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The Indianapolis Colts had raised concerns as far back as this past November about under-inflated balls supplied by the New England Patriots following its regular-season game against the recently-crowned AFC champions, ESPN reported.
Those sources also said that the Colts raised concerns to the league, which was aware of the issue going into this Sunday's AFC Championship game. Earlier today, the NFL said it is "continuing" to look into allegations the Patriots had 11 of their 12 allotted game footballs under-inflated this past Sunday. According to ESPN, the footballs used by the Patriots were under-inflated by two pounds per square inch. A deflated ball could be easier for the quarterback to grip in bad weather, such as in Sunday's rain at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts -- a theory Pats players did not agree with this week.
League sources also confirmed to ESPN that the footballs were "properly inspected and approved" by the referee some two hours before kickoff. Each team provides 12 new Wilson Official NFL footballs for referees to check before games, with additional balls available for backup purposes or at the away teama€™s discretion. Former NFL official Gerry Austin told ESPN Radio what interactions the referees have with game balls both before and throughout the game, including when each team brings 12 balls to the referees' room ahead of kickoff.
Austin added that he had never encountered an issue where someone from a team had been letting air out of the balls after they had been handed over. He also said that while referees do handle the balls later in the game between plays, that is such a small amount of time that it would be nearly impossible to notice. Though he does not have any specific knowledge about what happened in this weekend's game, Austin said that if the balls were deflated when half time rolled around, they would be brought back up to standard.

The minimum disciplinary action for tampering of a football is a fine of $25,000, according to the NFLa€™s game operations manual. The controversy around a€?deflate-gatea€? has taken attention away from the Super Bowl, which will feature the Patriots playing against the Seattle Seahawks. 16 game, Colts safety Mike Adams twice intercepted quarterback Tom Brady and gave the balls to the Colts' equipment manager to save.
Footballs, which are weighed before the game, must be inflated to no less than 12.5 pounds per square inch. Both times there were concerns about the balls feeling under-inflated, sources earlier this season had told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. During the course of the 16 game NFL season almost all teams suffer through peeks and valleys. This year has been no different.  Almost week-to-week we christened a new team as THE team you are going to have to beat to go all the way. Let's take a quick look at who those "elite" teams have been so far: Week 1 - It was an unchallenged fact that the Seattle Seahawks were going to be a Super Bowl winner for the second consecutive year. Marshawn Lynch ran for 110 yards and 2 TDs.  And WOW look what a healthy Percy Harvin brings to the table!
Suddenly everyone was talking about the Bengals, who had a "great" defense (giving up a miserly 11 points a game) and enough weapons to scare anyone. Add in the fact they were about to play a rapidly collapsing New England Patriot team that fell to 2-2 after being destroyed on MNF 41-14 by the Kansas City Chiefs Week 5 - Need I remind anyone what happened to Cincinnati on that Sunday night in Foxborough?  Crushed by New England (3-2) 43-17 the Bengals flaws were all exposed by Tom Brady & company.  So, now who is the new "Elite" team to put the crown on?

They are back on top, but being pushed by the Chargers who have Phillip Rivers playing his best football and are a strong 4-1 Week 6 - Well, there go the Seahawks again. The world is right for the 1st time in many years.  The Eagles (5-1) beat the Giants (3-3) to get back in the hunt, and don't forget those (5-1) Chargers and  Denver Broncos (4-1) Week 7 - The Cowboys (6-1) continue to roll with a suddenly reborn defense and Tony Romo as they score ten 4th quarter points in defeating the Giants 31-21 in Dallas.
Looks like they are certainly among the elite, along with record breaking Payton Manning's Broncos (5-1), who crush SF 42-17 on Sunday Night Football.
The Eagles (5-1) are idle, so they look like they'll fight Dallas in the suddenly tough NFC East NFL - NO ONE IS INVINCIBLE At this stage no team in either the NFC or AFC has been invincible. In most cases, it's not how you start, but how you finish (There's an old cliche for ya) The leaders at this point have to be the Cowboys, Broncos and Eagles, with the Cardinals as pretenders.
That leaves a host of teams in the AFC at 5-2 (Patriots, Ravens, Colts, Chargers) who are just on the outside looking in.  The NFC is in the same boat (Detroit & Green Bay are both 5-2).
PATRIOTS - WE'LL KNOW FOR SURE IN THE NEXT MONTH Provided the Patriots at least split the next two game, we'll have a clear picture right after the break, when they travel to Indy to take on the 5-2 Colts, come home against the 5-2 Detroit Lions then go right back on the road against the 5-2 Chargers and 5-2 Packers. They've added some players to glue together the defense (OLB Ayers from Tennessee and possibly DE Branch who was let go by the Bills) but who knows what the future holds. A Heartfelt Goodbye to a Dear Friend, Kate Moss Subscribe to this RSS feed CLNS Radio Read All Sports News Boston Celtics News Boston Red Sox News New England Patriots News Boston Bruins News Other Sports News Home Podcasts Columnists About Us Mail Bag Advertise with Us Links Contact UsCopyright © 2016 CLNS Radio.

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