The New England Patriots allegedly underinflated their footballs during their punishing victory (45-7) over the Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday. Suspicions were aroused by D’Quell Jackson, Colts linebacker, when he intercepted a pass made by Tom Brady. The ball wound up in the hands of Mike Kensil, NFL director of football operations who brought it to the attention of on-field officials. All twelve of the Patriot’s balls were inspected. Eleven of them were found to be two pounds short of air.
Scientists say an underinflated football allows for a better grip and an easier catch. On the other hand, a softer ball might prevent it from soaring as far as it can go compared to when fully inflated. But, between the two options, a better grip is the advantage.
Most experts say the squishy ball likely played a small role in the winning performance of the Patriots, but if tampering occurred, rules were broken, and consequences will be had.
What should the consequences be? How much pride can New England take in winning, if foul-play occurred? What is the precedent for these kind of shenanigans?
Vincent Bonsignore, sports columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News
Ben Volin, NFL/Patriots writer for The Boston Globe