Did the Patriots Deflate Balls Against the Colts?

Tom Brady and Jim Nantz

Tom Brady holds up the Lamar Hunt Trophy while being interviewed by CBS’ Jim Nantz. (Getty)

The Patriots beat the Colts by the largest margin in Patriots history on Sunday. On Monday, Fox reported that the NFL is investigating the fact that the Patriots used deflated the game balls, making it easier for Tom Brady to pass and his receivers to catch.

Chris Mortensen reported Tuesday that 11 of the Patriots 12 balls were two pounds per square inch below what the league requires. The league is now investigating how they got that way.

Bob Kravitz, a columnist for WTHR.com, an Indianapolis-based TV channel, broke the news shortly after the game.

Each team is responsible for proving the refs with 12 game balls each two hours before the game started. The refs then used those two hours to check the pressure of each one with a pressure gauge, according to the NFL Rule Book. Since the Colts provided 12 of their own balls, it is the Patriots were the only ones using the balls they provided.

The benefits of deflating the footballs — especially in the rain that hit New England during the game — is that it is smaller and easier to grip, both for Brady and his receivers and running backs.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady laughed off the allegations during his weekly appearance on WEEI radio’s Dennis and Callahan show on Monday morning. (Listen to the audio here. The exchange about the allegations starts at the 9-minute mark.)

Asked by co-host Kirk Minihane if he’d heard about the story, Brady said he hadn’t. Asked by Minihane if he got the sense that he had a better grip on the ball than the Colts, Brady laughed and replied “I think I’ve heard it all at this point.”

Co-host Gerry Callahan then joked the hosts were trying to figure out whose job it was to take the air out of the ball and that Callahan was pretty sure it was Patriots owner Bob Kraft’s. Brady’s response: “It’s nobody’s.”

He later added: “That’s the last of my worries. I don’t even respond to stuff like this.”

Regardless of what the investigation finds, it’s hard to believe that deflating the balls would result in a 38-point win. The Patriots could end up losing a draft pick over a trick that they didn’t need.

Of course, people are turning to Twitter to give their two cents on the accusations.

This would not be the first time the Patriots have been caught cheating. In 2007, they were found guilty of videotaping opponents’ hand signals during games. Fox had the breakdown of that punishment. The team lost a first-round pick and had to pay a $250,000. Coach Bill Belichick was also fined $500,000.