Official game balls before (right) and after (left) for the NFL football Super Bowl XLIX sit in a bin before being laced and inflated at the Wilson Sporting Goods Co. in Ada, Ohio, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
The New England Patriots have caused an uproar in the sports world for allegedly deflating balls below league requirements during the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The NFL found that 11 of the Patriots’ 12 game balls were inflated significantly below the NFL’s requirements, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
“I was shocked to learn of the footballs on Monday. I had no knowledge until Monday morning,” Patriots Bill Belichick said during a news conference on Jan. 22. “I’d say I’ve learned a lot more about this process in the last three days than I knew, or had talked about it, in the last 40 years that I’ve coached in this league.”
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws the ball. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
Footballs used for game days are required to be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces. Once the referee approves the balls, the balls are placed into bags and put on the sideline for each team. When a referee asks for a fresh ball, a ball boy will bring out the new ball.
“I would never break the rules,” Tom Brady said in a news conference the same day as Belichick. “I didn’t alter the balls in any way. When I pick those footballs out, at that point, to me, they’re perfect. I don’t want anyone touching the balls after that. I don’t want anyone rubbing them, putting any air in them, taking any air out. To me, those balls are perfect and that’s what I expect when I show up on the field.”
According to ESPN, anyone tampering with the footballs could face up to a $25,000 fine and possible additional discipline as determined by the league.