The New England Patriots are embroiled in yet another cheating scandal, and some experts believe this one may actually result in them being disqualified from the Super Bowl.
In Sunday’s blowout win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game, officials noticed some discrepancies in the balls being supplied by the New England sidelines. League officials confiscated the balls, finding that 11 of 12 had been underinflated.
While the league has yet to officially announce the findings of its investigation and there is no concrete evidence that the Patriots purposely deflated the balls, many believe the evidence points to another cheating scandal for New England. In 2007, the NFL disciplined the Patriots for videotaping the New York Jets’ defensive signals during an early season game.
The league slapped a $500,000 fine on Patriots coach Bill Belichick — the maximum allowed by the league. The NFL fined the team another $250,000.
But some are asking for even more drastic measures in response to what is being referred to as #DeflateGate, including calling for the NFL to disqualify the Patriots from playing in the Super Bowl.
USA Today writer Chris Chase said that the appropriate response would be to bar the Patriots from the big game, though he admits it may not be realistic.
“The penalty should be simple: Ban ’em.”
“Of course, it’s not realistic to disqualify New England from the Super Bowl. What’s the NFL going to do, bring back the Colts to replace them? Hold a loser-bracket between Denver and Indianapolis? That’s not feasible. Just because the Pats should be DQ’d doesn’t mean they will or could.”
“But, again, they should. The evidence is all there, assuming Chris Mortensen’s report is correct. Former NFL referee Gerry Austin was on Mike and Mike this morning and said officials check the PSI of all footballs two hours before the game. At halftime, New England’s footballs (each team has different balls during the game) were found to be two-to-three pounds lighter. Someone deflated the balls. There’s no debate here.”
Not everyone is on board, including members of the losing Indianapolis Colts. Dwayne Allen said the air pressure of the ball had no effect on the game itself.
— Dwayne Allen (@Dallen83) January 21, 2015
Colts punter Pat McAfee took the opportunity to make a joke about the scandal.
If New England was to be DQ’d.. We’d be their replacements right??… I should probably lay off these strawberry margs
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) January 21, 2015
So far, the NFL has not announced what penalties the New England Patriots could face if they are indeed found guilty of deflating game balls.