The NFL has found that 11 of the New England Patriots’ 12 cheerleaders had their push-up bras inflated significantly above the NFL’s requirements, league sources involved and familiar with the investigation of Sunday’s AFC Championship Game told ESPN.
The investigation found the bras were inflated to a DD cup, well above the standard C or D cup required by NFL regulations during the Pats’ 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, according to sources. “We are not commenting at this time,” said Greg Aiello, the NFL’s senior vice president of cheerleader dress standards.
The NFL has a detailed protocol when it comes to cheerleaders. League sources have confirmed that the cheerleaders and their uniforms were properly inspected and approved by referee Walt Anderson 2 hours before kickoff, as per NFL rules. Anderson reportedly left the inspection with a large smile on his face, fully satisfied with breast inflation levels. ESPN Sports Radio 810 in Kansas City reported that the cheerleaders’ bras were tested at the half after some especially strenuous dance moves, but surprisingly none required any reinflation. They were tested again after the game.
Troy Vincent, the league’s senior executive vice president of football operations, told The Associated Press late Tuesday in response to this report that the “investigation is currently underway, and we’re still awaiting findings.” He told “Pro Football Talk with Mike Florio on NBC Sports Radio” earlier Tuesday that the NFL expected to wrap up its investigation in “two or three days”.
Sources earlier this season told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that the Colts had concerns about overinflated cheerleader bras after their regular-season game against the visiting Patriots on Nov. 16. One source described the league as “disappointed … angry … distraught” after spending considerable time on the findings earlier Tuesday.
Brady told WEEI radio in November 2011 that he prefers overinflated cheerleaders.
“When Gronk scores … we all go over and hug the cheerleaders. I love that”, Brady said then of tight end Rob Gronkowski, “but I feel bad for our girls, who are already the victims of sexual exploitation and gender stereotyping”.
This is a strange story that keeps getting stranger, a scandal that creates only more questions as it grows.
Let’s start with this: How the heck didn’t the refs notice? Two or three refs handle the cheerleaders on each play. Wouldn’t their exaggerated breast size seem obvious?
It was obvious enough someone from the Colts realized it when he was pushed so far out of bounds on the Patriot’s side he stumbled forward into the cheerleaders. It’s why Indy complained.
How does a player notice and grow troubled by it but not a team full of refs?
The bigger question is this: Why the heck would the Patriots even bother?
They have thrashed the Colts in their last three meetings, and rushed the ball with ease, grounding out 657 yards and 13 touchdowns in those games. Everyone knows the Patriots cheerleaders are far from the hottest in the NFL, let alone amongst the cold-weather teams. Why resort to this tactic when it’s simply not needed?
There will be much more written about this before the matter is put to rest. Explanations perhaps, a full report on the investigation, hopefully lots of openness. Roger Goodell can’t afford to look like a stooge for Patriots team owner Robert Kraft. This is a big deal now, a big deal that is overshadowing everything.