Jan 31, 2014; New York, NY, USA; NFL former player Troy Vincent speaks during a press conference at Rose Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
According to Troy Vincent, the NFL’s Vice President of Football Operations, the league will have their “Deflate-Gate” investigation concluded by the end of the week and that it shouldn’t take much longer per ProFootballTalk Live, which is hosted on NBC Sports radio:
"“We’re hoping to wrap that up in the next two or three days,” Vincent said. “The team is in place in New England now interviewing staff members.”"
While Vincent didn’t hint at the possible verdict to the ongoing investigation, he did indicate that the league views it as a considerable distraction ahead of its marquee game of the season in this year’s Super Bowl XLIX:
"“We obviously want to get that on the table, get that behind us so that we can really get back to the game itself,” Vincent noted."
Earlier today, it was reported that D’Qwell Jackson‘s 2nd quarter interception led to the preliminary investigation by the Colts’ sideline staff. According to ESPN, Jackson initially gave the football to a member of the Colts equipment staff, presumably to store as his own keepsake. The staff member noticed that the football seemed to be noticeably deflated and alerted head coach Chuck Pagano, who then relayed the information to General Manager Ryan Grigson. From there, per ESPN:
"“Once Colts general manager Ryan Grigson was alerted about the ball in the Gillette Stadium press box, he contacted NFL director of football operations Mike Kensil, who then told game officials during halftime.”"
While the deflated footballs wouldn’t have made a difference even if they were over-inflated like balls at a “Carnival Booth contest”, it still potentially undermines the integrity of the game if done intentionally.
The New England Patriots are not above league rule and are required to play by the same rules just like the NFL’s other 31 franchises. Yes, the Patriots still win in a blowout, but that’s besides the point. No one is above league rule, not even if you’re Bill Belichick or Tom Brady.
The NFL’s Troy Vincent re-echoed this sentiment:
"“For a fan, you want to know that everything’s equal,” Vincent said. “The integrity of the game is so important.”"
Jan 18, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson (52) runs the ball after an interception during the second quarter against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports