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Patriots under NFL investigation over deflated footballs

The Ws (Who, What, When, Where, and Why)
The NFL is investigating whether the New England Patriots purposefully deflated footballs during last Sunday night’s AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots, who played at home, won 45 to 7.

Reportedly, deflated balls are easier to catch and pass especially in wet weather. But it’s unclear how deflating the balls would benefit one team over the other.

The NFL has clear specifications for the footballs and it trusts its referees to inspect them to make sure they meet the criteria. According to the League’s rulebook, “each team is to make 12 primary balls available for testing by the Referee two hours and 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the game to meet League requirements” and the balls should be under the referee’s supervision “until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to the start of the game.”

The controversy started about halfway through the game when a ball was taken out by a referee. The International Business Times reported that “a member of the Colts’ equipment staff reportedly noticed the ball was deflated, and told head coach Chuck Pagano.” Some media reports say that other footballs were later taken out the game. By Monday, the topic was trending on Twitter under the hashtag #deflategate.

According to ESPN, the NFL’s operations manual states that “If any individual alters the footballs, or if a non-approved ball is used in the game, the person responsible and, if appropriate, the head coach or other club personnel will be subject to discipline, including but not limited to, a fine of $25,000.” Other experts said that it may also cost the Patriots some draft picks.

The Patriot’s Response
In an interview to Dennis & Callahan’s program on Boston’s WEEI Sports Radio, Tom Brady laughed it off.
“I think I heard it all at this point,” Brady told the hosts. it’s ridiculous…I don’t even respond to stuff like this.”
Meanwhile, Patriot’s coach Bill Belichick said that the team will “cooperate fully with whatever the League wants us to; whatever questions they have for us, whatever they want us to do,” he said during a conference call.

The Verdict
BS. Not the story. The story may very well be true considering the Patriot’s and Belichick’s history of scandals (Spygate, for instance). The BS here is that even if the NFL investigation finds any wrongdoing on the Patriots’ part, the potential penalty for such a violation is $25K and a draft pick. Well, to be fair a 45 to 7 loss is really a loss. Maybe the Colts created the whole scheme and deflated the balls themselves to turn the attention away from their deflated egos.

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