The 2015 AFC Championship game on January 18, 2015 was a matchup between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 45-7. The scandal now referred to as “Deflategate” centers on footballs thrown by Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady. The controversy began when a Colts linebacker intercepted a pass thrown by Brady in the second quarter. Colts staff believed the football seemed light and when tested, the ball measured less than the standard pounds per square inch, or PSI. Within 24 hours, Colts reporter, Bob Kravitz, tweeted that the Patriots were going to be investigated for deflating game balls. When asked about the allegation, Bill Belichick, Patriots general manager, agreed to full cooperation. This case was chosen because it provides a good example of crisis communication between both the Patriots organization and the National Football League. This situation highlights the act of response without reconnaissance and the many problems that miscommunication between two major organizations. We know what the outcome of the case was, but we took every angle into consideration and clarified how the situation could have been handled differently. Both positive and negative outcomes had their mixture of variables and criticism. Flip through our analysis to see our thoughts and what we would've done differently in this case.


A case study conducted for the course: Public Relations Case Studies. This study reviews the "Deflategate" case and provides comments and suggestions on its outcome.



National Football League, New England Patriots


  • + Crisis management
  • + Spring 2016
  • + In: public relations, research
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