Ravens officials have denied on several occasions that they tipped off the Indianapolis Colts about issues that they had with the air pressure of game balls during their AFC divisional playoff matchup with the New England Patriots, but documents released Tuesday suggest otherwise.
An email from Colts equipment manager Sean Sullivan to the team’s general manager, Ryan Grigson, alleges that Ravens longtime special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg called Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano, a former Ravens assistant, before the Colts-Patriots conference championship game to warn him about the condition of the designated “kicking” footballs at Gillette Stadium.
Baltimore was given new footballs “instead of the ones that were prepared correctly,” Sullivan wrote to Grigson in the email.
The email was included in the NFL Players Association’s release of sworn testimony and hundreds of pages of documents related to the Deflategate controversy that resulted in the Patriots being slapped with a fine and loss of draft picks, and star quarterback Tom Brady facing a four-game ban to start the regular season.
It has been widely speculated that the Ravens, who have been mostly mum about Deflategate, played a role in warning the Colts about the conditions of the game balls used at Gillette Stadium. However, they have denied any involvement.
“It’s ridiculous. It never happened. I never made any call. Nobody in our organization made any call,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told NBC before the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks in February. "Just to make sure I had all the facts, I called Chuck Pagano this week and asked him, ‘Did anybody else in our organization tip you off about any deflated footballs?’ And he said, ‘No way.'"
Harbaugh has also said that the Ravens chalked up the softer footballs to the frigid weather conditions during the divisional playoff game, which the Patriots won, 35-31, to advance to play the Colts.