NFL: ref inspected footballs properly in AFC title game

 The Associated Press

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       PHOENIX (AP) _ NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino says the inspection of the footballs by referee Walt Anderson before the AFC championship game was handled properly.
        Blandino also said Thursday the process of inspecting the balls and security surrounding the inspections will be enhanced for Sunday’s Super Bowl.
        Normally, 12 footballs per team are brought to the officials’ locker room before a game, where they are tested and marked by the referee. This week, each team gets 54 footballs _ many are given to charity after brief game usage _ and all of them will be taken into custody by the NFL on Friday after the Seahawks and Patriots have prepared them.
        The footballs will be inspected by referee Bill Vinovich three hours before the game, and Blandino said there will be “added security because of the environment we are in for this game.”