June 12, 2024


Each the Patriots and Chiefs missed discipline objectives within the first half of Sunday’s showdown in Foxborough.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 17: Bryce Baringer #17 and Chad Ryland #37 of the New England Patriots celebrate after Ryland's field goal during the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium on December 17, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Chad Ryland and Harrison Butker each missed discipline objectives on Sunday. Maddie Meyer/Getty Pictures

Right here we go once more?

Near 9 years since “DeflateGate” plagued the Patriots and their followers for what felt like endlessly, Gillette Stadium was reportedly the positioning of one other sport marred by underinflated footballs.

On Wednesday, MassLive’s Mark Daniels reported that the kicking balls utilized by each New England and Kansas Metropolis within the first half of Sunday’s showdown in Foxborough had been underinflated by as a lot as two kilos per sq. inch (PSI). 

When the Patriots complained concerning the state of the kicking balls after each Patriots kicker Chad Ryland and Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker missed discipline objectives within the first half, officers took the balls into the locker room at halftime.

Upon measurement, the balls solely weighed 11 kilos, as an alternative of the authorized restrict of 13.5, a supply advised Daniels.

In line with Daniels, the Patriots seen that one thing was amiss when Butker’s opening kickoff landed on the 3-yard line.

Thus far this season, Butker has hit 87.1% of his kickoffs for touchbacks, whereas his missed field-goal try later within the first quarter was his first of the 12 months after efficiently changing on his first 23 makes an attempt.

“Because the half went on, the crew seen that the trajectory and hold time of kickoffs and punts had been decrease than ordinary,” Daniels wrote. “One other supply famous that the kicking balls had been unusually smooth to the contact.”

Despite the fact that Ryland has been removed from computerized throughout his field-goal makes an attempt this season, a supply advised Daniels that the rookie kicker’s “mechanics had been good on the try”. 

In line with NFL guidelines, groups should not allowed to make use of the kicking balls in pregame warmups. With each groups unable to identify the difficulty forward of time, the underinflated balls went unnoticed till Butler’s opening boot. The kicking balls had been inflated again as much as their normal weight after halftime.

The Patriots finally fell to the Chiefs, 27-17, with Butler making two discipline objectives from 29 yards and 54 yards within the second half. 

Any speak of deflated footballs probably has Patriots followers breaking out into a chilly sweat — with phrases like “superb gasoline legislation” and “The Mona Lisa Vito of the soccer world” occupying their unconscious as soon as once more. 

However with each the Patriots and Chiefs combating kicks on Sunday, this stands as a state of affairs the place the league and its officers dropped the ball (actually) for all concerned.