Five days after reports surfaced that the New England Patriots used underinflated footballs in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, the NFL broke their silence on the investigation Friday.
According to a league statement, the investigation, led by NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash and Ted Wells of the law firm Paul Weiss, has conducted nearly 40 interviews to determine why the Patriots’ game balls were below the league’s minimum threshold of 12.5 pounds per square inch in the team’s 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night.
“The playing rules are intended to protect the fairness and integrity of our games,” the NFL said. “We take seriously claims that those rules have been violated and will fully investigate this matter without compromise or delay.”
The league disclosed that the footballs New England used in the first half were underinflated when tested at halftime, and added that the balls used in the second half were properly inflated.
Specifications regarding the inflation levels of the footballs were not detailed.
“The investigation is ongoing, will be thorough and objective, and is being pursued expeditiously,” the league stated. “In the coming days, we expect to conduct numerous additional interviews, examine video and other forensic evidence, as well as relevant physical evidence.”
The NFL began looking into the matter the shortly after the game at Gillette Stadium concluded, and has since spoken with Patriots personnel, game officials and third parties with relevant knowledge and expertise in the matters.
“Upon being advised of the investigation, the Patriots promptly pledged their full cooperation and have made their personnel and other information available to us upon request,” the league said. “Our investigation will seek information from any and all relevant sources and we expect full cooperation from other clubs as well. As we develop more information and are in a position to reach conclusions, we will share them publicly.”