The NFL has confirmed it is looking into charges that the New England Patriots cheated on Sunday night when they clinched a trip to the 1 February Super Bowl by using deflated footballs.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said on Monday that the inquiry was under way following reports that the NFL had seized at least one game ball from the AFC championship game to examine whether the balls were intentionally deflated to make them easier to throw and catch.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who laughed off the accusations, led the Patriots on a 45-7 demolition of the Indianapolis Colts.
He fired three touchdown passes and LeGarrette Blount rumbled for three more as the Patriots booked their sixth trip to the Super Bowl in 14 years. It also marked coach Bill Belichick’s 21st career play-off victory to break the record he shared with Tom Landry
The Patriots will meet the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. The Seahawks became the first defending champions to make the Super Bowl in 10 years, after an amazing 28-22 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
Seattle were down 16-0 at half-time and 19-7 with under three minutes of the game left, but scored 15 points in 44 seconds, Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch each powering their way into the end zone for touchdowns before a two-point conversion put Seattle ahead 22-19.
The drama was far from over, though, as the Packers’ Mason Crosby booted his fifth field goal to send the NFC Championship game into overtime, where Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for a 35-yard touchdown in overtime to clinch victory.
“The will and the drive of these men is unbelievable,” Wilson said. “We always find a way to finish.”
The Seahawks’ coach, Pete Carroll, added: “If you have the belief these guys have in one another, there isn’t anything you can’t do. As crazy as that sounds, they pulled it together and pulled it off, a great comeback victory.”
There was a funereal atmosphere for much of the game as Seattle’s Super Bowl reign appeared to be over. But Wilson, who had misfired most of the day, throwing a career-high four interceptions, showed his champion’s pedigree when it mattered.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, playing with an injured calf, dissected the Seahawks’ defence as Green Bay stormed to a 16-0 lead.
But Seattle finally got on the scoreboard by faking a punt, with holder Jon Ryan hitting a wide open Garry Gilliam on a 19-yard touchdown pass, and the comeback was on.Reuse content