Deflategate may now have more conspiracy theories than the Kennedy assassination. Here’s the latest: It was the Colts, not the Patriots, who deflated a football in the AFC Championship Game.
Several reports have indicated that the Colts first noticed that the Patriots were deflating footballs when linebacker D’Qwell Jackson intercepted a Tom Brady pass and the ball felt flat. The new conspiracy theory is that after Jackson’s interception, the Colts took some air out of that football on their own sideline before handing it over to the officials to have it tested.
It’s not completely clear where this conspiracy theory started, but it was floated today on Boston radio station WEEI, when Adam Schefter of ESPN was a guest. After the host proposed to Schefter that “The Colts deflated the one ball that D’Qwell Jackson intercepted, and all the other balls were just a tick under,” Schefter said that’s a theory he’s heard.
“I do think there are people who believe that,” Schefter said. “I know there are people who believe that. . . . I’ll just say, I’m not even going to specify, there are people who believe that, OK? There are people who believe that. And I think there are people who have heard that theory and who say, ‘That’s impossible.'”
It’s still unclear how many of the Patriots’ 12 offensive footballs were found to be deflated, and by how much. There have been reports that 11 of the 12 balls were significantly under-inflated, and if those reports are correct, then the theory that the Colts deflated a ball wouldn’t explain why 10 other balls were under-inflated. But there have also been reports that only one ball was significantly under-inflated, and that other balls were either within the correct inflation range or only barely under-inflated. If those reports are true — and if the one ball that was significantly under-inflated was the one that the Colts handed over to the officials after Jackson’s interception — that could lend some credence to the new conspiracy theory. And, of course, if that’s found to be true, then the Colts would find themselves in hot water with the league.
Could it turn out that it’s the Colts, not the Patriots, who get busted for Deflategate? It sounds crazy. But at this point we can’t rule anything out.