League confirms ball-deflation investigation
So much for the Colts-Patriots game being not nearly as intriguing as the Packers-Seahawks game.
Via Bob Glauber of Newsday, the NFL has confirmed the existence of an investigation regarding whether the balls were properly inflated in the AFC title game.
Rule 2 of the official NFL rule book requires that each team make “12 primary balls available for testing” two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff. The home team must make 12 backup balls available, and the visiting team may bring another 12 backup balls for games to be played outdoors.
Several years ago, in an effort to prevent any doctoring of balls used in the kicking game, the NFL adopted a rule that six new, specially-marked kicking balls would be used for each game, with the boxes opened by the officials two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff.
All balls remain under the supervision of the referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant shortly before kickoiff.
The existence of the investigation, as initially reported by Bob Kravitz of WTHR-TV in Indianapolis, suggests that the referee failed to properly check the specifications of the balls, the referee didn’t properly secure the balls before they were given to the ball attendant, or something happened to the balls after they were given to the ball attendant.