Report: Patriots Used Ref-Approved Backup Balls In Second Half Vs. Colts

Controversy still swirls over the footballs the New England Patriots used in the first half of their game against the Indianapolis Colts. According to a report Wednesday afternoon, though, the ones they used over the final 30 minutes met NFL standards.

The Patriots swapped out their 12 original game balls for 12 backup balls at halftime of their 45-7 win in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, an organizational source told WEEI.com on Wednesday, and each of those replacements reportedly was tested and approved by officials before being put into play.

That testing finished up just moments before New England was set to begin its first series of the third quarter, per WEEI’s source. The Patriots dominated the Colts in the second half, outscoring them 28-0 to turn a tight contest into a blowout and earn a spot in Super Bowl XLIX.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Tuesday night that 11 of the 12 balls the Patriots used during the first half were under-inflated and did not meet NFL specifications.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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