Leading Off

Spygate, Deflategate – what’s next, Patriots?

New England’s Tom Brady looks to pass during the first half of the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts in Foxborough, Mass. The NFL is investigating whether the Patriots deflated footballs that were used in their AFC championship game victory over the Colts.
New England’s Tom Brady looks to pass during the first half of the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts in Foxborough, Mass. The NFL is investigating whether the Patriots deflated footballs that were used in their AFC championship game victory over the Colts. AP

After the Patriots whipped the Colts 45-7 on Sunday to advance to the Super Bowl for the sixth time in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era, the talk around the water cooler Monday should have been about Brady’s three touchdown passes and LeGarrette Blount’s 148 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

But these are the Patriots, so no one should be surprised that deflated footballs took center stage.

The NFL is investigating whether the Patriots deflated balls used in Sunday’s game, which presumably would improve the grip in inclement weather.

According to the NFL rulebook, balls must be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch, and each team’s 12 primary balls are tested before a game and delivered to ball attendants. According to NFL spokesman Michael Signora, a ball was taken out of circulation midway through Sunday’s game.

Everyone seems to get a good chuckle from “Deflategate,” but the league takes this seriously. According to its game operations manual, “The person responsible and, if appropriate, the head coach or other club personnel will be subject to discipline, including but not limited to a fine of $25,000.” Also, according to some reports, the NFL could take draft picks from the Patriots.

It wouldn’t be the first time.

In 2007, Belichick was fined $500,000 and the team was assessed $250,000 and stripped of its 2008 first-round draft pick for videotaping sideline signals used by the Jets. That incident was dubbed “Spygate.”

We certainly agree with Brady’s comment to Boston radio station WEEI on Monday: “I think I’ve heard it all at this point.”

– Tom Couzens

tcouzens@sacbee.com


What to watch

Boys high school basketball, Woodcreek at Folsom, 7 p.m., Access Sacramento: It’s a rare chance to see Folsom, The Bee’s No. 1 team, on TV, but you have to live in Sacramento or Sacramento County and subscribe to a cable provider.


Trending on Twitter

#DeflateGate: Twitter users had a field day with the latest controversy surrounding the Patriots.


On this date

1985: Joe Montana passes for a Super Bowl-record 331 yards and three touchdowns to lead the 49ers to a 38-16 victory over Miami.

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