Tight security over Super Bowl game balls in effect

Sun Feb 1, 2015 4:25pm EST
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By Simon Evans

GLENDALE, Arizona (Reuters) - In an effort to avoid another 'deflategate' controversy, the National Football League will monitor game balls for Sunday's Super Bowl more closely than it does for other games during the season.

With a probe looking into whether the New England Patriots used deliberately deflated footballs to gain an edge in their playoff game that clinched a Super Bowl berth, the NFL has issued a reminder about the process for it's biggest game.

Game balls go through a complex series of selection, testing and security ahead of Sunday's 6:30 p.m. ET kickoff. There appears little room for any of the skullduggery that the Patriots have been accused of by some.

After the Patriots and Seattle Seahawks clinched their Super Bowl berths two weeks ago, ball manufacturer Wilson shipped 54 balls to both teams.

"The teams are allowed to prepare and practice with these footballs until the Friday before the Super Bowl," the NFL said in a statement.

"Each team's quarterback can prepare the footballs to suit his preferences — as long as his preferences comply with league specifications, rules and policies."

The NFL's designated equipment manager will then collect the balls, inspect them and eliminate any that are not up to code, which is usually seven to 10 balls, the NFL said.

Approved balls are stored overnight with NFL Security.   Continued...

A young fan of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady holds up a sign before the start of the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Glendale, Arizona, February 1, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson