As New England Patriots fans are aware, few things are more important to the NFL than protecting the integrity of the game.

Even when the games don’t count.

The NFL is investigating the Pittsburgh Steelers after at least one of the footballs they used in Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles was found to be “VERY deflated,” Howard Eskin of 94 WIP in Philly reported late Thursday night.

Eskin, who is the sideline reporter on Eagles radio broadcasts, reported the football was found in the third quarter following an incompletion by Steelers backup quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Eskin claims the football was like “a marshmallow.”

That’s all the information we know for now. And while any actual infraction should be relatively meaningless — it’s the first week of the preseason, after all — Patriots fans may have more than a passing interest in how the reported investigation shakes out, considering quarterback Tom Brady was suspended four games after the NFL determined New England used deflated footballs in the 2015 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Steelers beat the Eagles 31-14, in case you were wondering.

Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images