— -- The "deflate-gate" mystery has finally been solved.
A bevy of celebrity Bostonians -- including Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Steven Tyler, John Krasinski and Chris Evans -- appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Thursday, defending the New England Patriots and taking responsibility for underinflating the team’s footballs in its AFC championship game win.
Quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick have faced criticism amid the controversy, which has taken attention away from Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIX matchup between the Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. A Patriots locker room attendant is reportedly a focus in the NFL’s investigation into the matter.
“When there’s a high-profile crime, all of a sudden a bunch of people come forward and claim they did it, like when the Lindbergh baby was kidnapped, there was a group -- a bunch of people confessed. Same with the Black Dahlia murders,” Kimmel said, introducing the segment.
Krasinski -- identifying himself as the tutor of Brady’s children -- told a story about a Goodyear blimp mishap.
“I start sucking air out of the regulation balls in order to save those people’s lives,” he said. “I saved 17 people’s lives. Tom Brady had nothing to do with it. But let me tell you something: If he did, he would have done the exact same thing. Because he’s a g****** hero.”
Damon, posing as an everyman, diehard Pats fan, discussed his sick nephew’s bronchitis.
“So I go and I take a football. I don’t want to squeeze all the air into his little lungs because, you know, I don’t want to ruin the football, so I just take a little bit of air out of ‘em, like 11 out of 12 of them, and it does the trick, it absolutely saves his lungs,” he said.
Affleck -- identifying himself as Ryan “Salty” Flanagan from Roslindale, Massachusetts, said he was turning himself in.
“Let me ask you a question: Who are you gonna believe: Tom Brady, the greatest man in all humanity? Or a bunch of a****** on Twitter?” he asked.
Tyler, Aerosmith’s lead singer, posed with a deflated football, looking sullen.
A mustachioed Evans said Brady could not have been responsible “unless he deflated those footballs with his piercing baby blue eyes.”
The segment ended, as do many of Damon's appearances on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," by highlighting the simmering rivalry between the actor and late-night host.
"My name is Tubby Herlihy, and I acted alone," Damon said.
The camera zoomed out to show Kimmel standing beside him.
"Do you know why you acted alone?" Kimmel asked.
"Why?" Damon responded.
"Because nobody wants to act with you," Kimmel said, at which point Krasinski emerged.
"Good burn," Krasinski said, slapping Kimmel's hand and chuckling.
Krasinski and Damon shared an awkward pause, so Krasinski tried to chip away the ice: "Go Pats," he said.
"There we go. Go Patriots," Damon said, the butt of another late-night jab.