The discovery of deflated footballs being used by the New England Patriots was not totally a case of circumstance. Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson stated that he informed the NFL several days before the AFC Championship that he thought the Patriots might be doctoring their footballs.
It was originally reported that the Colts discovered a tampered football after Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson intercepted Tom Brady in the second quarter of the game. Jackson hoped to keep the game ball as a souvenir, but it quickly became more important than that, as word systematically came to Grigson that the ball was under-inflated. Grigson then alerted the league office and set the whole scandal into motion.
Grigson explained that he alerted the league to his suspicions in an attempt to level the playing field. Of course, this proved to be a fruitless endeavor, as the Patriots coasted to a dominant win, 45-7.
This is the first public admission from Grigson that the Colts thought the Patriots were deflating footballs. A report surfaced early in the process that indicated that Indianapolis became aware of the possibility during their regular season contest against New England in Week 11, and NFL executive Troy Vincent previously stated that the Colts informed the league of the issue.
What is now clear is that Indianapolis was aware of this issue prior to the game and thought that it gave the Patriots an unfair advantage.
The NFL is still investigating the situation, which has recently become more complex. ESPN reports that the Patriots also attempted to have an unapproved kicking ball introduced into the game, while a league employee was fired for selling used game balls, including those used during the DeflateGate game.
Fortunately, the NFL is intent on getting it right, so they have that going for them.