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Via Twitter, Brandon Browner weighs in on Deflategate

01.21.15 at 3:14 pm ET
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Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner didn’t speak with the media on Monday, but he offered some thoughts about the deflated football flap on social media on Wednesday afternoon.

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Brandon Browner, Deflategate,

Ravens reportedly believe kicking balls were deflated in playoff loss to Patriots

01.21.15 at 1:45 pm ET
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On the heels of the Deflategate controversy comes a report from Fox Sports’ Jason La Canfora that some members of the Ravens felt that the footballs they used to kick and punt were not properly inflated during their playoff loss to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 10.

The report credits league sources as questioning the balls after the Ravens’ kicks and punts were not traveling as far as usual.

The balls used for the teams’ offenses are treated differently than the ones used for the kicking game.

An NFL spokesman told Fox that he had no knowledge of the Ravens filing a complaint.

Read More: Deflategate,

Stephen A. Smith on MFB: ‘Patriots’ legacy may very well be on the line’

01.21.15 at 1:07 pm ET
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Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith joined Middays with MFB on Wednesday to discuss Deflategate and how it will affect the legacy of Bill Belichick and the Patriots. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Smith initially defended the Patriots, but the news that all but one of the 12 offensive footballs were underinflated had him questioning the situation.

“I’m not going to lie to you: It devastated me,” Smith said. “Anybody that knows me, first of all I’m a native New Yorker. I am no Patriots fan, per se, in terms of being a team from Boston. I’m a New Yorker. I root for the Yankees. I root for the Giants. People like that. I love the Steelers, too. But not the Patriots. I just have such profound respect for the organization, for the leadership of Robert Kraft, the greatness of Bill Belichick, and of course the greatness of Tom Brady, and their consistent success over the years.

“I thought that it’s utterly ridiculous to look at Spygate and what transpired years ago and then try and say, ‘Well, you know what, it delegitimizes everything that they’ve accomplished over the years.’ I thought that was utterly ridiculous. But you make those arguments, you think about the haterism, for lack of a better phrase, that’s thrown out there toward them, and then you wake up this morning and see that 11 of 12 balls were deflated to some degree. Clearly there appears to be intent to that, which brings into question fair play and the Patriots’ willingness to engage in it, which all of a sudden brings all that old stuff back to the forefront, combined with questioning who they are and what they stand for now. And I find that to be incredibly unfortunate.

“And I’m of the mindset that I still don’t want to believe, nor do I really believe, that Bill Belichick authorized this, condoned this, oversaw this directly. But if he had anything to do with this and that can be proven, to me, his egregious error in that regard would be tantamount to what Sean Payton did with the NFL that got him suspended for the entire year [for his role in the Saints’ Bountygate scandal].”

Smith said Belichick should miss a full season just as Payton did if he is found to have played a role in Deflategate.

Said Smith: “If we are to discover that Bill Belichick authorized this and was directly involved — which I don’t believe, but partially because I don’t want to believe he would do something like that. If we are to find that he was directly involved, and that when he spoke to you guys in Boston after whipping Indianapolis’ butt Sunday and flat-out told y’all he didn’t know anything about it until he heard about it the next morning … If he did that and lied about it, to me that’s just as egregious as what the NFL proclaimed Sean Payton did, and he should be suspended for the entire 2015 season.”

Smith said he does not agree with those who use Spygate to devalue the Patriots’ previous success, but he noted that a loss to the Seahawks will look bad.

“I believe that the Patriots’ legacy may very well be on the line. Because if you lose this Super Bowl, that makes you 0-3 in Super Bowls since Spygate. … With all the heat being brought down upon them in light of those allegations, assertions or findings, you’ve got a Super Bowl to go up against the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, with a defense known as the Legion of Boom, who is elite. And if they ramrod you the way that they ramrodded Denver last year, this is definitely a black mark on the Patriots organization. Because the people are going to surmise that when the field of fair play was established, they didn’t know what to do with themselves.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Deflategate, Stephen A. Smith, Super Bowl XXXIX

Report: Officials properly checked footballs before game

01.21.15 at 12:33 pm ET
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According to a report from Pro Football Talk, the NFL reviewed its game officials’ actions Sunday and determined that they properly checked the footballs before the AFC championship game.

It was later determined that 11 of the 12 footballs the Patriots were using on offense were substantially deflated from the minimum accepted pressure of 12.5 pounds per square inch (PSI).

The Pro Football Talk report, which credits a league source, also indicated that the two-pound difference in PSI would not be obvious to an official handling the ball unless specifically looking for it.

The Colts reportedly alerted the officials to the issue during the first half, and the balls were tested at halftime and reinflated to the proper amount. It did not have a detrimental affect on Tom Brady and Co., as the Patriots outscored Indianapolis 28-0 in the second half en route to a 45-7 victory.

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Deflate Gate, Super Bowl XLIX,

Indy Star’s Gregg Doyel on D&C: ‘You can’t send this [Patriots] team to the Super Bowl’

01.21.15 at 9:12 am ET
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Gregg Doyel

Gregg Doyel

Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday morning to talk about the latest Deflategate news and call for harsh punishment for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Following an ESPN report that 11 of the 12 footballs used by the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC championship game were underinflated, Doyel said the Patriots should not represent their conference in the Super Bowl.

“I’m not sure how, in a fair world … a team plays, there’s four teams left, one of those four teams tries to rig the game — they’re rigging the game — and got caught,” Doyel said. “Yes, it’s a blowout. Yes, the Patriots are a lot better than the Colts. No, the footballs weren’t going to decide it. I think we call can think that — we don’t know that — we can all think that, and I do think that.

“But if you get caught rigging the game, during the game, and you get caught literally that day rigging the game, and you’ve got two weeks before the next one, I don’t know how with a straight face [Roger] Goodell says, ‘Yeah, we caught you rigging the game, but that’s OK, go ahead, guys, and play a Super Bowl.’ I’m not sure what world that makes any sense to me.”

Added Doyel: “I’m sure I’m in the minority saying you can’t send this team to the Super Bowl. But I really believe that. You can’t do it. They got caught rigging the game. You can’t send them.”

Doyel predicted that Belichick would get suspended for some games next season, but he said he’d like see the coach banned from the game for good.

“[Goodell] might suspend Bill Belichick for the rest of his life,” Doyel said. “You know what, I hope he does. I hope he suspends him for the rest of his life starting tomorrow.”

Asked who should take the Patriots’ place in Arizona, Doyel suggest the Colts or the Packers.

“If I’m Roger Goodell, the Colts are on a plane going to Glendale,” Doyel said. “Not because the Colts deserve it. They don’t. They don’t. It’s not about the Colts at all. It’s because the Patriots don’t deserve it. They don’t deserve it. But there has to be a Super Bowl. The Seahawks, the world, the NFL fans, we all deserve a Super Bowl We need a Super Bowl. We get one.

“The team that tried to rig the AFC title game and got caught doing it can’t be in that Super Bowl. Now, you need two teams to be in that Super Bowl. Pick one. OK, not the Colts, fine. Pick the last team to beat the Patriots — the Packers, as a matter of fact. The other teams in the NFC, pick them. But, do not send the team that rigged the AFC title game. Do not pat them on the head and say, ‘No harm, no foul, guys. We’re going to dock you some money and a draft pick, but you go try to win that Super Bowl.’ Don’t do that.”

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Bill Belichick, Deflategate, Gregg Doyel

What sort of punishment could Patriots face if found guilty in Deflategate?

01.21.15 at 1:14 am ET
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Tom Brady fires a pass Sunday against the Colts in the AFC championship. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady prepares to pass Sunday against the Colts in the AFC championship game. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The landscape around what some are calling “Deflategate” changed late Tuesday night, as a report from ESPN indicated that 11 of the Patriots’ 12 footballs that were weighed by officials before Sunday’s AFC title game came in underinflated by two pounds of air (PSI) when they were weighed after the game.

The idea of deflated footballs having an impact in Sunday’s game is laughable on the surface — what would that do to one of the most lopsided conference championship games in recent memory? But now, if the officials were found to have gone through the proper procedures when it came to weighing the footballs and weather was not found to be an issue, the story now seems to be a far more serious matter, one that could result in fines or even the loss of a draft pick if the Patriots are found guilty of tampering or altering the football.

In the NFL rulebook, there is very specific wording that prohibits changing the game balls in any way after the officials have checked them two hours and 15 minutes before game time. According to the NFL game operations manual, “If any individual alters the footballs, or if a non-approved ball is used in the game, the person responsible and, if appropriate, the head coach or other club personnel will be subject to discipline, including but not limited to, a fine of $25,000.”

While it’s debatable just how much of an impact it ended up having — New England won, 45-7 — the idea that someone had access to the footballs and could tamper with them between the officials’ check and the game is troubling. According to a report from the Boston Globe, game officials discovered at halftime that game balls were under-inflated after testing each ball twice with different gauges.

In terms of a potential punishment, there doesn’t appear to be much precedent, at least on an NFL level. In a November 30 game this season between the Vikings and Panthers in freezing Minnesota, cameras caught sideline attendants using heaters to warm up footballs, which is against league rules. NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino told the NFL Network the next day that officials warned both the teams not to heat up footballs during the game, and added that a similar reminder would be sent out across the league that week not to warm footballs during the game.

“You can’t do anything with the footballs in terms of any artificial, whether you’re heating them up, whether it’s a regular game ball or kicking ball. You can’t do anything to the football,” Blandino said at the time. “So that was noticed during the game, both teams were made aware of it during the game, and we will certainly remind the clubs as we get into more cold weather games that you can’t do anything with the football in terms of heating them up with those sideline heaters.”
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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Bill Belichick, Deflategate, Lane Kiffin

Report: NFL found 11 balls used by Patriots in Sunday’s AFC championship game to be underinflated

01.20.15 at 11:06 pm ET
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Deflategate continues.

According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the NFL found 11 of the 12 Patriots’ footballs used in Sunday’€™s AFC title game were underinflated by two pounds of air each, known as PSI. He says the investigation is continuing as to how the 11 footballs became underinflated. The NFL requires balls to be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces.

He added the NFL didn’t have any comment. The Patriots have said they will cooperate with the NFL and their investigation.

Bill Belichick was asked again on Tuesday of the allegations, and he said to defer all questions on that matter to the league.

There is no word on if, or what type of penalty the Patriots would be facing if true.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Super Bowl XLIX,

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