Report: Ravens had concerns about kicking balls at New England


With the Patriots under investigation for using deflated balls in a blowout win over the Colts, another vague — and far more confusing — accusation of ball deflation has emerged.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS, “[s]ome of the Baltimore Ravens believe kicking balls used in their playoff game at New England were slightly under-inflated.”  La Canfora also writes that “sources said some on Baltimore’s sideline believed there may have been irregularities with the kicking balls,” and that because “Baltimore’s kicking and punting units were not getting their normal depth and distance, and some believed the balls they were using may have been deflated.”

The story doesn’t contain much more detail than that.  It also fails to address the fact that kicking balls are handled far differently than other balls.

Back in 1999, the NFL took the kicking balls out of the hands of the teams.  Current rules require the referee to open six brand-new footballs before every game, marking them as kicking balls.  Those balls are used separately and apart from the balls used by each team’s offense.

So it’s not as if an underinflated ball possibly used by New England’s offense in the divisional playoff game accidentally landed in the hands of Baltimore’s long snapper or holder, which a reader could mistakenly conclude based on a story that doesn’t mention the separate handling of kicking balls.  If the kicking balls were underinflated, they were underinflated for both teams, because they come from the same stash of balls.

Also, it was considerably colder on January 10 for the Ravens-Patriots game (officially, 20 degrees at kickoff), more likely resulting in a natural pressure reduction under the ideal gas law (PV=nRT for the nerds, like me) than on Sunday, when it officially was 51 degrees at kickoff in Foxboro.

Perhaps most importantly, the Ravens have shown no reluctance to articulate possible violations of the rules, as evidenced by coach John Harbaugh’s complaints about New England’s ineligible-eligible receiver trick from the same game.  If the Ravens believed that the Patriots sabotaged kicking balls and then ensured that lower-pressure balls from the same allotment of kicking balls were used by the Ravens and not by the Patriots, the Ravens surely would have said something at the time.

Saying something now via an anonymous leak to a reporter who failed to provide much (or any) context or to apply much (or any) common sense won’t move the needle at a time when it’s easy to pile on the Patriots.  If La Canfora’s report is accurate (and that could be a very large “if”), the Ravens should make a complaint that the kicking balls were underinflated.

49 responses to “Report: Ravens had concerns about kicking balls at New England

  1. Yesterday I would’ve said that this was just sour grapes and that the Ravens should stop their complaining. Today, after it has been proven that Dn Schula was right, I can’t say that with any confidence.

  2. Let me guess…this came from Suggs and it has something do do with the evil Goodell/Kraft/Belichick/Illuminati alliance that controls all things.

    The kicking balls are controlled by sideline officials…at all times.

  3. Gets out slide rule, twiddles, discovers that during that cold Giants-Packers game at Lambeau a 12.5 lb. psi ball would deflate to 10.9 lb. and Belichick wasn’t even there.

  4. Great just what we need is another reason for the Legion of Whine to geared up for more woe is me. Just when you think the babies have their binkies comfortably nestled in their mouths and are pacified this comes up…..oh well tears and soiled diapers on the screens today.

  5. If the K balls were also under inflated doesn’t that actually suggest that it was probably something to do with the weather and the pressure of the temperature changes?

    What was the pressure of the Colts’ 12 balls?

    Because the K balls are handled completely different and completely controlled by the officials. If the Ravens allegations prove to be true, that the K balls were deflated in their game I would say it shows that it probably wasn’t the Patriots, but rather temperature… as it also happens to any basketball or ball I keep in my garage in the winter.

  6. now wait a minute, yesterday the official story was that each team is responsible for the wrong footballs so theoretically the Patriots couldn’t have tampered with the Ravens football because they remain in the possession of the Ravens. Now today, was supposed to believe the Patriots were in control about their footballs and the Ravens football??? Get out your pitchforks folks

  7. Maybe the Pats poured bleach all over the balls or stabbed them. Oh wait that’s what Suggs did to his baby mama and Ray Lewis did to his victims

  8. Just piling on by the Ravens, no story here…unless the officials who had the care of the kicking balls are involved (which could be the case with the AFCC game balls as well). Which would be a GIGANTIC conspiracy and the implosion of ESPN.

  9. Where there’s smoke…. There’s a bunch of haters who will try anything to try and discredit the most successful team of all time. If you can’t beat em whine and complain. Go Pats! Suck it losers

  10. It’s not “piling on” when it’s the Patriots. They don’t get the benefit of the doubt anymore.

  11. matt14gg says: Jan 21, 2015 7:11 AM

    Let me guess…this came from Suggs and it has something do do with the evil Goodell/Kraft/Belichick/Illuminati alliance that controls all things.

    The kicking balls are controlled by sideline officials…at all times.
    Right, and the offensive game balls are supposed to be secured after the head refs check them before the game and somehow the balls were severely deflated. I wouldn’t put anything past the Patriots and they long ago lost any benefit of doubt.

  12. Ha ha ha. Harbaugh embarrassing himself by trying to add fuel to a fire when these balls are handled by the league and when Harbaugh already embarrassed himself by going berzerk over a formation that was LEGAL.

    Now onto some other 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.

  13. Jan 21, 2015 7:25 AM

    “Gets out slide rule, twiddles, discovers that during that cold Giants-Packers game at Lambeau a 12.5 lb. psi ball would deflate to 10.9 lb. and Belichick wasn’t even there.”

    Well you know this is somehow the Patriots fault. Its always the Patriots fault. Even if they weren’t around.

  14. They cheated yet again there is no reason to slam the Ravens in effort to take attention off of the real violation here. The Patriots are cheaters it is as simple as that folks.

  15. hawker8419, most successful franchise all time? Not even close. Packers have the most successful all time title. The Pats are not even the most successful day n the SB era. The Steelers have that title, the Patriots are actually 6th in the league in titles, with being tied most with 8 appearances(Cowboys and Steelers also have 8), behind the Steelers(6), Cowboys and 49ers(5), and Packers and Giants(4). One last note, until Brady took over the Patriots were a losing franchise overall. So they are far from the best franchise ever.

  16. bucrightoff says:
    Jan 21, 2015 7:48 AM
    The Ravens franchise supports murder and women beating. They should be banned from the league.


    That would be a better zinger if the other team in this article didn’t currently have a player on trial for at least three murders. Plus, let’s face it, the entire league supports these people because they can play a game.

    The American public supports murderers and women beaters. Otherwise, the NFL would have died out or had to change its ways a long time ago.

  17. Lies and rumors. Conspiracies everywhere. It’s no rocket science that footballs or golf balls do not perform well when it’s cold outside. We got out-coached by the Patriots a couple of weeks ago and that’s that. Don’t drag us into this one.

  18. Taking everything into consideration, I think a loss of their 1st round in this years draft, a fine of $500,000 and a ban of BB for 1 year is fair.

    On top of that, the league NEEDS to do this before the Super Bowl, preferably this week, to try an retain whatever little credibility it has left with it’s fans.

  19. It is worthy of league investigation, IMO, to determine the exact procedure used in that game. If the officials chose the kicking balls, but then turned them over to the ball attendants paid by the Patriots and one of those ball attendants handed the kicking balls to the refs when needed, then, yes, there was an opportunity for trickery. What was the procedure used in that game? Is the NFL going to look into that this week? If the Patriots did play tricks with balls used in that close game, what should the penalty be? Could you in good faith allow the Patriots to play in the Super Bowl?

  20. The usual Ravens BS no facts just speculation. The kicking balls are delivered to the teams sideline at the start of the game, you think the Patriots deflated them whilst in possession of the Ravens… yeah sure they did!

  21. No wonder their special teams always rank in the top 10, the ball hangs in NE.

    First; balls for punting are not handled by the officials like the K balls.

    Second; if a ball is under inflated it will hang in the air or be more susceptible to being caught in the wind and driven backwards. Simple physics.

    Third; if you’re getting a longer hang time then you have a better opportunity to set up blocks as well as fielding the ball in a better position on the field itself. So instead of catching the ball around the 12, you now get it at the 22, and those hidden yards really count as far as play calling and just execution.

    Lastly; if they didn’t gain an advantage from this THEY WOULDN’T DO IT.

  22. The differences between kicking balls and the regular balls only matter prior to kickoff. Once the game starts the balls are in the hands of the ball boys and unless something has changed in the last few years those ball boys are employed by the home team…who can then easily deflate the balls, determine which balls go in for which team, which balls never see the field, and give to players to test to make sure they are comfortable with the balls. Solution: NFL needs to employee the ball “boys” just like the officials.

  23. Lastly; if they didn’t gain an advantage from this THEY WOULDN’T DO IT.

    I guess that’s like lying to the commish about a video or where you hid a white suit…..right?

    Quit whining you lost because you blew a two touchdown lead TWICE……balls or no balls….deal with it. Readjust your binkies and go to sleep you big babies.

  24. Normally I would believe in innocence till proven guilty, but in the patriots case, they have done SOOOO much cheating with belicheat that they deserve quilt until proven innocent. That is hilarious that to think they would ever be proven innocent. They cheated to win Ravens game and should not be going to Superbowl- patriots fans should be embarrassed to admit that they are- makes them look stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. So this conspiracy theory now extends to the Officials – as THEY control the kicking balls and not the teams

    And why do they control the kicking balls?

    Because in the past, teams were over inflating the balls to gain more yards – demonstrating how widespread this is.

    And why didn’t the NFL control the playing balls at the same time?

    Because the officials are always touching and inspecting the balls and don’t feel it makes a difference in the game

  26. Not sure I can believe that the Ravens said any of this. It clearly states that some of the sources “say”, anybodys guess, the Ravens made this statement. Im from Baltimore but live in New England. Even Patriots fans that I know are saying how ashamed they feel because it is so black and white. My bf however is another story. He is one of those, “every team does this” lol. I say nothing because the anger will come out. On both sides. lol Have a good day folks.

  27. bencoates57

    Harbaugh embarrassing himself? You obviously don’t READ do you? “John Harbaugh on deflated kicking balls in New England: I chalk it up to being cold”. I don’t see ANYWHERE in this ANY particular Ravens player nor obviously Coach Harbaugh as a just quoted (who has class unlike Belicheck!) making these accusations. Also, to those of you saying the Ravens suck…better check something called facts. Patriots fans just continuing to show your ignorance!

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