(Associated Press) -- The New England Patriots have asked a federal appeals court in New York City to rehear the ``Deflategate'' case.

The team said in court papers filed Wednesday in Manhattan that it has a ``strong interest'' in sparing quarterback Tom Brady from starting the season with a four-game suspension.

The papers say the Patriots ``strongly believe'' nobody tampered with footballs at the 2015 AFC Championship game. New England defeated the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in that game and went on to win the Super Bowl.

A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-to-1 last month to reinstate Brady's four-game suspension. A lower-court judge had ruled last September that the NFL erred in its handling of the probe of the deflated footballs and he rejected the suspension a week before the season began.

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