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New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick says he had "no knowledge" about the controversy surrounding his team and deflated footballs.

"In my entire coaching career, I have never talked to any player or staff member about football air pressure," he said in an opening statement at a news conference today.

Belichick added that he had "no knowledge of this situation until Monday morning."

Did the New England Patriots tamper with the footballs used in the AFC Championship Game? The NFL is asking that question, after the host Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, in rainy conditions Sunday.

As a cold rain poured down, the New England Patriots crushed the Super Bowl dreams of the Indianapolis Colts with a 45-7 victory.

The Patriots established their lead early, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter. The Colts scored one touchdown in the second quarter, but after a Patriots field goal, New England still entered halftime 10 points in the lead.

Updated at 6:33p.m. ET:

The Seattle Seahawks have defeated the Green Bay Packers to win the NFC title and earn their ticket to Super Bowl XLIX.

Seattle won 28-22 in a game that saw the Packers pull out to a commanding early lead — going into the half 16-0. Seattle gained traction, however, scoring touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to close the gap.

A simple summary of the mood swings for Patriots fans on Saturday would be high–low–high–low–high.

It wasn’t easy, but the New England Patriots earned a spot in the AFC Championship Game with a wild 35-31 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

This was the fourth playoff meeting between the Patriots and Ravens at Gillette Stadium since January 2010. In the parking lot before the game, Patriots fan and South Boston resident Stefan Laurides said the fact that Baltimore won two of the first three didn’t make him nervous.

This weekend's NFL playoffs include a faceoff between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. That game is being billed as the second "Ice Bowl."

These teams have played each other often since that cold game on Dec. 31, 1967, but this is the first time since then they'll meet for a playoff at Lambeau Field.

The temperature that day was minus 15. But while it will be cold in Green Bay this Sunday, it won't be that cold.

"I feel fine except for my face," says Packers CEO Mark Murphy.

Military Rehab Program Welcomes NFL Retirees

Jan 5, 2015

Since 1993, the Eisenhower Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., has been working to rehabilitate veterans of the military who’ve suffered traumatic brain injuries in combat. Recently, the center’s program called After the Impact has also begun serving football players experiencing impairment as a result of concussions or sub-concussive hits.

Today, like every Sunday in the fall, millions of Americans are tuning in to watch some of the country's most popular sport: football.

And for several million of them, your regular ol' football game isn't fast-paced enough: They're tuning in to NFL RedZone.

NFL RedZone is the frenetic channel run by the NFL Network that, for seven hours straight, switches between football games in an endeavor to show every single score of as many as 12 simultaneous games.

The University of New Hampshire Wildcats are heading into a do-or-die quarterfinal football game this week against the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

And whether they win or not, there's one thing you can say about the Wildcats: They are likely the only football team in America trying to reduce concussions by practicing without helmets.

Football has a concussion problem, from the National Football League down to Pee-Wee teams. And there are lots of efforts out there to fix it.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton suffered two fractured in his back Tuesday but escaped without other injury, after a vehicle he was driving crashed around 12:30 p.m. ET. The truck reportedly flipped several times on a bridge in central Charlotte, where Church Street passes over Interstate 277.

"The severity of Newton's injuries was not immediately available but witnesses told Channel 9 that Newton's truck flipped four times," WSOC Channel 9 TV reports.

Jamelle Bouie / Creative Commons

First and foremost, we're really sorry about the Wally Lamb cell phone connection. Do not adjust your radio (or streaming device).

It's the usual three-ring circus on the Scramble today starting with the five players for the St. Louis Rams who put their hands up in a "Don't Shoot" gesture during their introductions for Sunday's game. That gesture, of course, has become part of the iconography of the Ferguson Missouri story, and we talk to ESPN the Magazine's Howard Bryant about the role athletes play in raising consciousness and defying conventional news narratives.

Thanks to a massive snowstorm in western New York state, the National Football League has moved the Buffalo Bills' home game against the New York Jets this weekend to Detroit.

More than 5 feet of snow have fallen in some areas and even more had been expected by Friday.

Agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency conducted surprise inspections of the staff of at least three National Football League teams on Sunday.

CNN reports:

"The DEA questioned the medical and training staffs of the San Francisco 49ers following the team's 16-10 victory at the New York Giants, agency spokesman Rusty Payne told CNN.

With the fall season come littered leaves, new television lineups and the sport that can't stop stirring up controversy: football.

Rough tackles and concussions worry many parents. And no wonder. Research cited by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons suggests that more than a third of college football players have had one concussion and 20 percent have had more than one.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Here on The Nose today, we're at least potentially talking about high-tech employers who offer egg freezing as a benefit for female employees, a proposal to get rid of high school football, the sinking sensation that it's time - or too late - to fight back against Amazon, and the Florida debate that almost broke down because of a candidate's use of a fan at the podium.

That familiar old preface we so often hear — usually from long-winded people — is: "To make a long story short." I've noticed lately that that expression has become more common, but, to make a long story short, it's been shortened to just "long story short." I'll even bet it's gotten initialed in the text universe to LSS.

Probably the three biggest recent stories involving women in sports have been Mo'ne Davis, Michele Roberts and Becky Hammon.

When an NFL defender picks off a pass and runs it back for a touchdown, the celebration is often spirited. But referees in Monday night's game took exception to Kansas City's Husain Abdullah actions after he slid in the end zone and prostrated himself, imposing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.

The play quickly became a hot topic on social media, where many criticized a penalty for what qualifies as a quiet gesture in the NFL, where excited players are known to point at themselves, others, and the sky, sometimes while making crude gestures.

Bill Simmons, the ESPN commentator whose Twitter bio reads in part "Grantland boss + columnist, @30for30 co-creator, NBA Countdown co-host, BS Report host," will not be doing most of those jobs for three weeks after using the last of them — host of the podcast The BS Report — to call NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a liar, and to dare ESPN to discipline him.

On Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell broke a week of silence following the release of a video that showed former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his then-fiancee.

Goodell apologized for his role in the NFL's handling of the matter.

During a news conference on Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell promised that the league "will get our house in order."

Goodell announced that former FBI Director Robert Mueller will lead an investigation of the way the league handled the Ray Rice case, and he said that at the end of the process the league will implement new conduct policies.

Two more players were benched by NFL teams on Wednesday over allegations of domestic violence.

First, the Carolina Panthers placed their star defensive end Greg Hardy on the exempt list and then the Arizona Cardinals deactivated running back Jonathan Dwyer.

This has been called a long and tough week for the NFL. But ESPN's Hannah Storm asked some tough questions on Sunday's SportsCenter that show how hard the week has been for the league's fans — especially for parents who struggle to reconcile their love for the game with its off-field violence.

A lifelong football fan who's also the mother of three daughters, Storm didn't hold back on her emotions when discussing the NFL's response to what she calls the "horrific Ray Rice elevator video" – and how it also dominated conversations in her home.

Marine Corp New York / Creative Commons

I root for the Green Bay Packers...and not casually. As I speak, there's a Green Bay Packers mug nearby, on weekends I wear a Packers cap and use Packers shopping bags. Most disturbingly, in the long, long off-season, I subscribe to services which provide me with daily obsessive updates on anything going on in Packers land. And, I read them even though nothing really is going on. 

Update, 11 p.m.:

The NFL is bringing in former FBI Director Robert Mueller to investigate how the league handled evidence in the Ray Rice case, a reporter for the league's website said Wednesday night.

The original story continues below:

The National Football League is denying a report that it received a video from police that shows former Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer.

The NFL commissioner says the league has been "very open and honest," in its handling of the Ray Rice controversy.

If you haven't been keeping up, Rice was suspended indefinitely from the NFL after a video showed him hitting his then-fiancee in an elevator. After watching only part of the video, which showed Rice dragging Janay Rice out of the elevator, the NFL had originally suspended Rice for two games.

UConnHuskies.com

UConn starting quarterback Casey Cochran has decided to end his football career because of multiple concussions.

Cochran, a sophomore from Monroe, suffered a concussion in the first game of the season. It was his third concussion at UConn. Cochran and his family met with UConn's medical and coaching staff late last week and after that meeting, decided to call it quits.

The NFL built its fortunes on a series of ever-expanding TV contracts worth billions of dollars showing hundreds of games to tens of millions of fans. Now a tabloid news shop has brought all conversation about the NFL to a standstill by posting a silent video lasting less than four minutes.

Keith Allison / Creative Commons

The National Football League's punishment for acts of domestic violence is too lenient, according to U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. He responded to the new video showing former NFL player Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancée unconscious in an elevator.

A leaked video of the altercation between football star Ray Rice and his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, that took place earlier this year has led the Baltimore Ravens to terminate Rice's contract.

The NFL says Rice has also been suspended indefinitely.

The newly released video shows the couple in an apparent argument before Palmer collapses after being hit in the face. It emerged early Monday, days before Rice's two-game suspension over the incident had been set to end.

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