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The New England Patriots are under NFL investigation for purposely deflating footballs during the AFC Championship game. Chris Mortensen reported Tuesday that NFL officials found 11 of 12 footballs provided by the Patriots were, indeed, under-inflated. The NFL has yet to comment.
Bob Kravitz, a writer for WTHR in Indianapolis, first broke the story. And he had harsh words for Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick:
If morts report is on target, and I'm sure it is, belichick should be suspended from the Super Bowl. My opinion.
— Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz) January 21, 2015
This isn’t the first time a team has been investigated for cutting corners. The Patriots have grabbed the most headlines since 2007’s 'Spygate.' The Patriots were caught illegally videotaping a New York Jets practice, and the team's image still hasn't fully recovered.
The punishment: Coach Bill Belichick was fined the league-maximum $500,000, the team was fined an additional $250,000, and the Patriots lost a first-round draft pick because they made the playoffs that season.
Spygate is forever a part of the NFL vernacular, but another team was caught illegally videotaping an opponent in 2010. The Denver Broncos taped six minutes of the San Francisco 49ers walk-through practice before a game in London.
The punishment: Steve Scarnecchia, the director of video operations, told league officials he acted alone in the taping scandal. He was fired. Head coach at-the-time Josh McDaniels was fined $50,000 for not reporting his employee to the league, as was the team.
Other teams have been accused of altering equipment. The San Diego Chargers were investigated for putting Stickum on their sideline towels. This practice was used by the Oakland Raiders in the 1970s and 1980s.
The punishment: While the Chargers were cleared of using an illegal substance on their towels, the team had to pay a $20,000 fine for not immediately handing over the suspicious towels to officials.
And who could forget Pittsburgh Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin interfering with a Jacoby Jones run in a game against the Baltimore Ravens last season? Tomlin was in the field of play, causing Jones to hesitate in his run to avoid hitting the opposing head coach.
The punishment: Tomlin was fined $100,000 for interfering with Jones.
The #deflategate investigation is ongoing. Is an investigation into quarterback Aaron Rodgers' 'inflategate' coming next?