Deflate-gate: Fans say the Patriots are 'cheaters'

January 26, 2015, 4:07 PM UTC

People tend to see the Patriots as cheaters following the controversy over underinflated balls

The weekend before last the New England Patriots fought their way to the Super Bowl, beating the Colts 45-7. It quickly emerged however that the balls used during the game had been underinflated and the NFL is now formally investigating the controversy. The head coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick, has blamed the underinflation on 'climatic conditions'. 

75% of the country have heard about the controversy surrounding the underinflated balls, and 38% of Americans say that the Patriots cheated by playing these balls. 24% say that they didn't cheat, but the largest group is narrowly the 39% of Americans who flat out say that they don't care about whether or not the Patriots are cheaters. Among people who say that they follow professional football, 50% believe that the Patriots cheated while 31% say that they didn't. 

There has been speculation that the head coach of the Patriots, Bill Belichick, could be suspended from the Super Bowl as punishment for the underinflated balls. Overall, Americans who care about the issue are nearly evenly divided, with 31% saying he should be suspended and 26% saying that he shouldn't. Among football fans opinion is split down the middle, with 39% backing a suspension for Belichick and 38% opposing it. 

Full poll results can be found here.