Reports: Colts interception sparked deflated-ball controversy
We don’t know how the NFL’s investigation of "DeflateGate" will end, but we now might know how the crazy controversy started.
Mike Lynch of WCVB.com and Bob Glauber of Newsday both reported that the investigation was sparked by the Colts’ lone interception of Tom Brady during the New England Patriots’ AFC Championship Game win.
Sources told Lynch that after D’Qwell Jackson picked off a Brady pass in the second quarter, he returned to the sideline and told an equipment manager the ball felt under-inflated. Glauber reported it was a member of the equipment staff who apparently noticed the ball wasn’t properly inflated, but both stories target this play in the game as the beginning of the madness.
From there, the equipment manager brought it to the attention of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who then notified general manager Ryan Grigson, according to Lynch. Grigson relayed the information to NFL director of football operations Mike Kensil, who spoke with officials on the field at halftime about the issue. This prompted the referees to change the ball on the field before the start of the third quarter.
But WCVB noted it’s not unusual for officials to remove balls from play, as sources told Lynch "several" footballs were taken out during the Patriots-Colts game "due to factors such as air temperature" that caused the ball to over- or under-inflate. For their part, the Patriots have laughed off the accusations, with Rob Gronkowski even contributing his own theory to the shenanigans.