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Lawmakers said Wednesday the New England Patriots should be able to play in the Super Bowl on Feb. 1 despite an investigation that found the team significantly deflated their footballs in last Sunday’s conference championship. 

Even Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks fans in Congress said the game should go on after the Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts in the semi-final.

{mosads}“Definitely, definitely,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said when asked if the Patriots should be able to play in less than two weeks. “I don’t think it’s that much of a big deal.”

Cummings, the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he’s always supported “fairness in sports” and added, “I think they need to look into it, and if they deem that they deflated the footballs below the standard, they ought to face the music.” 

Sound crazy to ask lawmakers about an investigation of alleged NFL cheating? There’s precedent. 

In 2008, then-Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, called for an independent investigation of the Patriots after allegations they had videotaped opposing coaches’ signals in a scandal known as “Spygate.”

The Patriots are again at the center of the storm after an initial investigation by the NFL found the Patriots significantly deflated 11 of their 12 footballs in advance of their game earlier this month against the Indianapolis Colts. Officials regularly inspect each team’s footballs about two hours before a game.

An underinflated football is easier to grip and catch and the NFL requires footballs to be inflated 12.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch and weigh between 14 and 15 ounces.

The Patriots destroyed the Colts 45-7, but some players and lawmakers say the charges make them wonder about the score.

“From the beginning, we knew the Patriots would do anything they could to win,” said Colts fan Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.). “We’re convinced that the score would have been just exactly the opposite had they not had deflated footballs.” 

Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson noticed something unusual about the ball Sunday when he intercepted it in second quarter of the game, ESPN reported. Newsday said Jackson gave the ball to a member of the equipment staff. 

Asked if the Patriots should be allowed to play in the Super Bowl, Coats joked, “I think they should be banned from football for at least 10 years…this is a matter of national impact and important and I think it should go all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Ravens fan Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said he was concerned the Patriots devised a similar strategy when the Baltimore Ravens lost to New England a week earlier in a much tigher contest. The Maryland senator, however, downplayed the idea of Congress investigating the deflated footballs.

“I think that once we have resolved the state budget, and have gotten a transportation bill done, and gotten immigration reform and tax reform, we’ll be ready to take up the football issue,” Cardin joked.

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) said it’s up to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to determine whether the Patriots should move forward to face his beloved Seahawks.

“They know that they only have to pay $25,000 fine. It’s like a slap on the wrist,” McDermott said of the Patriots’ possible punishment. “Or maybe lose a draft choice, but that’s his decision. We played hard against Green Bay, made it, and we’re going to play hard against [the Patriots] and we’ll see what happens.” 

“It’ll be a good game and I expect us to win by a few points.”

Tags Ben Cardin Dan Coats Jim McDermott

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