A month ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he believed the league's investigation into whether the New England Patriots intentionally used underinflated balls during the AFC Championship game was close to ending.
Goodell essentially repeated himself Tuesday during an interview with Charlie Rose on "CBS This Morning," saying "it won't be long" until the investigation is concluded.
In addition, Goodell revealed that the investigation aims to question whether the Patriots used underinflated balls in multiple games. He also reiterated that Ted Wells, whom the NFL hired to head up the probe, isn't being held to a specific deadline for the results of his inquiry.
"I think it’s hard because you want to make sure you have all the information," Goodell said. "One of the things that he would be asked to look for: Was it just one game?"
It was widely believed the "Deflategate" investigation, which was launched in the days after the Patriots' win over Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 18, would be concluded before the NFL draft. With the draft two days away, it seems highly unlikely the league would take the spotlight off its future by revealing anything tied to the ongoing investigation.
The NFL has been criticized for an apparent lack of urgency regarding the matter, but Goodell stressed that conducting a thorough investigation is its top priority.
“The most important thing here is: Was there a violation of the rules? And if so, how did that occur?" Goodell said. "We have a responsibility to the 32 teams — not just to one team, to 32 teams — and our fans, and the general public here to make sure that things were done fairly."
The Patriots have denied purposely using deflated footballs, and Goodell has previously shot down reports the NFL was conducting some sort of sting operation during the AFC title game to catch the Patriots in the act.
Goodell said he was not aware of any issue regarding the Patriots' possible use of underinflated footballs until after their win over the Colts.