Reports that underinflated footballs were used in the first half of the AFC Championship Game have cast a shadow on the upcoming Super Bowl XLIX -- but provided lots of material for late-night hosts.
Despite New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick both denying on Thursday having anything to do with ball tampering, "deflate-gate" is still trending. The press conference itself had quotes primed for jokes. "It's not like I squeeze the football," Brady said. "I grip the football."
Here are the best jokes to come out of the late shows surrounding the NFL ball deflation scandal.
"Conan": "This is not the first time the Patriots have been accused of cheating," Conan O'Brien begins. "For example, there was the time they widened their own goal posts. ...There's the time they put magnets in the opposing team's helmets. ...There's the time they made opposing teams pay tolls every five yards. There was that illegal use of a helicopter..."
"Jimmy Kimmel Live": "Attorney Gloria Allred is now representing nine of the 11 balls Tom Brady allegedly squeezed."
"The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon": Belichick said at the Thursday press conference, "The balls that we practice with are as bad as they can be: wet, slippery, cold, sticky." Fallon responded, "That's also the most popular line from the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' movie."
"Jimmy Kimmel Live's" -- "Deflated Balls with Dr. Drew": "It's a common problem that's too often overlooked," Dr. Drew begins. "Every year thousands of athletes suffer from deflated balls. ...If you suspect your balls may be deflated, don't play with them."
"Late Night with Seth Meyers": "The amount this week that the inflation and deflation of balls is in the news, I wake up every morning wishing I was 9 years old."
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