SEATTLE — By and large, the Seahawks aren’t getting all puffed up about Deflategate.
They generally brushed off the NFL’s investigation of the Patriots taking the air out of the footballs used in their win over the Colts in the AFC Championship game and, more or less, chuckled at the analysis of what difference ounces make when it comes to throwing and catching the ball.
If a lighter ball is easier to catch, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said, he hadn’t noticed it on any of his 24 career interceptions.
“I have to go back to my collection and check ’em,” Sherman said. “I have to see if there are pounds missing or anything like that.”
Sherman said the investigation won’t change the fact that the Seahawks have to prepare to face the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.
“I’m not sure anything will come of it,” Sherman said. “If it’s true or if it’s not true. It didn’t have much effect on the game, if any. If it did, then whatever. If it’s against the rules, it’s against the rules, but it’s not going to have any effect on this game.
“Nobody’s going to get suspended. Nothing’s going to happen. They’re going to play this game. Whatever they did, the risk-reward was greater.”
If anything, Sherman pointed to the league’s threats to suspend running back Marshawn Lynch for wearing gold cleats, and he said there was a double standard.
“They were trying to suspend Marshawn for gold shoes and that [deflating the ball] really affects the game,” Sherman said. “You suspend Marshawn for gold shoes, then you’ve got balls being deflated and that’s the issue.”
An NFL inspection found that 11 of the 12 balls used by the Patriots against the Colts were found to be under inflated by 2 pounds per square inch. NFL specifications require balls to be inflated to 12½-13½ PSI.
The Patriots could be fined if it’s determined they deliberately doctored the footballs.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson steered clear of the controversy.
“I don’t know anything about that,” he said. “So there’s not really much I can comment on that. Obviously they’re a great team. I don’t think of that as an issue, probably. But I have no idea.”
The Colts raised questions about the footballs when linebacker D’Qwell Jackson intercepted a Tom Brady pass in the second quarter.
Jackson reportedly gave the ball to someone on the Colts equipment staff, who then told head coach Chuck Pagano, who passed the information on to general manager Ryan Grigson, who then got in touch with the league.
Andrew Luck, who led the league with 40 touchdown passes, had the worst playoff game of his career, throwing for 126 yards on 12-of-33 passing with two interceptions and a quarterback rating of 23.
That said, with the lopsidedness of the score, Colts tight end Dwayne Allen called the issue a nonstory and tweeted, “They could have played with soap for balls and beat us. Simply the better team. We have to continue to build.”
Still, opinions around the league varied. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was vocal about his preferences for an overinflated football.
Wilson’s said he wasn’t nearly as picky.
“Just as long as they have laces,” Wilson said. “I’m good to go.”
Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell echoed the sentiment.
“We throw whatever’s given to us,” Bevell said. “If it’s flat, we’re in trouble.”
From a receiver’s perspective, Seahawks wideout Jermaine Kearse said he never gave a second thought to the football specs either.
“I just catch footballs as they come,” Kearse said. “It could be a tennis ball out there and if they throw it to me I’ll try to catch it.”
He was more in disbelief about how much attention the issue’s gotten. So much so, that he channeled his inner Allen Iverson.
“Honestly, this is so funny because we’re really talking about footballs right now,” Kearse said. “We’re not talking about the game. We’re talking about footballs. Not the game. But the balls.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.