NFL investigates New England Patriots ‘Deflategate'
The NFL is investigating whether the New England Patriots deflated footballs during the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Standard NFL footballs measure 11 to 11.25 inches long and have a circumference of 21 to 21.25 inches. The balls must be inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds of pressure. However, 11 of 12 footballs used by the Patriots were under-inflated by about two pounds per square inch, the BBC reported.
Wilson, the company that makes footballs for the NFL, said the only way to inflate or deflate a ball quickly is to use an inflation needle, the New York Times reported.
Referees inspect the 12 footballs selected by each team two hours and 15 minutes before the game. The balls are passed to both teams’ ball boys just before the game and then to the players.
Deflated balls are reportedly easier to grip, throw and catch, particularly in wet weather. Deflated balls also don’t travel as far as properly inflated balls when thrown.
The NFL said initial evidence thus far supports the conclusion that under-inflated footballs were used by the Patriots in the first half of the game. The Patriots have denied any wrongdoing.
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