Even in normal circumstances, posting a photo of a bunch of deflated footballs seems like an odd way to get people hyped for the Super Bowl.
But posting a photo of a bunch of deflated footballs while the Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots are being investigating for, well, deflated footballs? Even weirder.
Yet that’s exactly what happened Tuesday night, when the National Football League’s official Instagram account posted a photo of 13 airless footballs. “Behind the scenes: Making the Super Bowl XLIX footballs!” read the accompanying caption.
Right around the time the photo was posted, ESPN reported that an NFL investigation had found that 11 of the 12 footballs used by the Patriots during the AFC Championship on Sunday were deflated. The balls were two pounds per square inch below what’s required by the league.
If the photo seems like a poor choice to you, you are not alone. The comments section of the photo was littered with wisecracks. “Looks like the patriots footballs on Sunday,” read one comment. “These look patriots perfect,” read another.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article mistakenly said the photo was posted Thursday night. It was posted Tuesday night.