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NFL investigating Patriots over deflated football charges

In last night's AFC championship game, the New England Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts in a 45-7 blowout. But while the Patriots and their fans were still reveling in their victory, the NFL quietly launched an investigation into the possibility that the Patriots deflated footballs during the game.

The benefits of deflating a football are difficult to gauge — depending upon how much air is removed, the ball is either easier or harder to throw and catch. In stormy conditions, as in last night's game, the benefits are purportedly higher. Indiana's WTHR reports that suspicious officials removed one ball from play and weighed it during the game.

If the Patriots are found guilty of tampering with the football, the NFL could confiscate draft picks. That punishment might sound familiar to anyone who recalls 2007's "Spygate," when the Patriots lost a first-round draft pick after a team employee was caught filming the defensive signals of an opposing coach to gain an edge in a later game.