ESPN reported Tuesday night that 11 of the Patriots’ 12 balls were deflated for Sunday’s AFC Championship against the Colts, which has Bill Belichick in a tizzy. The surly New England coach promptly fired the team’s ball boy Jimmy O’Bannon, presumably for failing to deflate one of those balls.

“I can’t believe our ball boy screwed up and didn’t deflate one of them,” said the Patriots’ coach. “We had no choice but to fire him.”

Belichick stopped short of admitting to cheating his way to a 45-7 win over the Colts, but said the fired ball boy failed to do things “the Patriots’ way.”

“With the Pats, we don’t go halfway, or in this case 92 percent of the way,” said Belichick. “We wish our ball boy the best.”

Added Belichick: “I understand he’s only got two years of high school left, I assume he’ll be fine in the end.”