Christie channels Tom Brady in New Hampshire – By BEN SCHRECKINGER 5/8/15 2:32 PM EDT

Struggling New Jersey governor invokes besieged quarterback on his home turf.

Chris Christie is pictured. | AP Photo

Chris Christie just threw a Hail Mary in New Hampshire.

Behind in the polls, with his former staffers facing indictments in one court and his signature pension reform facing implosion in another, the New Jersey governor rushed to defend a scandal-plagued leader Granite State voters can definitely get behind: Tom Brady.

“I think there’s a little bit too much attention on this,” said Christie of reports that the New England Patriots quarterback was probably complicit in a plot to tamper with the footballs he used in games, calling the scandal “way, way overblown” in a Thursday interview with IJReview.

“I don’t think anybody is really trying to say that Tom Brady won four super bowls or became a future Hall of Famer because the balls were a little under inflated,” Christie added. “I think the media and others love for somebody who is married to a beautiful model, who is richer than you can imagine and who is a future Hall of Famer, to take a couple of shots at him? People like that every once in a while.”

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The Crazy Final Minutes of the Super Bowl, in Five Vines – By Ben Mathis-Lilley FEB. 1 2015 10:21 PM

Patriots Win Super Bowl After Shocking Last-Second Goal-Line Interception

Malcolm Butler intercepted a Russell Wilson pass on the goal line with 20 seconds left as the New England Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in a thrilling, confounding Super Bowl XLIX.

Tom Brady threw a touchdown to Julian Edelman with just over two minutes left to give the Patriots the lead.

But with just a minute to go, Jermaine Kearse bobbled and caught a tipped pass to put the Seahawks in scoring position in the most unlikely fashion.

At Long Last: It’s Super Sunday – Tom Goldman FEBRUARY 01, 2015 5:31 AM ET

Football pundits say could be one of the closest, most exciting championship games ever.

Football pundits say could be one of the closest, most exciting championship games ever. Charlie Riedel/AP

Are you ready for 17 and a half minutes of football???!!!!

That, according to a study by the Media Education Foundation, is how much live football action there was in last year’s Super Bowl. And pretty much what we can expect Sunday when the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 49.

But even if actual football is just a sliver of the four-hour NBC broadcast, it’s still a relief finally to be done with the pre-Super Bowl week of hype — which ran the gamut this year from frivolous to ominous.

There was talk and more talk about footballs losing air and Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch ceding air (time). There was Tom Brady’s cold — he’s better — and Bill Belichick’s love of monkey puppets. Really Bill? You call that a “stuffed animal?”

There was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell trying to move on from the league’s “tough year,” and reporters saying not so fast — a lot of questions are still unanswered.

But today all the talk ends, as attention turns to what football pundits say could be one of the closest, most exciting championship games ever.

There’s been no shortage of statistics and scenarios explaining why the Patriots will win their fourth Super Bowl of the 2000s — the team’s first since 2005 — and confirm their dynasty status. There’s just as much fodder for why Seattle will become the ninth team to win back-to-back titles and secure its own dynasty label.

The teams have identical 14-4 records. In general, Seattle’s offense has leaned more on the running of Lynch, whose “Beast Mode” nickname captures his churning, relentless style. New England’s offense relies on the brilliant pocket passing of quarterback Brady.

Still, the Seahawks won a thrilling NFC Championship game thanks to quarterback Russell Wilson’s dazzling throws in overtime; and New England running back LeGarrette Blount was beastly himself in the AFC title game, running for 148 yards and three touchdowns.

The point is, both teams can win throwing and running the ball. Although for each offensive unit, a formidable defense stands in the way.

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Is Hosting the Super Bowl Worth It?

The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots will square off Sunday in Super Bowl XLIX with the specter of “deflategate” – allegations that the Patriots used underinflated footballs during their victory over the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago – hanging overhead. Seattle is looking to win its second consecutive title, while the Patriots are looking for their fourth championship and first since 2005.


But the matchup on the field is just one battle over the big game. Outside the confines of University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, which is where the game will be played this year, the question of whether it is worth it for a city to host the Super Bowl is gaining new attention after Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers said, “I totally believe we will lose money on this.” Weiers, who said that the city could lose millions of dollars playing host, has pushed for a measure that would have the state reimburse Glendale for its costs; that effort was shut down by the state legislature. “I’m not anti-Super Bowl or anti-NFL. I just want to make sure my citizens are covered,” Weiers told the New York Times.

The National Football League and Super Bowl organizers consistently claim that the game provides economic benefits to the host city. Economists, though, consistently find the opposite: The Super Bowl confers no significant economic boost and pre-game economic impact estimates are almost always too rosy. “The hosting of a Super Bowl can drive people away from the city for fear of congestion, high prices and heightened security,” explained sports economist Andrew Zimbalist. “Hosting also imposes additional security and hospitality costs on a host city. When Super Bowls are hosted in warm climate cities, the likelihood that football fans are simply replacing sun lovers, golfers, tennis players and recreational fishermen is all the greater.”

Still, being the host has its defenders.”There is something dubious about all the criticism this city of about 230,000 west of Phoenix has received ahead of the Super Bowl,” wrote the Wall Street Journal’s Kevin Helliker. Robert Tuchman, president of the sports and entertainment marketing company Goviva, said, “the value that [the NFL is] bringing to [the host] definitely far outweighs the demands that they put on those cities, or what they have to succumb to, to actually host the event.”

So is hosting the Super Bowl worth it? Here is the Debate Club’s take:

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The New England Patriots’ deflated footballs scandal, explained – Updated by Joseph Stromberg on January 23, 2015, 2:00 p.m. ET

The footballs used by the New England Patriots during the first half of the AFC Championship were under-inflated, according to an NFL investigation. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, 11 of the 12 balls used had less than the amount of air pressure mandated by the league.

Why might the Patriots want under-inflated footballs? In theory, it would have made the balls easier for quarterback Tom Brady to hold and for the team’s receivers to catch during the game’s rainy conditions. Because teams always use their own sets of footballs when they’re on offense, this wouldn’t have helped their opponents, the Indianapolis Colts. For better or worse, this scandal seems to have been unofficially named Deflate-gate.

11 of the 12 balls used by the patriots on offense were under-inflated

On Thursday, both Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Brady denied any involvement, and the league hasn’t concluded its investigation yet. Importantly, it’s not been established that the under-inflation was the result of a deliberate action by the Patriots.

But if it was, it could mean serious penalties for the Patriots — possibly including fines and lost draft picks. And given previous instances of cheating by the team, it could further tarnish their legacy, even if they win Super Bowl XLIX, giving Brady and Belichick a fourth ring together.

Here’s what we know so far about the situation.

What did the Patriots do?

bill belichick

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, on the sideline of the AFC Championship. (Elsa/Getty Images)

In their game on Sunday, January 18 against the Indianapolis Colts — a game in which the winner would advance to the Super Bowl — the Patriots played part of the game with balls that were under-inflated.

It’s unclear who tipped the Colts off to the Patriots’ under-inflated balls. Initially, it was reported that after catching an interception in the second quarter, Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson noticed the ball was less inflated than usual, but he’s since denied noticing anything.

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer has reported, meanwhile, that the Patriots’ previous opponent (the Baltimore Ravens) told the Colts that the Patriots’ balls might be under-inflated before the game, and the NFL was already planning to inspect them.

In any event, officials checked the balls at halftime and reportedly found that 11 of the 12 balls the Patriots were using were indeed under-inflated — with about two pounds per square inch less pressure than the minimum 12.5 psi mandated by the league. At that point, they were re-inflated to the proper pressure, and stayed that way for the second half.

Why would the Patriots want to under-inflate footballs?

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NFL ‘deflate-gate’: Brady and Belichick deny any involvement – 22 January 2015 Last updated at 23:05 GMT

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at Jan 23, 2015 12.13

Super Bowl XLIX

Date: Sunday, 1 February. Venue: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona. Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 live

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady have denied knowledge of a plan to intentionally deflate balls during the win that sent them to the Super Bowl.

The NFL is continuing to investigate claims 11 balls were deflated in the rain-hit 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game.

“I have never talked to anyone about football air pressure,” Belichick said.

Brady said: “I didn’t alter the balls in any way.”

If you deflate a ball in cold or wet conditions, it provides more grip for the quarterback, and it is normal for both teams to use their own set of balls when on offense.

If the claims are proved correct, it would mean balls used by Brady would have been easier to throw than those used by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

“I was completely and totally unaware of this until Monday morning,” Belichick said at a news conference. “That is not a subject that I have ever brought up.

“To me the footballs are approved by the league and game officials pre-game and we play with what is out there. That is the only way that I have ever thought about that.”

Tom BradyTom Brady – who has thrown 33 touchdowns this season – addressed the media on Thursday afternoon

He added that in future the Patriots would inflate the balls to a higher level “to account for any possible change during the game”.

Brady – who has won three Superbowls – said: “The integrity of the game is very important. I have always played within the rules.

“I get the snap, I drop back, I throw the ball. I don’t sit there and try to squeeze it and determine [the pressure].

“I don’t like the fact that this has taken away from some of the accomplishment of what we have achieved as a team.”

The issue has dominated the early build-up to the Pats’ appearance in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks in Phoenix, Arizona, on 1 February, with the team famously having broken NFL rules in the past.

In 2007, the NFL fined Belichick $500,000 and the Patriots $250,000, along with forfeiture of a draft pick, for videotaping an opponent’s defensive signals.