This D’Qwell Jackson INT is When The Colts First Noticed The Patriots’ Deflated Balls (Video)
We still don’t know whether or not the New England Patriots were purposely playing with deflated balls, but we now know the moment that sparked the NFL’s investigation into the issue, which is currently taking place.
That moment was a second quarter interception by the Colts’ D’Qwell Jackson. After the pick, Jackson gave the ball to a member of the Colts’ equipment staff, who noticed the football was underinflated. He then notified Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, setting off the following chain of events, according to Newsday’s Bob Glauber:
According to a person familiar with the background of the matter, the Colts first noticed something unusual after an interception by Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson in the second quarter. Jackson gave the ball to a member of the Colts’ equipment staff, who noticed the ball seemed underinflated and then notified coach Chuck Pagano.
General manager Ryan Grigson was notified in the press box, and he contacted Mike Kensil, NFL director of football operations. Kensil then told the on-field officials at halftime, when the Patriots led 17-7. The Patriots erupted for 21 points in the third quarter, although it is not known if any of the balls were improperly inflated after halftime.
Teams are responsible for prepping their own balls on offense. This means the Patriots’ offense gets to adjust the balls they use to their liking, while hopefully staying within the given rules and guidelines. The Colts players would rarely get to touch one of the Patriots offense’s footballs, unless they picked it up off the ground following a play or gained possession of it off a turnover, which is what happened in this instance.