Football: Inflated Urethane Bladder In A Leather Case


“More probable than not [New England cheated]”:


That’s how the NFL Rules describe a football.  The bladder contains air, which the rules state must be between prescribed pounds-per-square-inch limits.  Those are the rules.

The NFL reportedly found that the New England Patriots did not play with properly-inflated footballs during their blowout 45-7 win over Indianapolis last weekend (aka “Deflategate”).  In the second quarter, Indianapolis linebacker D’Qwell Jackson intercepted a Tom Brady pass–and apparently thought the ball felt funny.

He gave the ball to an Indy equipment guy, who told Indy Coach Pagano, who told Indy’s General Manager, who told an NFL official, who told the on-field officials, who then inspected New England’s footballs at halftime.  End of story–until the NFL penalizes New England somehow (probably a monetary fine and perhaps the loss of a draft choice if the League considers the alleged cheating egregious).

To some, the alleged cheating’s effect on the game’s outcome is a non-starter .  New England blew out the Colts, so what could a couple of pounds of air pressure mean in a one-sided game?

To others, the story is all about the air pressure.  They say that football is a game of momentum that can break the other team’s will to win.  If you do that, you steamroll the opponent.  If New England cheated (which apparently they did), and that cheating resulted in the proverbial snowball rolling downhill, a couple of pounds of air pressure meant virtually everything.

The officials rectified the problem at halftime, when the score was 17-7 in favor of New England, who then scored 21 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter with the properly-inflated balls.

In my mind, that makes the issue a non-starter as to the ultimate outcome of the game.  But rules are rules, and a penalty appears warranted at some point.

I can’t wait to see what New England tries next …