- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Most of those who plan to watch the Super Bowl say they believe the New England Patriots deflated the footballs in the AFC championship game, and they also believe that coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady knew about it.

A Rasmussen Reports survey released Tuesday found that 52 percent of adult Super Bowl watchers think the Patriots deflated the footballs in the Jan. 18 game against the Indianapolis Colts, which the Pats won handily, 45-7.

At the same time, only 27 percent of those surveyed said the balls affected the outcome of the game, while 52 percent disagreed and 21 percent were uncertain.

Belichick and Brady have both said they were unaware that that the footballs had been tampered with and have denied any involvement. But 51 percent said it’s at least somewhat likely that Belichick knew that the balls used in the game had been deflated, including 28 percent who said it was very likely he was aware of the situation.

Those surveyed were even more skeptical about Brady’s denial, with 62 percent saying that it was very or somewhat likely that the New England quarterback knew about the deflated footballs and 23 percent responding that it was unlikely.

The survey, conducted Jan. 24-25, also found that 54 percent believe that “Deflategate” has overshadowed the Super Bowl matchup between the Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, while 34 percent disagree.

As for the outcome of Sunday’s NFL championship, 46 percent predicted the Seahawks would repeat as champions, while 38 percent said the Patriots would win for the fourth time in the Belichick-Brady era.

The poll of 569 adults who plan to watch the Super Bowl has a +/- 4 percent margin of error.

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