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No evidence that Patriots broke k-ball rules

So many stories surfaced during the Deflategate media feeding frenzy that it’s hard to remember them all. One that has been largely overlooked was a report from ESPN that a Patriots locker room attendant tried to put an unapproved ball, not an NFL-mandated kicking ball, into the game on a special teams play.

The Deflategate report out today finds no evidence to corroborate that.

“Separate and apart from the issues that arose during the AFC Championship Game with respect to the inflation of Patriots game balls, questions were raised during the game with respect to the authenticity of one of the kicking balls (or “k-balls” as they are commonly known) used by the Patriots. We conclude that there is no evidence to support any finding of wrongdoing with respect to this kicking ball,” the report says.

There was some confusion about the k-balls during the AFC Championship Game. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski complained during the game that the ball he kicked off at the start of the game was in better shape than k-balls he kicked at subsequent times during the game, and he questioned why the first k-ball (which had been removed from the game to be sold at a charitable auction) couldn’t be retrieved. But the Deflategate investigation found that there was no wrongdoing within that confusion.