No sooner did the New England Patriots clinch a trip to the Super Bowl than fresh allegations of cheating emerged against the franchise late Sunday, this time involving deflated footballs.
A reporter from Indianapolis, whose Colts were annihilated by Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and company, tweeted after the 45-7 loss that the NFL had seized at least one game ball from the AFC championship game to examine whether pigskins were intentionally deflated to make them easier to throw and catch.
“The NFL is investigating the possibility,” Kravitz tweeted, adding that, “at one point the officials took a ball out of play and weighed it.”
If the Patriots did cheat, it would not be the first time. The team was penalized a first-round draft pick, fined $250,000 and head coach Belichick was personally fined $500,000 after an investigation by the NFL determined the team had illegally videotaped their opponents hand signals during a game.
And unsubstantiated accusations of cheating have long dogged the team, stemming from their Super Bowl wins in 2002, 2004 and 2005. The St. Louis Rams claimed the team illegally videotaped their walk-through practices prior to the 2002 game, and players on the other defeated opponents have said the Patriots seemed to have inside knowledge of their playbooks.