— Heather Schmelzlen (@anchorlines) January 22, 2015
As a New Englander who only pays attention to sports when it obtrudes into the entertainment news, if I wanted to worry about the Patriot’s “image”, I would be more worried about the immanent trial of the (ex)Patriot who is accused of multiple murders, assuming our newminted GOP governor doesn’t further screw up the process of that trial. (Way to go, Charley Baker, Masshole in Chief!) But I suspect David Roth, in Vice Sports, has the nut of it:
… This is pretty silly, honestly. For all the things that are still unknown, about this case and every other one of the NFL’s many scandals, the question of integrity is pretty much settled business where the NFL is concerned. It is a thing the league likes to talk about, and is unwilling to pay for; it’s an undisputed brand truth, and thus also mostly a lie. And so when we hear, again, that the NFL is intent on getting this right, and protecting the integrity of the game, the first instinct is either a muffled laugh or an un-muffled one…
It’s not that these are bad things for the NFL to want. Cheating, even cheating as mundane and mainstream [*] as this, is uncool; rules are rules. It’s just that all this righteous huff-and-puff from the NFL—an entertainment brand that thinks it is a powerful nation-state, run by a defective Epcot “Hall of Presidents” droid that believes itself to be an actual head of state—comes across as flabby, obvious satire…
Lose the NFL’s pomp and rum-dummy-dum rhetoric, and we see the NFL as what it is: a moderately skanky business concern selling us something that is both bad for us and extremely addictive. The NFL is welcome to use its delusion however it wants, just as people are welcome to talk about it in the NFL’s own language if they wish. But, as serious as Bill Belichick is about football—and the great gray recession of his personality suggests that this is an acid seriousness that opens onto a big, mean void—he clearly does not see or think about the NFL this way.
He, and maybe we, can see a rulebook that’s too big and too dimly understood and too lazily mis-enforced to constrain his intellect and ambition. He sees a game that is bigger and weirder than any authority that would attempt to govern it. He sees how soft, stupid, and self-regarding the NFL truly is, and then he does whatever he wants, secure in the knowledge that no one can really stop him from doing it. He innovates in thrilling ways and cheats in trivial ones for the same reason, and it’s the reason that people climb Everest….
* Actual quote from the actual NYTimes, circa 2013:
… If a coach looking for a ball at practice should unwittingly approach one of the bags, the team’s equipment director, Joe Skiba, will pounce: “Get away, those are Eli’s game balls.”
Skiba added: “No one is allowed to touch those balls. They’re precious jewels. Too much work has gone into them.” …
The refs should strip-search Tom Brady on the first play looking for the depressorizer fomble.
Because this is the most horrible thing ever to happen in the NFL, I now think the only proper remedy is to disqualify the Patriots, declare the Seahawks the Superbowl champions, cancel the game, and turn it into a 3 hour Katy Perry concert. That’s the only way to make the fans happy.
Please. At this point, I think the NFL is about as real as the WWE is.
As for the football brouhaha:
1) Who cares?
2) If so evident, why no complaints registered during the game? Both teams handle the football while playing.
3) See #1.
@NotMax: I’m easily amused by unintentional double-intenders. (Pratchett reference: “Most of Nanny Ogg’s were single-intenders, and proud of it.”)
Per the tv news — here in the Boston market, “deflate-gate” got the first five minutes — the Colts did complain about the balls at half-time, and the refs switched them out for generic properly-inflated balls, and the Colts still couldn’t get control of them, so no harm no foul. Some time after the Superbowl, the NFL will release its findings, and win or lose, Bill Belichick will get another asterick by his name, which may or may not hurt his fee-fees…
Middle East politics will get much more interesting and not in a good way. King Abdullah has died (1924-2015). I heard it in BBC World News and CNN and it’s on NY Times front page.
@PurpleGirl: We’re sending troops to Ukraine AND Saudi Arabia and all the Juicerati cares about is football.
They must have finally drowned Bob in Portland.
I hope your kids have their Selective Service forms in.
Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again)
I think it’s going to get really interesting when the crown finally passes to one of Ibn Saud’s grandsons.
Villago Delenda Est
This goes double for you, Gisele ….
Villago Delenda Est
@Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): The sort of thing that plagued the Ottomans is set to happen to the Saudis.
@Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): Not a problem. There won’t be any grandsons in country when ISIS is done with them.
I thought the point was to penalize the Patriots, not the fans.
Fans who have invested time and money in what they thought (*cough*naive fools*cough*) was an honest competition.
They could always tie Brady and Belichick to a stake in the middle of the field.
I don’t know if they’ve been deflated or not (certainly something’s been tampered with, had a pattern imposed) but scientists have made light travel slower than the speed of speed of light. So there’s some traditionally brain-bendy thing to wrap your late-night brains around. Spatially Structured protons. Next up? Herding cats?
@Villago Delenda Est:
The Russians are invading Saudi Arabia?
Man, I can’t wait for Romanov in Portland’s conspiracy theory about this latest geopolitical gambit by Tsar Nipple-Rings I.
@srv: I’ve been away from the blog all evening but I was watching the news with a friend when I heard the story about King Abdullah. I decided to just post it and not try to see if it was mentioned in any other thread. (I saw the pupupdate but haven’t read the thread yet.)
BTW, I don’t have kids and my nieces and nephew are in their thirties.
@Morzer: The Seahawks play a scrimmage while Brady and Belichick are held in a bunker and forced to listen to Katy Perry “sing” for three hours.
Then again, doesn’t the constitution say something about cruel and unusual punishment?
RobertDSC (Quad Intel Mac)
At this point, as a Pats fan, I am sick of Deflate-gate. Nothing the team or the league say will ever lay this thing to rest. It’s morphed into a conspiracy theory that will never die.
Tired of this shit.
@scav: Is that in any way helpful in discovering FTL space travel? (I be scientifically ignorant)
@RobertDSC (Quad Intel Mac):
One of those conspiracy theories supported by a considerable volume of evidence plus the track record of the guilty party when it comes to pulling shenanigans to gain an unfair advantage?
Man, it must be a real downer to walk through the streets of Boston wearing that “Aaron Hernandez Is Innocent” billboard.
@Debbie(aussie): Don’t look at me, I’m just bending my brain. My bended brain says no, it’s interesting — apparently doesn’t violate anything those with unbended brains know — and at least one of them said it doesn’t matter much at astronomical distences.
According to John Yoo, all Americans have the right to experience cruel and unusual punishment, but not to call it by that name. So I think we can put Operation Correctional Therapy into effect without fear of legal proceedings.
As a Seahawks fan, I think the whole thing is a non-issue. The Pats scored 14 points with balls that passed inspection two hours before and 28 points with balls that hadn’t been broken in the same way.
When they tested the balls, did they test those belonging to the Mayflowers too? Have they ever tested balls after playing for a half to see how they might differ from pregame testing? If it’s such a huge deal, why don’t they test two hours before, two minutes before, again at the half, and at the end of the game?
The trial of Aaron Hernandez isn’t going to work out so well for the Pats. I am a huge sports fan and also I kind of “geek” out on how teams operate (or don’t operate if you are a fan, as I am, of the team in DC). It isn’t much of a secret that they employee dozens of security personnel and investigators.
Sure some people slip through the cracks, but I find it very, very hard to believe the Pats were not aware of Aaron’s problems, including the first set of murders he is now also being charged with.
Clearly it is maybe easy for the teams, when you have tens of millions invested in a player who is a total stud on the field, they can look the other way if you perform. I bet this comes out in the trial. And if the Pats did anything to cover up the crimes (I have NO evidence this is the case), well things are going to go downhill quickly.
Losing draft pics as they did with Spygate will be the least of their problems.
@RobertDSC (Quad Intel Mac): I can’t stand the Pats and I still really can’t get that “fired” up about all this. I kind of come to the root of the problem, which is the NFL by their rules and regulations let this happen.
They should let the teams “prepare” the balls and then they go right back to NFL officials. Why you’d let each team keep and maintain the balls makes no sense. There is just so much money involved in these games of course some teams are going to bend or break the rules. At some level it is just human nature.
Conceivable that he’s working on his brick oven… Never can tell, Internet and all.
Tree With Water
What’s really interesting is how something so inconsequential has come out of nowhere to bite the NFL this January, during the always ridiculous two weeks before the Super Bowl. The league has heretofore been pretty much exempt this caliber idiot scrutiny (“I got your deflated balls right here”). But it’s no coincidence. Throw in the fundamental changes to the game wrought by the ongoing concussion issue, on top of business as usual, the fact it’s happening in the year of Ray Rice (et.al.) should surprise no one.
@Debbie(aussie): Spool ’em up, Deb. (Glad I ain’t the only one up).
@srv: @PurpleGirl: I was kneedeep finishing up a project and totally miss King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud had passed away and we were sending “advisors” to the Ukraine.
I don’t know what to say about Saudi Arabia. I will never understand why our ties with them seem unbreakable. I know many will say oil, but that just can’t be it. We now import more oil from Canda then Saudi Arabia. Almost three times as much. Saudi Arabia doesn’t remotely mean what they used to mean to us. Here are our oil imports:
Canada 3.142 (32%)
Saudi Arabia 1.329 (13%)
Mexico 0.919 (9%)
Venezuela 0.806 (8%)
Russia 0.460 (5%)
As to sending US troops to train people in the Ukraine, I will say what I always say. Are you telling me there are not NATO nations in Ukraine’s actual backyard that couldn’t train their troops? That they wouldn’t have a totally vested interest in Ukraine being able to fight back Russia?
Why does it have to be Americans?
It’s possible that the Ukrainian military are using significant amounts of US hardware, so sending them some American troops to train them and act as advisers might make sense. Just my speculation.
What got to me about the Belichick press conference on the theme of improperly shriveled balls was that the guy went on in some detail about his devotion to ensuring that practice balls were hard to work with – and then turned around and said innocently that he’d never touched an actual game ball or thought about how they were prepared in his 40 years in the league. I simply don’t find it convincing that he’d be so obsessively detail-oriented about the correct balls in practice and then not give a hoot about the ones that would be the focal point of the actual game, especially when his team was responsible for preparing their own balls.
@Tree With Water: None of these things. Ray Rice. Concussions. You name the problems of the last year. But attendance, TV viewership, merchandise sales. Not going down. But I do think the public has come to see the NFL isn’t perfect and it isn’t invincible.
I just can’t wrap my head around how the NFL lets teams maintain their own footballs. I had scholarship opps for two sports at the DI level. Tennis and golf. I can’t even being to explain how import the balls I used in those two sports were.
With golf I of course controlled the ball 110%, because I was the only person using it. With tennis they were provided by the “home” team. You can be sure I checked them carefully. I was a baseline player. I wanted balls with full compression and a lot of “fuzz” for lack of a better word, because they’d stay on the strings longer and allow for more topspin.
As for compression, sure a higher compression helped the serve and volley player, who I often faced, but they also worked on my return of said serve, which I might have been best at. When a fast server has said serve come back to the person at a faster speed time and time again, they start to double fault a lot more often. My best defense again that type of game.
More than a few times I went to my coach and asked for different tennis balls.
@Morzer: I would just say most NATO forces use American hardware. Of course not all, but most of the time they do. Maybe not guns or “smaller” items but with helicopters, planes, radar systems, tanks, they are buying what we are selling.
You probably know more about this than I do, but from a local perspective, Belichick dropped Hernandez as soon as H was arrested for Odin Lloyd’s murder — almost too soon, for some people — and until Hernandez was safely behind bars, the earlier double murder was just another cold case. Right after his arrest, there was much wise talk about how the guy had been renowned for “anger management issues” going back to his high school days, and the Pats gave him his last chance to get his act together, yadda yadda. The people who don’t like Belichick will blame him for this, but then, the people who don’t like Belichick blame him for the New England weather, too.
It could well be that Belichick or his security guys “knew something” / should’ve “known something”, but right now most of the local court-tv attention is focused on a slightly more significant trial — last night, there was a maybe-30-second bit saying the judge wanted Hernandez’s trial to start next Tuesday, and at least twice as much time given to Tsarnaev’s lawyers’ latest (third) attempt to get his trial moved, since (IIRC) 66% of the several hundred potential jurors said they already considered him guilty and 69% had a “personal connection” to the Marathon bombing. Maybe the attention paid to the two trials will be different outside the Boston area, but from here, it looks like a pure gift to Hernandez’s lawyers that there’s this conflict.
Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again)
@Villago Delenda Est:
Not sure if you’re talking about the Ottomans in the era the Sultan’s sons would murder it out for the throne, or the later era when the Janissaries support decided it- I’m guessing the former.
Who do you think has been funding ISIL?
@Anne Laurie: I bet you know more than I do actually because it is a local issue. I can assure you it isn’t something covered on my local newscast :). My local news leads with Ferguson (still so darn depressing) and the Rams going to LA (don’t let the door hit you where god split you is the feeling of everybody I know).
I am not saying the management of the Pats are culpable. I don’t have evidence for that. But there had to be a lot of “red flags” going up related to Aaron. You don’t have to look hard on sites like ESPN or CBS Sportline to find out he had serious, I mean serious anger issues. Violence often. Dating back to high school and even middle-school.
They would have vetted him when drafted. Then again when he got that huge contract. I just find it hard to believe they didn’t know they had a ticking time bomb in their organization. You also have to ponder they have Rob Gronkowski at the same position. Sure he is injury prone, but to have two people at the same position making so much money, well they had to vet the guy and think he’d be a cornerstone of the offense for years and years.
Well not so much ….
Personally, you’all can keep the Yams.
Villago Delenda Est
@RobertDSC (Quad Intel Mac): If Belicheat didn’t have such a deplorable track record, this story would have gone away.
Villago Delenda Est
The Brits and Germans have their own helicopters and tanks, thank you. The Europeans overall have collaborated in aerospace to produce their own fighters, bombers, whatever. Often the lesser European powers will make it policy to buy from the Brits, the Germans, or the French, rather than us on big ticket hardware items.
This whole thing has been hilarious. Drew Magary was funniest, but others have made hay out of this too.
We may not import much from KSA, but as the biggest producer and exporter of crude in the world they have a very big impact on the price of the stuff. Not as much as they used to but still pretty big.
It’s the run up to the Super Bowl. Nothing has changed since Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing at the Super Bowl. You’ve got a bunch of bored jock sniffing idiots, pretending to be journalists, trapped in Phoenix. Every year they fixate on anything resembling a story so that they might justify their T&E expenses.
@NotMax: #2: If I am to understand it correctly, each team uses it’s own balls while on offense, so the Colts did not get to use those balls.
Look, it’s obvious what happened. The refs check the balls 2 hours before the game, indoors, where it’s 75 degrees. Then they take the balls outside in the cold weather. If you have a gas in a contained volume, and lower the temperature, the pressure goes down. This is high school physics. At halftime, when they re-checked the balls, it was about 38 degrees. Ergo, the pressure was lower. This undoubtedly happens in every cold weather game, they just never bothered to check before.
Free seats for all the Jets/Dolphins/Bills fans!
I’m really hoping serious booing and back turning comes during the SB.
The “who cares” argument comes from Pats fans and people who don’t like football. And the “football is already skanky” argument comes from people who don’t like football. To both, I say: No, your the poopyhead.
Apparently the Patriots side of the field was much colder, since the Colts’ footballs still maintained pressure at the half (they were checked after the complaint was brought to the refs).
Temperature change would only account for less than half of the loss of pressure: P/T=nR/V. Temperature in Kelvin, it only drops 10% max; nR/V is constant.
I’d put my money on an overzealous equipment dude dumbly acting on his own to ‘help’ Brady, but I just don’t see Brady or Belichek telling an equipment dude to do this given the high risk vs. low reward. Or perhaps someone in the line somewhere purposely trying to sabotage. The fact that the NFL hasn’t interviewed Brady or Belichek yet means they are either totally inept or they know what happened already and it doesn’t involve them.
One thing under-inflated balls might be helping the Patriots with is not fumbling the ball.
Not the decisive factor in a game that’s already a blowout but it’s the margin of victory in a close game and nets you a couple extra wins over the course of a season.
@Svensker: They started toward the top of the range, which Luck prefers. Brady likes them toward the bottom of the range.
@ribber: The rules don’t require the balls to be at a specific pressure, only within a range. If they started at the bottom of the range, the temperature change would account for it. Also, the balls aren’t perfectly hermetic — there’s going to be some loss over time anyway. The valve isn’t like a tire valve, it’s just rubber.
PSI: New England
Oh very nice! Well played!
heard any interesting factoid on the way into work this AM:
since 2007 the NFL average is 1 fumble for every 105 offensive plays.
since 2007, the Patriots home average is 1 fumble for every 187 offensive plays.
I’m sure this is just a coincidence
Not a Patriots fan although I do like Brady. Certainly not a Seahawks fan (Niner fan, what can I say) but I do think they are a really good team and like their coach and quarterback.
But I will be pulling for a Patriots win in 9 days. Yea, that whole Niner fan thing carries over.
@lethargytartare: No, it’s not a coincidence, it’s good coaching. Any Patriots player who fumbles is benched immediately. And they hire running backs who don’t fumble, and fire ones who do.
@lethargytartare: So what you’re saying is you don’t understand the concept of an average?
The NFL is the WWE, just with more delusional fans. ….don’t break kayfabe, don’t break kayfabe…
It’s all just a massive coincidence that the NFL’s biggest star, the stud QB with the globally recognized super-model wife, is mired in some bullshit media controversy in the run up to the big game.
Yup. That’s exactly right.
If Belichick is the only guy who will stoop low enough to do these kind of things then how come every coach in pro or college covers their mouth when they talk ,into a mic.
lol. yep, I’m sure the Patriots are the only team in the NFL that does this.
So what you’re saying is you don’t understand the concept of statistical significance?
@lethargytartare: So let’s see the scatter plot that shows the Patriots as an outlier rather than just the top end of the spectrum.
@? Martin: Lady Gaga. A deflated-pigskin brassiere would be just her thing.
@Cervantes: That still wouldn’t account for the amount of under inflation. And that’s assuming that the halftime measurements were carried out on the sidelines.
The thing that annoyed the hell out of me was Belichick’s press conference, when he said he hadn’t paid attention to the regulations on how balls are inspected and dealt with pre-game. If you’re going to lie, at least don’t lie in such an obvious way that everyone knows you’re lying. I mean you’re freaking Belichick, you know the entire NFL rulebook backwards forwards and upsidedown. Saying that he wasn’t familiar with those particular rules is just obviously bullshit.
Or, possibly, the Pats kept their balls in the indoor equipment room overnight and the Colts kept theirs in an unheated bus.
Also possibly, the Pats did like practically everyone else in the league has admitted to doing at one point or another, and warmed their balls up before they were weighed, knowing that the air pressure would drop once the balls were outside and in play.
The problem isn’t that Belichick is a cheat, it’s that he’s so much fucking worse at cheating than everyone else.
Establish truth. NFL.com/rulebook conveniently lays out the entirety of the rules for us:
“The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications”
Whether anyone likes it or not, THE PATRIOTS DID NOT BREAK ANY RULES.
Everything else is bullshit.
The rules do not describe anything about inflation pressure during or after the game.
There may be a suggestion, or an interpretation, or a proposal, or a recommendation to that effect.
But THE PATRIOTS DID NOT BREAK THE RULES
This is gamesmanship. So is the entirety of NASCAR, and that sport seems fairly popular.
ESPN.com is not the rules. The stadium ball boy [ each stadium’s ball boy has a different process, by the way] is not the rule. Talking heads on radio stations are not the rules. NFL.com IS THE ONLY SET OF ACTUAL RULES.
Should the competition committee change the rules? Of course! But until they formally approve those changes, we have exactly the words stated above.
Scatter plots here – it the source of the figures under discussion and covers how the Patriots are particularly anomalous.
Edit: Though it looks like site is getting slammed from all the attention now….
The rules set out a prescribed pressure for the balls. If somebody on the Pats intentionally reduced them below that pressure after they were ok’d by the refs, that’s clearly a violation of the rules. There’s no bright line separating gamesmanship from cheating. Lots of soccer players (and fans) regard diving as gamesmanship, but it’s also a clear and punishable violation of the rules.
Whether this can be proven is of course an entirely separate matter.
Show the link on NFL.com to the language you assert.
Don’t talk about it – post it.
You heard someone SAY that those are the rules. In reality, the person you heard saying it was wrong also.
[“The rules set out” ] — The rules state no such thing. There is no pressure ever mentioned. They may very well have intended to say it.. BUT THEY DID NOT.
Huh? The rules set a pressure range. The officials examine them before game and mark them as within that range. If you then intentionally and surreptitiously alter that pressure such that it is outside that range prescribed by the rules, that’s pretty much the definition of breaking the rules. I have no idea how you think the language you’ve cited would change that.
You’ve now typed twice your assertion that the rules “set a pressure range.” You clearly have not verified the precise wording of the actual rules.
Show the link with that precise verbiage on NFL.com
Gavin’s take seems to be pure rules-lawyering.
1) The rules state that the ref will determine whether a ball is legal.
2) The balls passed inspection by the ref, so they’re legal.
It’s in the same category as claiming the Moops invaded Spain.
And when you don’t find anything of the sort, you’ll realize that this entire “scandal” has precisely zero objective truth.
The rules of the NFL are defined in exactly one place: The NFL competition committee. The work product of those discussions is published in exactly one place: NFL.com/rulebook.
Think it through: The NFL didn’t penalize the Vikings or Panthers for their issues with this exact rule. Yes, the rule should be clarified – no question – but for there to be a penalty, the Pats have to have broken something specific. “Breaking an unwritten rule” has a shorter term that describes the same thing: Gamesmanship.
Hitler agrees with you.
Also, you’re smelly. Keep making great argumentative points!
“The ball shall be made up of an inflated (12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds) urethane bladder enclosed in a pebble grained, leather case (natural tan color) without corrugations of any kind.”
I’m not seeing the ambiguity you appear to find in this.
… and, further down the page, it specifies precisely WHEN that 12.5-13.5 pound measurement shall be made.
2.25 hours before the game.
Which was performed – and passed – by all the balls that day.
This is an issue with the specificity of a measurement system… If we want to label the pats “cheaters,” then the rules need to be explicit. Breaking IMPLICIT rules is called gamesmanship.
Really? THAT is your argument? Good luck with that.
The first part of that is nonsense, and the second part is simply false. If they intentionally altered the pressure of the balls to gain a competitive advantage, that’s cheating. This isn’t a court of law.
The rules do not prescribe a test at halftime or after the game.. possibly because the NFL has not conducted a study to learn the parameters defining the results of cold and other weather pressures combining with the various gripping/catching/spiking forces to affect realized ball pressure over the course of a 3+ hour game.
This doesn’t have a simple objectively correct answer – even though we live in a society that presumes blame is easily identified.
Your lack of understanding of measurement systems is not my problem.
The rule does not define the pressure during the game. The rule defines the pressure 2.25 hours prior to the game, and explicitly states that the referee is the final arbiter.
1) If you want to measure more frequently both on the sidelines and in the locker room, you would have a more accurate metric by which to determine precisely when the ball pressure changed. First quarter? Fourth quarter? When?
2) If you want to conduct additional studies outside of the NFL season to determine the effects of differing temperature/weather combinations, you would be able to determine if the change in PSI was due to forces of nature rather than deliberate intervention from a team.
3) Even with both of the above results, we still need to be aware that all scientific results are not just one number.. it’s a standard deviation around a mean. Each ball will have a degree of variation from the rest.
We don’t have enough information to rule out the possibility that the Pats didn’t do anything.
It sure is fun to rush to judgement and assert “NONSENZ!~” but the reality is that we simply don’t have the data.
if it’s so obvious that no rule was broken because there’s no rule to break, what is the NFL investigating, genius?
Seriously, I don’t even think they know at this point.
I work in a laboratory, I understand measurement systems pretty well. If you’ll go back to my comments, you’ll see that I haven’t commented on whether or not the Pats did in fact alter the balls or the evidence for that, but simply on the question of whether or not doing so (hypothetically) constitutes cheating or gamesmanship, and whether or not it would be a violation of the rules. At #68, you weren’t claiming that nothing had been proven, you were saying that even if they did do it it wasn’t technically against the rules, which I still think is absurd. If they reduced the pressure after the refs had checked the balls, that’s a pretty clear violation of the rules, whether or not you think it’s adequately spelled out in the rulebook.
The evidence for and against the accusations is a separate issue, and I can’t find out enough about exactly how the measurements are done to determine how credible the different theories are. Two psi strikes me as too much for temperature fluctuations alone to account for, but without specific numbers it’s hard to say. Given all the complications, I sort of doubt that the NFL will find any smoking gun, but it’s going to dog Belichick and the Pat’s reputations anyway.
Pretty much everything specific that I’ve read in the comments above about the deflation-gate case are wrong – according to the articles at ESPN.com and THEMMQB.com. If it’s any consolation, the article at NBCNEWS.com gives an incorrect pressure calculation (using psig instead of psia). My calculation, based on reported locker-room temperature and field temperatures of about 68F and 50F, and volume expansion (for the bladder) of 0.03%/deg. F, is that 12.5 psig in the locker-room would decrease to 11.6 psig on the field, and 13.0 psig would reduce to 11.8 psig. There was a low-pressure area around the stadium that day, which would have the effect of raising the gauge pressure by 0.5 psi or so (compared to normal atmospheric pressure conditions), but anything over 13.5 psig would have been adjusted back to 13 by the referees before the game.
Each team gets 24 balls to use for practice and scuff up to remove slipperiness during the week before the game. Tom Brady personally selected the 12 (of the 24) that would be checked by the refs before the game and used. At halftime when all 12 previous-checked Patriot balls were found below 12.5 psig and 11 of them were at 10.5 or under, they were kept unchanged (perhaps as evidence) and the remaining 12 balls were checked, adjusted per normal procedure as and if necessary, and used in the second half. (I don’t know what temperature the balls were at when the half-time check was made. I presume it was done in the ref’s locker-room like the pre-game check since that’s where the equipment was, but don’t know how long the balls had to warm up. For that matter I don’t know if the balls had been outside in 50F before being given to the refs for the pre-game check.) Both team’s balls were checked before the game (as usual), and at the half and end of the game (not usual). No problems were found with the Colt’s balls. Both the Ravens and the Colts are reported to have raised suspicions about the Patriots using under-inflated balls in previous games, which is why the half-time check was made.
The balls are marked with a silver Sharpy after pre-game checking. Each team of referees can use their own mark. The example shown by an actual ref team in the MMQB video was a simple, block, capital L, just below the NFL emblem (that ref team always uses that mark in every game they ref). This would be very easy to forge on another set of balls – just sayin’.
Both Belichek and Brady have held press conferences in which they denied any knowledge of how or why the balls were under-inflated at the end of the first half. Belichek had the usual stone face, but Brady looked as nervous as a school boy with a guilty secret – in my opinion and the opinion of two pundits I have read/heard. Some years ago Brady made a public remark that he preferred deflated footballs for gripping. At the press conference in response to a question he said that by deflated he meant 12.5 psig.
I am impelled to write because I dislike seeing mis-information promulgated on the Internet (which happens way too much and I hope I haven’t contributed to it – wait for the final report or do your own research before trusting what I say), not because I think this is an issue of huge importance in this crazy world.
All of the Colt’s people who have been interviewed after the game have said they don’t think the under-inflated balls were any excuse for them losing the game by so much.
The NFL’s position seems to be not to reach any conclusions prior to the Super Bowl so as not to jeopardize the game. They have not so far interviewed any of the Patriot players or coaches, although they have interviewed other Patriot employees.
The motto of football teams in the pros seems to be “if you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin’ hard enough.”
@different-church-lady: Yep. Every team that deviates from the average must be cheating. Or rather, every team that deviates by an unscientifically determined amount by some random dude on the Internet cheats. I’m curious what amount of deviation *wouldn’t* have caused this person to conclude the Pats don’t cheat with underinflated balls. Sadly our statistical “expert” didn’t provide that information.
@Svensker: You’re a Jets fan, right?