By Joseph Beyda
With Super Bowl week officially here, Seahawks corner Richard Sherman ’10 is once again at the center of the NFL media circus.
In his first media session of the week on Jan. 25, Sherman said that he didn’t think the New England Patriots — the Seahawks’ Super Bowl opponent — would be punished for using deflated footballs in the AFC title game.
“Not as long as [Patriots owner] Robert Kraft and [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell are still taking pictures at their respective homes,” Sherman said, referencing a photo the Patriots tweeted on Jan. 17. “Talk about conflict of interest.”
“Deflategate” has taken the NFL by storm leading up to Sunday’s game, as deflated footballs are easier to throw and catch. Each team uses its own set of 12 footballs on offense, and 11 of the Patriots’ balls were found to be significantly below the required air pressure at halftime.
If New England is found responsible for letting air out of the footballs, potential punishments include a fine, a loss of draft picks or a suspension for head coach Bill Belichick.
Earlier last week, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck ’12 — who was on the other side of the field for the AFC title game — downplayed the role of the deflated footballs in the lopsided 45-7 Patriots win.
“Things in the media tend to be blown out of proportion a little bit,” Luck said. “You can’t take anything away from them being a heck of a team.”
However, Luck made bigger headlines when he was asked about the transition from being eliminated in the playoffs to playing in the Pro Bowl.
“The energy is sort of sucked out of you,” Luck said. “You do feel deflated.”
Luck was taken with the first overall pick in the Pro Bowl by one of his AFC South enemies, JJ Watt, who called him “the neckbeard with the arm.” He completed 9 of his 10 passes for 2 touchdowns in the game.
Three Stanford alums will likely be active for Sunday’s Super Bowl: Sherman and Doug Baldwin ’11 for the Seahawks, and Cameron Fleming ’14 for the Patriots.
Contact Joseph Beyda at jbeyda ‘at’ stanford.edu.