Annual "the Patriots cheated" story investigated by NFL officials

It’s becoming nearly as much of an annual football tradition as the Pro Bowl. Whether they are accused of secretly filming the practice sessions of other teams, (Spygate) getting hold of the playbooks of their opponents or just looking sneaky, the New England Patriots seem to be at the center of various accusations of dirty deeds every year lately. 2015 is starting off no differently, with the advent of… Deflategate!

The New England Patriots find themselves amidst another controversy following their 45-7 pummeling of the Indianapolis Colts.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport confirmed via NFL spokesman Michael Signora that the league is looking into the apparent use of overly deflated footballs by the Patriots during their win.

Midway through the game, a ball was taken off the field and out of circulation, Signora told Rapoport.

WTHR’s Bob Kravitz first reported the news Sunday night.

Per the NFL rulebook, game balls must be inflated with between 12.5-13.5 pounds of air. Each team must provide 12 primary balls for testing prior to the game.

If you deflate the balls a bit, they are easier to catch and keep a grip on, particularly in cold, wet conditions such as prevailed last night. And you can easily imagine how this could have affected the outcome of the AFC championship game. Assuming these allegations are true, the Patriots could have had a harder time landing a few of those Tom Brady passes and only beaten the Colts by 31 points instead of 38.

But Jazz, I hear you saying. You’re just going all sour grapes here because you hate the Patriots so much and the Jets sucked like a supercharged Hoover vacuum all season.

I will not tolerate such baseless accusations, even if they are completely true. Look… there’s precious little enough to lift the spirits of New York fans these days. Just leave us to our largely harmless fantasies. And even if the league finds that the Patriots did deflate the balls, the rules do not allow for a change in the outcome of the game or who will be going to the Superbowl. At worst New England will be docked a couple of draft picks next season and another log will be tossed on the perpetually simmering fire around the New England Cheatriots.

Now lets all get back to our preparations for not watching the Pro Bowl.

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