According to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, the Baltimore Ravens tipped the Indianapolis Colts off that the New England Patriots were deflating footballs ahead of their AFC Championship game matchup. However, the league was already made aware of the allegations and were going to test the footballs at halftime regardless:
"“The NFL was already planning to inspect the balls at halftime, despite D’Qwell Jackson‘s interception originally being reported as the cause.”"
However, this new development seems to contradict earlier reports from ESPN, namely that the D’Qwell Jackson interception sparked the initial investigation on Sunday and that the Colts were already aware of the Patriots deflating footballs from their previous Week 11 loss to the Patriots.
Perhaps, it most contradicts comments made by Baltimore Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh that said he “didn’t notice anything” in regards to the Patriots footballs in their prior week playoff matchup (per ESPN):
"“We did not notice anything,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “We never had a ball that they used or anything like that on offense, so we don’t know anything about that in our game. We didn’t have a chance to handle any of their offensive footballs.”"
Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks to New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (R) prior to the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Despite the conflicting reports, it looks as though Chuck Pagano‘s former boss, the Ravens’ John Harbaugh, could still have quite possibly lended a helping hand to his old defensive coordinator to try to beat the New England Patriots and their cheating ways, even if he didn’t publicly say as much.
Glazer added that, “Many NFL owners, general managers and coaches are tired of the Patriots and are wondering if the league will finally take a hard line”. It may come to that, as the Patriots have clearly shown that they are unafraid of breaking the league’s rules time and time again if it gives them a competitive advantage on the field, dating all the way back to the “Spygate” debacle.
The NFL’s investigation is supposed to be concluded by the end of the week, and there may be a verdict on the Patriots punishment also issued then. Rumors have swirled that it could be anything from a fine to Bill Belichick being suspended from coaching the Super Bowl.
Whatever the actual true story is or the Patriots’ punishment may be, one thing is for sure, the biggest story before the NFL’s Super Bowl is no longer the game itself.
Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (L) shakes hand with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (R) after their 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots won 35-31. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports