New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick holds up the Lamar Hunt Trophy after beating the Indianapolis Colts in the 2015 AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium.
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick holds up the Lamar Hunt Trophy after beating the Indianapolis Colts in the 2015 AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium. (Elsa, Getty Images)

According to multiple reports, the NFL found that the New England Patriots used underinflated footballs during their 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game.

Here is a collection of stories about the situation.


Forfeiture of the AFC Championship Game should be the penalty, however, and not because "the Colts would have won otherwise." No, they would not. The Colts could have pulled the ol' switcheroo on the Patriots, using deflated balls while the Patriots were using the hard and slick ones, and the Patriots still would have won. How big? Something close to 45-7. This isn't about the Patriots' alleged advantage. This is about their alleged intentions.

First, why didn't the officials notice that the balls were underinflated? The issue reportedly arose after Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson intercepted a pass from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the Indianapolis equipment manager noticed that something was amiss. Multiple officials touch the balls the Patriots are using on every play. The umpire was repeatedly wiping the ball off with a towel before putting it down for the center. Simplest explanation: The officials either didn't notice that the balls were underinflated or the balls felt no different than they do in other games.

* NPR's Geoff Brumfiel talks to scientists, who say there is some advantage to underinflating the ball.

"Deflating the ball does give a team an advantage," says materials scientist Ainissa Ramirez, the author of Newton's Football, a book about the science of football. Ramirez says the slightly softer football improves the grip.

Because at this point, until we know what happened Sunday, it's the only thing you can do. No one's else is ever going to like or respect the Patriots so it's time to make the most of the hatred. Is it better to be loved or feared? That's a good question. It's great to be both, but it's very difficult. But if I had my choice, I would rather be feared. Fear lasts longer.

* In this video on Deadspin.com, CBS announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms talk about Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' preference on the amount of air in the footballs that he uses.

The defense enters the above video into evidence. Here we have CBS broadcasters Jim Nantz and Phil Simms casually recounting their pregame conversation with Aaron Rodgers before his Week 13 matchup with the Patriots. According to Simms, Rodgers admitted to them that he likes to over-inflate game balls. "I like to push the limits of how much air we can put in the football, even go over what they allow you to do," is what Simms recalls Rodgers telling them.

* Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times shares a story about former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Brad Johnson paying to have footballs scuffed before Super Bowl XXXVII.

At the Super Bowl, the NFL had 100 footballs. They were new, slick and supposedly under the league's watchful eye. But not leaving anything to chance, Johnson made sure the balls were scuffed and ready well before the Dixie Chicks sang the national anthem.

"I paid some guys off to get the balls right," Johnson now admits. "I went and got all 100 footballs, and they took care of all of them."

How much did it cost Johnson? "Seventy-five hundred (dollars)," he said. "They took care of them."


* Bob Glauber of Newsday writes about former Colts president Bill Polian's simple solution.

"Just treat the footballs exactly like the K-balls," he said, referring to the balls used for kicking. "Keep them in the officials' custody until right before the game, and once they've been inspected, give them to a neutral person to handle them during the game on the sidelines."

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