Pro Bowl players vary on importance of deflated-ball issue
Jan. 22, 2015
PHOENIX (AP) — Andrew Luck was asked how he felt after Indianapolis' one-sided loss to New England in the AFC championship game.
"The energy is sucked out of you," he said. "You do feel deflated."
It's a word the Colts quarterback wished he'd never used, but one he and other Pro Bowl players will hear all week.
Players drafted for the two Pro Bowl teams on Wednesday night were asked again and again about the report that footballs used by the Patriots against the Colts were well below the required inflation.
Luck, the No. 1 pick, downplayed the whole affair.
"Things in the media tend to be blown out of proportion a little bit. That's the nature of where we are today in society. But you can't take anything away from them being a heck of a team."
The man who started the inquiry, Indianapolis linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, is a Pro Bowl participant but didn't want to talk to reporters Wednesday night.
He told officials there was something wrong with the football after he intercepted Tom Brady's pass.
Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, who played for New England, said he doesn't know what the true story is.
"It was done, it wasn't done. I'm not sure," he said. "If it seems like something that needs to be addressed and punished accordingly, it needs to be done. At the end of the day, everybody just wants an even playing field, everything fair for everybody and just go from there."
New York Jets center Nick Mangold plays the Patriots twice each season.
"It's just crazy how the NFL works," he said. "You deal with so many different things going on, and now this hanging over the Super Bowl. I imagine the footballs in the Super Bowl are going to be the most scrutinized footballs of all time."
Mangold was asked about the fairness of labeling the Patriots as cheaters.
"It's fair. I mean, they've done it," he said. "They have to deal with "spygate' and everything since then. I don't think it's unfairness. It kind of comes with the territory."
He was referring to the 2007 revelation that the Patriots videotaped the New York Jets' signals during a 2007 game. Coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, the team $250,000 and New England forfeited it's 2008 first-round draft pick.
But Mangold said he hasn't heard exactly how using a deflated football helped the Patriots. He said he called a couple of quarterbacks and they said they'd never done it and didn't know what good it would do.
"My only issue is I haven't heard anyone say why it's an advantage," he said. "I've heard about it, how it's something wrong, but I haven't heard the advantage of it."
Denver cornerback Aqib Talib just laughed when asked about it.
"I don't think them deflated balls had nothing to with LeGarrett Blount running for 150 (yards) and three touch(downs)," he said.
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