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Rich's Sources: Patriots' Footballs Passed Referee Inspection Just Under Allowable PSI Level

BOSTON (CBS) -- The footballs used by the New England Patriots in the first half of the AFC Championship were indeed under the NFL's allowable PSI , but according to 98.5 The Sports Hub's Toucher & Rich, those footballs passed a pregame inspection by officials.

Sources told Rich that the Patriots submitted their 12 game footballs under-inflated prior to the game, but the league did not properly inspect them and approved them for the contest. Rich broke the news Tuesday morning on their broadcast from Radio Row in Arizona.

One thing that has been reported this last week, as we've been learning about how footballs are treated before a game is that before every game, a referee measured with a pressure gauge each football to see if the pressure in each one is between 12.5 and 13.5 PSI.

But that apparently isn't always the case. As a matter of fact, from what I've been told, many times the refs don't test the pressure of each ball with a gauge at all. Sometimes refs hold the ball, squeeze it, briefly inspect it, then sign off on it. Next ball. It's never been a problem before. This is apparently a well known fact in the NFL.

 Now according to my sources, The Patriots turned in their footballs to the ref at a pressure just below the allowable PSI.

If it's a situation where the refs DID use a gauge, the refs would see the balls were under inflated, and inflate them to the proper size. But in this case, the balls were approved and given back to the Patriots under-inflated.

Thus, the under-inflated balls. The Patriots, according to my sources, played with league approved deflated balls.

This is just the latest update to a long (and strange) controversy known as "Deflategate." Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has denied any wrongdoing, twice, as has quarterback Tom Brady. Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke in Arizona Monday night, and said he expects an apology from the NFL if the league finds no wrongdoing on New England's part.

The NFL is reportedly "zeroed in" on a New England locker room attendant who has access to the footballs ahead of the game, and reportedly took a detour to the bathroom before bringing the footballs to the field.

Tune in to Super Bowl XLIX on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. It's the only place to hear Bob Socci & Scott Zolak's local call of the game!

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