BY Adam Lewis 07:45PM 01/21/2015

Seahawks downplay Patriots’ ‘Deflate-gate’

Asked to weigh in Wednesday about the Patriots’ “Deflate-gate” controversy, most members of the Seahawks decided to take the high road.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been accused of breaking NFL rules. Again. / Wiki Commons

RENTON — For what it’s worth, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson doesn’t care how much a football weighs. “As long as it has laces,” he said Wednesday. “I’m good to go.”

The New England Patriots apparently don’t have the same view.

Earlier this week, the NFL found that 11 of the 12 footballs used by New England’s offense in Sunday’s 45-7 AFC championship win over the Indianapolis Colts were deflated by an average of two pounds per square inch (PSI) below the league minimum, according to an ESPN report.

The Patriots face the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX Feb. 1, in Glendale AZ.

While the NFL continues its investigation, Seahawks players and coaches Wednesday downplayed the effect an under-inflated football, which in theory makes it easier to catch and throw, can have on a team’s offense.

“I’ve never heard of that and I’m not sure anything will come of it,” said Seahawks CB Richard Sherman. “If it’s true or if it’s not true, it didn’t have much effect on the game, if any. If it did, then whatever. If it’s against the rules, it’s against the rules.

“It’s not going to have any effect on this game. Nobody’s going to get suspended. Nothing’s going to happen. They are going to play this game. Whatever they did, the risk-reward was greater.”

The NFL has yet to announce New England’s punishment, but it could issue fines or penalize the Patriots in upcoming drafts. Speaking Tuesday on NBC Sports Radio, Troy Vincent, the league’s senior executive vice president of football operations, said the league plans to finish the investigation in the next two or three days.

The controversy began in Sunday’s first half when Colts LB D’Qwell Jackson intercepted a pass from Patriots QB Tom Brady. Sensing the ball didn’t meet NFL standards, Jackson notified the Colts equipment manager, who notified Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano, who notified general manager Ryan Grigson. Watching from the press box, Grigson complained to NFL director of football operations Mike Kensil, who passed along the message to referees working the game.

After the opening kickoff of the second half, officials delayed the game for one minute so they could switch footballs.”Deflate-gate” was born.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday he planned to cooperate with the league’s investigation, while Brady laughed when asked if he used deflated footballs, which might help him secure a better grip in the rainy conditions he faced Sunday at Gillette Stadium. In 2007, Belichick was fined $500,000 and the organization $250,000 and a first-round draft pick after the Patriots filmed the New York Jets’ defensive signals during a game. The controversy was dubbed Spygate.

Adding intrigue: Two hours, 15 minutes prior to kickoff, the footballs used by New England’s offense passed an inspection by referee Walt Anderson.

That means someone (or something?) must have caused the deflation.

“I think I’ve heard it all at this point,” Brady said Monday in an interview with WEEI. “That’s the least of my worries. I don’t even respond to stuff like this.”

By rule, NFL footballs must be between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces, a fact that doesn’t seem to mean much to former Seahawk CB Brandon Browner, in his first season with the Patriots, who chimed in on Twitter Wednesday.

That came two days after Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski offered through his account the reason for New England’s deflated footballs.


Showing such candor is common for the Seahawks, a team with an array of outspoken personalities.

“I just catch footballs how they come,” said WR Jermaine Kearse, who sent Seattle to the Super Bowl with a game-winning, 35-yard touchdown catch in Sunday’s overtime win over the Packers. “It could be a tennis ball out there. They throw it to me, I’ll try to catch it.”

Then he launched into what may or may not have been a takeoff on former 76ers All-Star Allen Iverson’s rant about practice.

“This is just so funny because we are talking about footballs,” Kearse said. “We’re not talking about the game, we’re talking about footballs. Not the game, but the balls.”

Talking after practice, Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell seemed equally unconvinced that a soft football can tilt the game in favor of the offense.

“We throw whatever’s given to us,” he said. “If it’s flat, we’d be in trouble . . . When you’re handing it off, it doesn’t really matter how much air it has in it.”


Sherman (elbow) said he plans to practice with a brace on the arm he injured in the NFC title game, but reiterated he expects to play in the Super Bowl. How’s his range of motion? “If I had to slap my brother, I’d be able to do it,” he said . . . Baldwin said he wished he handled his post-NFC title game rant differently, but he wanted to get the message across. “I feel like I was taking away from everything that happened,” he said. “The team should be celebrated. That’s what I felt like. I was taking away from the team aspect of it. Ultimately, I wouldn’t take anything back. I meant what I said and I feel very strongly about it, obviously.” . . .  Among those who missed Wednesday’s practice: RG J.R. Sweezy (ankle), RB Marshawn Lynch (non-injury related), S Earl Thomas (shoulder), LS Clint Gresham (neck) and Bennett (non-injury related). Sherman and RT Justin Britt were full participants.


  • jafabian

    The Seahawks are well disciplined when it comes to the media. Gone are the days when a player would say their coach stabbed them in the back. Even when they had ample opportunity to let it air out about Percy Harvin then never did. Not even Golden Tate has done that despite being with another team. Props to all of them for showing some class in that regard.

    I’ll be disappointed if the Patriots get a fine and/or a draft pick taken away. A fine is nothing to them when they’re consistently in the upper tier NFL merchandise sold. They can easily offset the loss of a draft pick with a free agent signing. They weren’t going to have a high draft pick anyways. Also, if a LB on the opposing team notices that the balls are off then there’s no way Brady could have never known about it. The QB handles the ball the most. Highly doubt the NFL would penalize it’s golden boy and I wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL defers “sentencing” until after the Super Bowl so as to not take away from it’s jewel of TV programming.

    • Edgar Martinez

      They should suspend Belichick, even possibly for the Super Bowl. The guy just doesn’t seem to care about cheating and needs to be sent a message.

      • flyonawall

        I would like to see Belichick suspended for the game. But that well never happen.

        Spygate we much more then watch was publicly released. They should be required to return the trophies. Goodell was and still is “protecting the shield”.

        Expect s slap on the wrist.

        • Baileybeans

          If I’m not mistaken the Patriots opponents were using the same footballs so any advantage the Patriots may have had using these balls would also apply to the Colts! This is a non-issue… You’re jealousy is showing!!! Go Pats!

          • Effzee

            You’re mistaken. Each team gets its own set of balls. They do not handle each others balls. They are responsible for the air pressure inside of each one of their own balls. The balls are provided at the beginning of the game, inflated appropriately. Officials do not check either teams balls again once the game begins, unless, of course, someone complains about someone else’s balls.

          • dinglenuts

            Regardless of the outcome, DeflateGate is a boon to writers and commenters everywhere.

          • jafabian

            Maybe by itself but it isn’t that simple. There’s the Spygate scandal and the NFL’s Equity Rule regarding how if the headsets of one team aren’t working the other team can’t use theirs is due to numerous complaints about the Patriots broadcast system being so poor. Also turned out the Patriots weren’t using the NFL mandated radio frequency but instead used their own that they never told the NFL or their opponent about. Thus the equity rule.

            So it’s not just this instance, it’s numerous ones. If the Patriots get a $25K fine as is rumored other teams will be in an uproar. It’s about the integrity of the game at this point.

          • flyonawall

            Not sure Patriots are going to get away this time, unless Kraft writes another check.

            Patriots are tainted, face it. Everyone knows that.

  • notaboomer

    Rule 17? Colts v. Hawks dream sooperbowl.

  • jafabian

    Jay Glazer of Fox Sports is reporting that the Ravens tipped off the Colts about the possible deflated footballs. Granted, this is something that’s probably been going on for quite awhile but since this involves the Patriots teams are probably more willing to report this. Not good for the Patriots if another team backs up the Colts.

  • maleRN

    I’ve never liked the Patriots. I did, at one point in my life, respect Bill Belichick for his illimitable knowledge of the game. As of late I find myself disappointed with his cunning stunts and alleged unscrupulous game tactics.

  • Big

    Professional sports and cheating now there’s a story. I suggest New England be found guilty of ball tampering and put on probation. NE must wear a ball and chain around their ankle for the SB.