Mark Daniels of MassLive reported that certain footballs in the Kansas City Chiefs' 27-17 win against the New England Patriots last weekend were underinflated by two pounds.
At halftime Sunday, Gillette Stadium officials removed balls for both team's kicking units into the locker room after complaints. The balls weighted 11 pounds per square inch, authorities said. Footballs must be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 PSI per NFL standards.
It's unclear if the underinflated balls affected the game, but Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker and Patriots kicker Chad Ryland missed first-half field goals. Although Butker has hit the end zone 87% of the time this season, his initial kickoff hit the 3-yard line.
In the contest, Butker made two field goals, including a 54-yarder, and all three extra point tries. Ryland was 1-of-2 with a 25-yard long and made both extra point tries.
Each team receives 12 primary and 12 backup balls to test several hours before kickoff. Six new kicking balls are opened before each game by officials. Officials must weigh such balls before the game. Whether the balls were weighed before the game is unknown
The event looks trivial, and it seemed to affect both teams equally, but it is comparable to an occurrence at Gillette Stadium over a decade ago that prompted the “Deflategate” scandal
After officials found underinflated footballs during the Patriots' 2015 AFC Championship triumph over the Indianapolis Colts, Tom Brady was suspended four games, the Patriots were fined $1 million, and they forfeited two draft selections. The Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX two weeks later. The NFL never proved the controversy balls were deflated.
After losing to the Chiefs on Sunday, the Patriots slipped to 3-11. With their 10-point win in Massachusetts, the Chiefs stopped a two-game losing streak and moved to 9-5. They lead the AFC West and will try to make the playoffs for the seventh straight year this weekend.