The DeflateGate controversy surrounding the New England Patriots appears to be shifting yet again, with a new source claiming that the league found only one ball significantly deflated in the AFC Championship Game, not 11 as first reported.
The latest report, though not officially released by the league, indicates that the Patriots may not be as responsible in the matter as previous reports had indicated. After reports leaked that the league found 11 of 12 balls significantly deflated, many took the news as evidence that the Patriots were purposely cheating.
So @RapSheet now reporting only ONE Patriots football from AFC title game was 2PSI below legal limit. 10 other footballs just “a tick” below
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) February 1, 2015
The new report underscores the difficulty of the DeflateGate investigation. Though the NFL has kept officially quiet on the investigation and announced that a report would be released only after the Super Bowl, there has been a continual stream of often conflicting leaks.
To many, the accusations against the New England Patriots is proof that the team has engaged in a systematic effort to cheat. In 2007, the team was penalized for videotaping defensive signals on the New York Jets’ sidelines, with the team being fined $250,000 and coach Bill Belichick slapped with his own $500,000 fine.
The Patriots have officially denied fault in the DeflateGate scandal, with both Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady saying they had nothing to do with deflating balls and no knowledge of it happening.
But many have doubted these denials, including NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana, who said that it must have been Brady behind the decision.
“If I ever want a ball a certain way, I don’t do it myself. So, somebody did it for him,” Montana said. “But I don’t know why everybody is making a big deal out of trying to figure out who did it. It’s pretty simple. If it was done, it was done for a reason. There is only one guy that does it. Nobody else cares what the ball feels like.”
If the latest reports on DeflateGate are true, it could mean that the league lacks the evidence to punish Belichick or the New England Patriots