tampering occurred should be forfeited. I don’t care if the Pats ran the ball straight ahead every play, and scored on every drive, and beat the Colts 107-0. If the Colts showed up (which is debatable) and respected the rules of the game, then the Colts should be awarded the win. At this point I’d rather see the Pats v the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, just like everyone else outside of Indianapolis. But the Game is more important than one game.

  175. The NFL the league is to blame here… the system is flawed!!!

    Since every fan of every team the Pats crushed over the last 14 years thinks they lost those games because the Pats cheated is crap… it is is an insult to the players who busted their butts to make plays and win those games.

    The Ravens flat out blew two 14 pt leads … and now they are saying they lost because the Pats cheated??? Really??? it wasn’t because their secondary couldn’t cover??? and they just flat out choked?

    Every team in this league cheats on some level and it has been going on since the game was invented and at every level (especially in the college ranks, ESPN 30 for 30 story about the Southwestern conference) hell, look at Pete Carroll and what he did at USC? Where’s the outrage now that he is in the super bowl.

    All you trolls can go tuck it!!!

    Play the Super Bowl and let the NFL sort it out after.

  176. A deflated football also has disvantages too much psi not enough psi they both have there ups and downs as long as its shaped like a football its good with me stop crying haters

  177. This is entirely an integrity issue. We can debate all day whether or not it affected the game, but the issue is they went into the game knowing what their intentions were. Rules are in place for a reason, bending those rules intentionally to gain an unfair advantage is considered cheating regardless of the outcome.

    Sean Payton received the harshest punishment ever in the NFL for in game misconduct and had to take ownership of his DC actions. Belichick has been involved in far to many of these “did he cheat or not” situations from former players who say “he cheated the injury reports”, former coaches who question his integrity, and current coaches who are constantly questioning his integrity for situations in games for the last 15 years. Where there is smoke there is usually fire.

    “Spygate” was his first major offense, it should have been his last. We are all pretty sure somehow someway Kraft picked up Belichick’s 500k fine {probably through a contract to keep it legal}. Obviously, this classless coach who has no respect for the coaches on the other side of the ball has not learned his lesson. For Multiple offenses, his punishment should be equal if not greater than what they handed out to Sean Payton a few years ago.

  178. The question here is whether Goodell saw the second video of the Patriots deflating balls or whether, in fact, he even asked to see it. This will have a huge bearing on the upcoming $15 fine and the 45 minute suspension that is sure to be enforced.

  179. Sorry haters!!

    Volume being constant, (along with n and R) the change in pressure is proportional to the change in temp, so P2=P1(T2/T1). A 12.5 psi ball at 70F would be roughly 8.9 psi at 50f. Will the league replicate the pre-game process and conditions?

  180. shouldn’t of destroyed the tapes

    the patriots would have won in 07 had they not been ratted out by the mangenius & probably won 3 or 4 more superbowls..the patriots would be the greatest franchise in nfl history surpassing the likes of the packers & steelers, 49ers, etc & the Lombardi trophy would have been renamed to the Belichick award

    jets? unlikely nfl savior again?

  181. Really is the leagues job to make sure there is a level playing field for both teams. Similar to that of a boxing match where a fighters glove might be altered to give him an advantage. Belichick a cheater? Maybe…but the league has to create and enforce fair play.

  182. To even attempt to win at any cost taints any “win.”

    It’s the fruit of the poison tree syndrome. If the NE game is poisoned by their constant attempts to cheat, so are their wins.

    How long has NE been doing this during rainy games, and what else has NE done that isn’t know. Am I the only one who is inclined to think this is but the tip of the iceberg?

  183. gimmeabruschi says: Jan 21, 2015 6:42 AM

    Unfair to fill in the rabbit hole with cement?

    That’s exactly what they did with spygate when guys like Johnson, Parcells and Cowher said it was common practice, yet the league didn’t even question them about it. The Jets admitted taping a game and the league did nothing about it.

    They destroyed the tapes because they showed others doing the same thing. C’mon, the one leaked tape showed Edwards waving to the damned camera. Everybody was in the loop.

    One day Belichick will spill his guts and it will rock this league to its knees.


    This. Exactly. To all the Pats haters who go on and on (and on and on) about “cheating”, realize that the Pats videotaped defensive signals in an attempt to steal them, which is done by every team in the NFL. Videotaping them is what got them in trouble.

    But no, we go on and on about how Belichick has cheated “over and over” (nonsense), and how cheating is institutional for the Pats. Spygate is such a paper tiger. A straw man argument. But it allows people to continue to bring up debunked myths like the taping of the Rams’ walkthrough.

    Any kind of holier-than-thou attitude with this sort of thing is ridiculous. Every team pushes the boundaries to try to find an edge. It’s a $12 billion business – it’s all about money.

  184. Whatever it takes to tarnish this teams name. Anybody remember Mike Tomlin stepping out in front of the Baltimore Ravens kick returner, that was cheating at it’s rawest form there.. The Patriots have been a great team and people get sick to their stomach talking about them. It’s obivious their not even close to being Americas favorite. But really we have to tarnish them in this way? Give credit where credit is due people, people die everyday and Mike Tomlin steps on fields to prevent kick returns for touchdowns. I dont agree about the ball”deflation”, but dont hold on to this and bring it up in every conversation to destroy a legacy. A legacy other teams and other teams fans are obviously jealous of. GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE

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