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Did the Patriots Cheat? New England Could Lose Draft Picks Over Something NFL Officials Noticed Sunday Night

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"They were manhandled."

Image via AP

They took the wind out of Andrew Luck's sails — but did they also drain some air from the balls?

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, front, and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) part after speaking following the NFL football AFC Championship game Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots defeated the Colts 45-7 to advance to the Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The New England Patriots wrecked the Indianapolis Colts Sunday evening, winning 45-7 and securing their place against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.

New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (29) scores on a 13-yard touchdown run during the second half of the NFL football AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

But NFL officials are now investigating whether the Patriots drained air from footballs to make them easier to handle in Sunday's windy conditions.

It's not an unheard-of tactic — in 2012, USC was fined for deflating balls.

Bob Kravitz, reporter with Indianapolis station WTHR-TV, tweeted about the investigation early Monday morning, saying the Patriots could lose draft picks if they're found guilty of ball tampering.

Of course, no amount of ball tampering could change the lopsided results of Sunday's game, as Kravitz readily admitted, writing, "Nobody is suggesting [that ball tampering] is why the [C]olts lost obviously. They were manhandled."

(H/T: Daily Mail)

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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