TIME Football

NFL Says Patriots Likely Used Deflated Balls in First Half of Colts Game

The league says its "Deflategate" investigation is ongoing and has included interviews with almost 40 people

The NFL released a statement on its investigation into Deflategate on Friday.

The league said it has conducted nearly 40 interviews so far, including of “Patriots personnel, game officials, and third parties with relevant information and expertise.” It also continues to obtain evidence in the form of video and other electronic information.

The NFL said the evidence “thus far supports the conclusion that footballs that were under-inflated were used by the Patriots in the first half.” The league confirmed that prior to the game, the balls were all tested and found to be of satisfactory inflation, and that the balls were all properly inflated for the second half and remained that way.

As it continues its investigation, the NFL retained the investigatory firm Renaissance Associates, who use sophisticated forensic expertise to “assist in reviewing electronic and video information.” From the NFL:

The goals of the investigation will be to determine the explanation for why footballs used in the game were not in compliance with the playing rules and specifically whether any noncompliance was the result of deliberate action. We have not made any judgments on these points and will not do so until we have concluded our investigation and considered all of the relevant evidence.

The league said the Patriots have pledged their “full cooperation” and have made both personnel and information available for the investigation.

On Thursday, New England quarterback Tom Brady said he “didn’t alter the balls in any way,” while coach Bill Belichick said he was shocked to hear about the controversy.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.


Bye Bye, Bud: Selig Left His Mark On Baseball

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig speaks to the media at Yankee Stadium on September 23, 2014. Jim McIsaac—Getty Images

Bud Selig was never the most charismatic public face of baseball. But his job was never to inspire

One thing everyone can agree on: It’s the right time for Bud Selig to hand over the keys.

Selig, baseball’s commissioner since 1992, officially leaves the job Saturday. Rob Manfred, a long-time deputy, takes over. Selig, 80, took baseball to a new place. He’s left his mark. Let’s see what the new guy can do. (Manfred seems fond, for example, of trying to speed up the game. That’s good news.)

Bud Selig was never the most charismatic public face of baseball. But his job was never to inspire. In sports, the players, and sometimes the coaches, do that. Commissioners are tasked with growing their sports for their bosses—the owners—and keeping the games fair. Baseball produces almost $10 billion in annual revenue; the game made just over a billion yearly when Selig took over. Local television deals, in particular, are flourishing. In a media world obsessed with “content,” baseball, with its 162-game schedule and hot-stove intrigue, benefits. Selig’s team was smart enough to capitalize on this: MLB Advanced Media, baseball’s tech engine, has minted millions. Interleague play, and the expanded playoffs, have been good for business.

As for fair play: The controversy over performance enhancing drugs has been picked over plenty. Whether or not Selig was willfully blind to the 1990’s steroid boom, it happened under his watch. Selig’s push for tougher drug testing wasn’t some heroic response. It was the only prudent one, and testing still has flaws. Remember, Alex Rodriguez may have copped to his 2010-2012 drug use. But he did not fail a test during that time.

Selig instituted revenue sharing, and even teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals, hopeless during most of Selig’s tenure, eventually became winners. His hawkish approach to controlling labor costs contributed to the 1994 strike. Like steroids, the work stoppage stains his resume. But since that disaster, baseball has enjoyed two decades of labor peace. Selig deserves some credit.

He also deserves blame for one of the dumbest polices in sports: giving home field advantage in the World Series to the league that wins the All-Star game, instead of the team with the better record. This gimmick defies logic and fairness. Manfred should reverse it.

One of Manfred’s more serious challenges will be to bring more cultural cachet back to baseball. That unquantifiable spark, buzz, whatever you want to call it. The game consists of thriving fiefdoms, but lacks the national bonds we’ve seen with players in other sports, like LeBron James and Peyton Manning. Baseball’s gone hyper-local: You can obsessively watch your team daily, on all kinds of devices. Maybe Manfred will tap into some marketing magic to make more young people fall for Mike Trout, Yasiel Puig, and other emergent stars. Maybe he’ll push baseball beyond the bottom line.

That’s something Selig just wasn’t wired to do.

TIME Sports

See Photos of an Early Version of Frisbee on a College Green in 1950

Before Wham-O began selling Frisbees on this day in 1957, college students made do with another kind of flying disc

There’s no dispute around the fact that Fred Morrison sold the rights to his “Pluto Platter,” the object that would later become known as the Frisbee, to the Wham-O toy company in 1957. But the makeshift predecessor to the plastic Frisbee–a pie tin repurposed for a game of catch–has a murkier origin story.

Morrison said that he and his then-future wife used to toss popcorn container lids to one another, and later cake pans. Local lore in New Haven, Conn., pegs the pie tin tradition to Yale students who began tossing tins from the Frisbie Pie Company–based up the road in Bridgeport–as early as the 1920s. But even among New Haven old-timers, there is disagreement as to whether the tradition originated on campus or was brought there by students returning from war.

Regardless of who thought of it first, these photographs of students at Kenyon College in Ohio tossing around a pie tin in 1950 provide visual evidence of the pastime’s popularity. Though the more organized sport of Ultimate Frisbee wasn’t conceived until the late 1960s, some of the photos suggest a group activity that extends beyond a simple game of catch.

The photos, which never ran in LIFE, were made by Eliot Elisofon for a story about the changing place of the “Educated Man” in contemporary society. The photos that did accompany the article, published in October 1950, featured students in the midst of more academic pursuits–hunched over books and practicing Latin, for example. Though the author, historian and philosopher Jacques Barzon, wrote much about baseball during his long career, he didn’t concern himself much with sport here. “We can understand hobbies,” he wrote, but “we tend to fear scholarly studies.”

Once Wham-O began selling the Frisbee seven years after these images were made, the toy’s popularity soared, thanks to a baby boom that significantly increased the number of children looking for toys to play with and parents’ growing disposable income to buy them with. An increasingly sophisticated plastic industry also contributed to the Frisbee’s aerodynamic design.

Though the Bridgeport factory closed in 1958, Frisbie brand pies are made today in Worcester, Mass. So even today, you can have your pie and throw it, too.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

TIME tennis

Andreas Seppi Upsets Roger Federer in Australian Open Third Round

XXX of ZZZZ plays a forehand in his/her third round match against XXXX of ZZZZZ during day five of the 2015 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.
Roger Federer looks on during his match against Andreas Seppi at the Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Jan. 23, 2015 Quinn Rooney—Getty Images

MELBOURNE — Three quick thoughts on Andreas Seppi’s upset over Roger Federer on Friday on Rod Laver Arena.

1) The ball wafted in the air, like a balloon caught in a breeze. It was break point in the second set and Andreas Seppi, a 30-year-old Italian journeyman was improbably leading the great Roger Federer. Though Federer could have hit an fairly easy overhead, the balls was veering toward the alley and Federer casually let it bounce. The shot landed gently and kissed the line. And suddenly Seppi was up a set and a break of serve. In those few seconds, Roger Federer’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day here at the Australian Open was duly summarized. He doomed by unfortunate luck, unfortunate decision making and, ultimately an unfortunate result.

In tournament’s biggest upset, Federer was dispatched in round three, 6-4, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6. Call this the first major plot point of this event.

2) Let’s unload due credit on Seppi, ranked No. 46. Here is a longtime ATP rank-and-file who scored the signature win of his career. He had never beaten Federer in their 10 career meetings and taken only one set. He was steady and brave today, recovering after losing the third set. There were few flashes of brilliance, but he served steadily, endured a partisan crowd and met the moment in the fourth set tiebreaker—including a brilliant shot on match point—and won the match. But, truly, this result was more about Federer losing than Seppi winning. By any measure, it was a rotten day at the office. His backhand lacked punch. His movement was sluggish. The shanks that were so prevalent in 2013 made an unwelcome reappearance. Leading in the second-set tiebreaker, Federer played a few loose points and quickly lost the set. After a valiant fightback to win the third set, Federer played another lousy tiebreaker—double-faulting away a lead–and it was arrivederci…

3) This result will trigger a round of hand-wringing about the state of Federer universam. Is his body waging war with itself? Is time finally starting to wage war? What the hell happened today? It’s a fair line of inquiry— especially given the caliber of opponent and the dismal stat sheet. But here’s a plea for reason. Less than two weeks ago on the same surface, Federer beat both Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic. Federer has now lost one match this year. Same as Djokovic and Nadal and Nishikori. Federer is unlikely to provide much insight: in 2013, he suffered a string of similar losses and, gamely, didn’t mention a back injury. This isn’t how Federer wanted to start his grand Slam campaign. That’s an understatement. But there’s a lot more tennis to play this year. His season will continue. So will this tournament. Albeit without the biggest star.

This article originally appeared on SI.com


Jeff Gordon Will Not Compete for Championship After 2015 Season

2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards - Show
Jeff Gordon speaks during the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards at Wynn Las Vegas on Dec. 5, 2014 Ethan Miller—Getty Images

Four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will run his final full-time season in 2015, he announced on Thursday.

Gordon, 43, has raced in the Cup Series since 1992 for Hendrick Motorsports. He had four wins, three poles and 14 top-fives en route to finishing in sixth place in the Chase last season.

He declined to say he is retiring, because he remains open to racing on a limited basis after this season.

As a race car driver, much of what I’ve done throughout my life has been based on following my instincts and trying to make good decisions,” Gordon said. “I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the offseason, and I’ve decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. I won’t use the ‘R-word’ because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there’s always the possibility I’ll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that.

“I don’t foresee a day when I’ll ever step away from racing. I’m a fan of all forms of motor sports, but particularly NASCAR. We have a tremendous product, and I’m passionate about the business and its future success. As an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports, I’m a partner with Rick (Hendrick) and will remain heavily involved with the company for many years to come. It means so much to have the chance to continue working with the owner who took a chance on me and the incredible team that’s stood behind me every step of the way.

Gordon won his first championship as a 23-year-old in 1994 and also won titles in 1997, 1998 and 2001. His 92 Cup wins and 77 poles are each No. 3 all-time.

He won the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indy Motor Speedway in 1994 and has won the event a record five times. He is also a three-time Daytona 500 champion.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Soccer

Hope Solo’s Husband Driving U.S. Soccer Team Van During DUI Arrest

Hope Solo and husband Jerramy Stevens exit the court room at Kirkland Municipal Court in Washington on Nov. 4, 2014 Suzi Pratt—Getty Images

U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo’s husband was driving a U.S. Soccer van when he was arrested for DUI on Monday morning, Sports Illustrated‘s Grant Wahl reported Thursday on SI Now.

On Wednesday, Solo was suspended 30 days by U.S. Soccer for a “poor decision,” according to U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis’ statement. U.S. Soccer didn’t offer any more specifics on what led to the suspension.

At 1:30 a.m. on Monday, Solo’s husband — former NFL tight end Jerramy Stevens — was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Southern California. Police said Solo was in the car at the time, but she was not arrested or detained. TMZ first reported that Stevens was driving a U.S. Soccer van when he was arrested.

Wahl reports that Solo’s 30-day suspension is due in part to a recent pattern of behavior by the goalkeeper. Last week, a judge dismissed domestic violence charges against Solo.

After the suspension was announced, Solo released a statement on her Facebook page.

I accept and respect the Federation’s decision, and more importantly, I apologize for disappointing my teammates, coaches and the Federation who have always supported me. I think it’s best for me to take a break, decompress from the stress of the last several months, and come back mentally and physically ready to positively contribute to the team.

The suspension will cause Solo to miss February friendlies against France and England. The USWNT, which has already qualified for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, is currently in training camp in Carson, Calif.

Solo has 159 caps with the USWNT and broke the U.S. women’s record for career shutouts last September.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Super Bowl

Watch a Scientist Put ‘Deflategate’ Under the Microscope

The science behind the New England Patriots scandal

The New England Patriots have been under fire amid allegations that 11 of the 12 balls they used in their AFC Championship Game win were inflated significantly below the NFL’s requirements. While the league has yet to rule on whether the Patriots cheated their way to the Super Bowl—both coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady denied any wrongdoing Thursday—science can give us some answers.

Ainissa Ramirez, scientist and co-author of Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game, breaks down whether the cold weather could account for the footballs deflating about two pounds each, how players might take advantage of a deflated ball, and what players have done to manipulate balls in the past.

TIME Football

Tom Brady on Deflategate: ‘I Didn’t Alter the Balls in Any Way’

"I would never have someone do something that was outside the rules"

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady denied altering the air pressure of the balls used in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

“I didn’t alter the balls in any way,” he said in a press conference on Thursday.

Brady added that he has a “process” he goes through before games where he chooses which balls he wants to use in the game. After choosing the balls, “I don’t want anyone touching them,” he said.

“I would never have someone do something that was outside the rules,” Brady added.

After the Patriots defeated the Colts, New England was accused of playing with balls that were inflated below league requirements. Subsequent investigations found that 11 of the Patriots’ 12 footballs were, in fact, under-inflated by two pounds of air (psi), based on league regulations, sparking reaction all across the NFL. It was later revealed that the 12th football was also under-inflated, but by less than two psi.

It was reported on Wednesday that the 12 footballs were properly inspected and approved by referee Walt Anderson prior to kickoff.

On Thursday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he was shocked to hear about the Deflategate controversy and had no explanation for the under-inflated footballs.

On Monday morning, Brady said he had no idea what the controversy was about, and that the under-inflated footballs were the “last of [his] worries.”

The Patriots will play the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, Feb. 1. at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME hockey

Angry Hockey Dad Smashes Safety Glass After Penalty Miss

"Way to go, Paul"

Sometimes people get a little too excited about sports, even if that sport is youth hockey. A parent gave a great example of this at recent tournament in York, Penn., when he became upset with a missed penalty call.

The father slaps the glass which somehow deteriorates under his hand sending shards all over the ice.

The York Daily Record spoke with the arena’s president, who said the man wedding ring concentrated the impact causing the safety glass to crumble.

“He broke the (wedding) ring,” Menzer said. “Apparently, his hand wasn’t in great shape either.”

Be sure to listen closely for the parent who drops a perfect “Way to go, Paul” after the refs stop the game while the glass is cleaned up.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Football

Seahawks Running Back Marshawn Lynch Fined $20K for Gesture

Running back Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks on the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Dec. 21, 2014 in Glendale, Ariz.
Running back Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks on the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Dec. 21, 2014 in Glendale, Ariz. Christian Petersen—Getty Images

This is the athlete's second fine of the same nature this season

The NFL fined Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch $20,000 for an obscene gesture he made during the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, reports ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter.

Lynch made the gesture after he scored a 24-yard touchdown with 1:25 left in the fourth quarter to give the Seahawks a 22-19 lead. The Seahawks won the game 28-22 in overtime to advance to Super Bowl XLIX.

Lynch, who ran for 157 yards against Green Bay, was also fined $11,000 for a similar gesture he made after a touchdown during a Week 16 game against the Arizona Cardinals.

According to Schefter, the NFL is also considering fining Lynch for not speaking to the media after the game. Earlier this season, Lynch lost his appeal of a $100,000 fine for not speaking to the media.

An NFL official told Schefter that fines will be increased for each media session Lynch does not attend the week before the Super Bowl.

Lynch is scheduled and required to speak next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

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