Ravens coach John Harbaugh talks about not noticing any differences in the footballs when his team played the New England Patriots. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said on a conference call Wednesday that the team didn't notice if the New England Patriots deflated their offensive footballs in the teams' AFC divisional playoff game, as the Patriots have been accused of doing a week later against the Indianapolis Colts.
The NFL is investigating how the Patriots' footballs became deflated during a 45-7 rout of the Colts in the AFC championship game Sunday. ESPN reported late Tuesday night that 11 of the 12 game balls provided by the Patriots for that game were found to be under-inflated by two pounds per square inch, though the league is still investigating how that occurred after the referee inspected them before the game.
"It's really not something that's really in the forefront of my mind," Harbaugh said when asked about allegations that his team noticed differences. "They did call some of our people about it, and as far as I know – I didn't know exactly what the conversations were – but our guys answered honestly. We did not notice anything. We never had a ball that they were using on offense, so we don't know anything about that in our game. We didn't have a chance to handle any of their offensive footballs."
CBS Sports reported Tuesday night that the Ravens believed their kicking balls were not traveling as far as normal, something Harbaugh, a longtime special teams coordinator, chalked up to the conditions.
As far as the kicking balls, you know, it was 20 degrees outside," Harbaugh said. "The balls were softer. Our guys told us during the game, and I just chalked that up to the fact that it was cold. Both teams were kicking the same kicking balls, so I didn't really think anything of it during the game. Other than that, it's not something that I've really given any thought to at all."
Kicker Justin Tucker tweeted aboutthe issue Wednesday afternoon: "I haven't talked to a single person [with] NFL, NFL Security, or media about under-inflated footballs or anything of the sort. Just to be clear, anyone saying that I made any comments one way or the other regarding our experiences in [New England] is simply mistaken."
This story has been updated to reflect John Harbaugh's comments on the situation from the team transcript.