The NFL has found that 11 of 12 of the New England Patriots game balls were inflated significantly less than the NFL requires, league sources involved and familiar with the investigation of Sunday’s AFC championship game told ESPN.
The investigation found the footballs were underinflated by 2 pounds per square inch of air less than what’s required by NFL regulations during the Pats’ 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, according to sources.
“We are not commenting at this time,” said Greg Aiello, the NFL’s senior vice president of communications.
Troy Vincent, the league’s senior executive vice president of football operations, told ProFootballTalk.com earlier Tuesday that the NFL expected to wrap up its investigation in “two or three days.”
Yet to be determined is what, if any, penalties may be imposed upon Patriots. One source described the league as “disappointed … angry … distraught,” after spending considerable time on the findings earlier Tuesday.
Part of the investigation that still needs further vetting is how the 11 footballs became underinflated.
The game balls provided to each team for preparation were required to be inspected and approved by referee Walt Anderson two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff before they were returned to a ball attendant before the game.
No alteration of footballs is allowed once they are approved, under league rules and regulations.
The balls are required be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces.
“We have been in complete cooperation with the league and will continue to do so,” Patriots spokesman Stacey James said.