Almost exactly a year to the day after Patriots equipment personnel “likely” intentionally deflated footballs to make them easier for Tom Brady to grip—at least, that’s according to the NFL’s Wells Report—there was another incident involving footballs and gauges before a Patriots playoff game at Gillette Stadium.
As reported out by CBS Boston, the referees for Saturday’s Patriots-Chiefs game left a box with kicking balls, or K-balls, and pressure gauges in their hotel room when they left for the stadium. ESPN has a statement from the Massachusetts State Police about what happened next:
“At approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Massachusetts State police at Logan airport were notified by the Hyatt Hotel on airport property that the officials at Gillette Stadium for that afternoon’s Patriots’ playoff game had left official, specially designated footballs and pressure gauges behind at the hotel,” Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said. “The hotel had been contacted by the NFL after it realized the equipment had been left behind.
NFL Security then requested that the state police bring the balls to Gillette Stadium, which they did, arriving about an hour before the game.
If you remember from Ballghazi, while teams provide their own footballs for offense, NFL-provided K-balls are used for all kicking plays.
There is (probably!) no conspiracy here, but it is interesting that such a screw-up could occur even after the maniacal amount of attention that was paid to the NFL’s ball security procedures, and pretty hilarious that it coincidentally (or not!) happened once again at Gillette Stadium before a Patriots playoff game.
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