Patriots dealt with Deflategate déjà vu against Chiefs

Larry Brown Sports
Bill Belichick at a press conference

Nov 10, 2023; Frankfurt, Germany; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks to the media before an NFL International Series practice at the Deutcher Fussball-Bund facility. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: there were underinflated footballs during a New England Patriots game.

The Patriots and Chiefs reportedly dealt with a lack of air in the kicking footballs used during their Sunday clash, which resulted in a 27-17 Chiefs win.

According to a report from’s Mark Daniels, the Patriots’ special teamers were “visibly upset” in the locker room at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

The footballs used by both kicking units were reportedly discovered to be underinflated by about 2 pounds. They were inspected at halftime after the Patriots sideline felt something was off with how kickers from both sides performed in the first two quarters. The officials inflated them to 13.5 PSI during the break.

Fans who remember Deflategate are likely well aware of the 12.5 to 13.5 pound-per-square-inch standard that NFL footballs must be kept at. While an underinflated football might be easier for a 7-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback to grip and throw, it’s a nightmare for a kicker to use.

Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker and Patriots kicker Chad Ryland both missed field goals in the game’s second and third drives, respectively.

Butker was wide right on his 39-yard attempt at the 9:56 mark of the first quarter. The miss was his first of the season after going 23-of-23 before Sunday’s contest. Ryland’s kick went wide left with under 4 minutes left in the same quarter.

Butker was also short of a touchback on his opening kickoff, which was reportedly when the Patriots sideline first “noticed something was amiss.” He came into the game with 87.1% of his kickoffs resulting in touchbacks.

However, the issue can’t be pinned on the Patriots this time. By rule, officials have possession of kicking footballs prior to any NFL game. They’re also responsible for ensuring that the balls are properly inflated.

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