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NFL find evidence to support 'deflategate' claims
23 Jan 2015 20:08
The NFL has revealed that evidence so far suggests the New England Patriots used under-inflated balls in the first half of their AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.
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An investigation is continuing into allegations the Patriots deliberately sabotaged the balls in their 45-7 victory at the Gillette Stadium on Sunday, which set up a Super Bowl showdown with the Seattle Seahawks in nine days' time.
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Yet one of sport's most prestigious events has been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the Pats, for whom quarter-back Tom Brady launched an impassioned defence of his side on Thursday.
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But the NFL, while admitting its probe was far from concluded, said that it, so far, appeared the balls used by the Pats in the opening half were below regulation pressure limits of between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch.
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The statement did not say whether that was intentional, though, and added that the balls used in the second half were "properly inflated".
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Deflating a ball can, but will not necessarily, make it easier to catch. The saga has been dubbed 'deflategate' on social media.
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The NFL said in a statement on its official website: "The investigation is ongoing, will be thorough and objective, and is being pursued expeditiously. In the coming days, we expect to conduct numerous additional interviews, examine video and other forensic evidence, as well as relevant physical evidence.
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"While the evidence thus far supports the conclusion that footballs that were under-inflated were used by the Patriots in the first half, the footballs were properly inflated for the second half and confirmed at the conclusion of the game to have remained properly inflated.
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"The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and specifically whether any non-compliance was the result of deliberate action.
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"We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence."
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The statement added: "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. Our investigation will seek information from any and all relevant sources and we expect full cooperation from other clubs as well."
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