The Indianapolis Colts and the NFL may have had reason to be suspicious that New England Patriots would deflate balls during the AFC Championship, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Colts reportedly brought up concerns about underinflated balls during their Nov. 16 matchup against the Pats, during which quarterback Tom Brady was intercepted twice.
Per Schefter, Colts safety Mike Adams secured both of Brady's picks, and gave both balls to Colts equipment managers because the balls felt underinflated. The Colts reportedly took their concerns to the NFL after the game, and the league knew about the issue going into the AFC Championship.
If D'Qwell Jackson hadn't intercepted Brady and informed referees that the ball felt a little light last Sunday, the scandal now known has DeflateGate (or BallGhazi, if you prefer) may have never happened. It may have helped Jackson to know what to look for, which perhaps explains why the Colts diagnosed the issue so quickly when the officials, who handle balls much more frequently during games than defensive players, did not notice anything wrong.
SB Nation presents: What every Pats fan is thinking about DeflateGate
On Tuesday night, ESPN reported that 11 of the 12 balls set aside for the Patriots' offense were underinflated. The NFL is now investigating the Patriots to determine whether the team intentionally deflated footballs to make them easier to catch and grip under the rainy conditions of last Sunday's game.
The Patriots could face at minimum a $25,000 fine if found guilty, if not stiffer punishment. As Ryan Van Bibber explains, Commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to go beyond the rulebook and potentially take away draft picks from New England. The league cannot take away the win, however. Whatever the outcome of DeflateGate, the Patriots will be playing the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49.