President Obama gave the New England Patriots a hard time about the “Deflategate” scandal on Thursday.

"I usually tell jokes at these events, but I was worried 11 of 12 of them would fall flat,” Obama joked during a ceremony honoring the Patriots' Super Bowl title on the South Lawn.

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The crowd let out an audible groan at the president's jab.

The president conceded that the "whole story got blown a little out of proportion."
 
The Patriots' championship run was clouded by allegations that a team employee deflated 11 out its 12 footballs during the AFC Championship game.

Team owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and starting quarterback Tom Brady, who was not in attendance at the White House ceremony, have denied any wrongdoing.

In February, an NFL.com report found that only one football was severely deflated.

Later, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowksi — who was the butt of an Obama joke about “keeping his shirt on” — quipped that the prohibition on alcohol at the event might not have applied to the president.

“There’s no drinking,” Gronkowski said, according to CBS Boston. “Maybe the president was being wasted, but … from his deflate joke.”

Joking aside, the president congratulated the Patriots on their fourth Super Bowl title since the turn of the century.

“The Patriots organization is as good an organization as there’s ever been in professional sports," he said. "To be able to maintain that kind of consistent excellence is a rare thing in any field, including on the football field."

But in honoring the Patriots, he could not resist plugging his hometown Chicago Bears.

“I wish Boston would share some of those titles with Chicago,” he said.