NFL protocol for a new football

The NFL has a system to check footballs that are used in a game

In this Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, photo New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has a ball tossed to him during warmups before the NFL football AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The NFL has a system to check footballs that are used in a game, and those rules are being analyzed as the Patriots come under scrutiny for the balls they used in the AFC Championship game.

Footballs are sent directly to teams who can brush them or rub off oil to the quarterback’s liking, but the football must be delivered to the referees 2 hours and 15 minutes before kickoff for inspection.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick says he had no idea the footballs on Sunday were under-inflated. An ESPN report says the NFL found 11 of the 12 Patriots offensive footballs used against the Colts had less air pressure than the NFL requires.

Cindy Gayner, of West Springfield told 22News, “45 to 7 I mean theres a huge gap there. So I mean does it really matter?”

Game balls must be filled between 12.5 and 13.5 PSI. Some quarterbacks prefer a softer ball so they can have more control over their spin. Belichick said the Patriots inflate their balls to 12.5 so any deflation would put them under the specification limit.

Belichick says their protocols will change, “Certainly inflate the footballs above that low level to account for any possible change during the game.”

However, the loyal fan base remains unwavered as the Patriots head to the Super Bowl. Warren Mason, of Springfield said, “I don’t believe any of it, it’s all malarkey Tom Brady’s going out there and doing his thing and Gronkowski is catching those balls and running it good.”

Penalties could range from a fine, suspensions or a loss of draft picks, but now coaches are talking about both teams using the same footballs.

22News has Live Coverage of the Patriots as they head to the Super Bowl on February 1st. Reporter Kait Walsh will be live in Glendale, AZ. Let us know if your going, or send us photos of you Patriots Pride, to our Report-it feature.

Super Bowl XLIX will air on NBC and stream on NBCSports.com starting at 6:30 p.m. in the University of Phoenix Stadium.

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