A former NFL ball boy said it would have been difficult for a team to deflate game balls after they had been inspected.
“Deflating the balls right before the game, after inspection, would have been very difficult. At that point, thousands of people are pouring into the stadium, officials, media, TV crew members are everywhere,” said Eric Kester, a former NFL ball boy.
Now, in the run-up to the Super Bowl, the Patriots are facing accusations that they played with under-inflated footballs in the AFC Championship game against the Colts.
It remains unclear how and when nearly a dozen footballs were deflated. Kester said it would have been almost impossible to pull it off undetected.
Current and former quarterbacks have spoken out, insisting that altering footballs is nothing unusual.
“The altering of the ball is definitely coming from the quarterbacks’ end. For them, it is really all about how it feels coming off their fingertips,” said Kester.
Despite the league’s detailed rules about game footballs, it does not have a precedent for potential repeat offenders.
“We have never been down this road before so we don’t know how many years have to go by without cheating to get a team a clean record. The fact that the Patriots have this track record and it is the same coach, and same ownership, that will not help the Patriots this time around,” said Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio.
League officials say the review could wrap up soon.