The NFL found 11 of New England’s 12 allotted game footballs in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday were underinflated by 2 pounds of air per square inch, according to an ESPN report late Tuesday night
“We are not commenting at this time,” Greg Aiello, the NFL’s senior vice president of communications, told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
League rules require balls to be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch.
The Patriots routed the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 Sunday to advance to the Super Bowl. However, the Colts launched the investigation regarding the air pressure in the balls after Indianapolis linebacker D’Qwell Jackson intercepted a pass from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
CBS’s Jason La Canfora tweeted Tuesday night, “As NFL investigates Deflate-gate would be wise to speak to (the Baltimore) Ravens. Some there believe kicking balls used in their playoff game underinflated.”
La Canfora referred to the divisional game won by the Patriots over the Baltimore Ravens a week earlier.
Earlier Tuesday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn’t seem too interested in the topic.
Belichick was asked during his Tuesday morning conference call with the New England media if he’d been contacted by the league about deflating footballs.
“Any questions on that you should talk to them about,” Belichick said simply.
This came a day after he made it clear that he and the organization would cooperate fully with the league’s queries.
“We have been in complete cooperation with the league and will continue to do so,” Patriots spokesman Stacey James reiterated in the ESPN report.
—Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner (2011-13) and defensive tackle Alan Branch (2011-12) each spent time playing for head coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks. As such, the two veteran defenders can expect to get quizzed on their time in Seattle as the Patriots leave no stone unturned in the next two weeks preparing for the big game.
“Certainly what we see and what they’re doing now is important, but I’m sure that they can — they played with those guys, they certainly can give us some insight into some specifics about them,” Belichick said, although he’s not sure how valuable that information might be. “It depends on what they say. I really don’t know.”