Friday, January 23, 2015

Do Not Play With Deflated Balls

There's a nasty little controversy brewing about the New England Patriots victory over the Indianapolis Colts in last Sunday's NFL playoffs.

For those of you who don't follow pro football, the Patriots resoundingly trounced the Colts 45-7 to advance to the Superbowl. The game was played in foul weather - cold, rainy, and windy. In such conditions, it is easier to throw an under-inflated ball. This is not just my opinion. Experts agree.
If the NFL's New England Patriots did deflate their game balls, even slightly, it would have given them an advantage during their playoff win this past weekend, said Chang Kee Jung, who teaches a course on the physics of sports at Stony Brook University in Long Island, New York.

Ninety percent of the time, you want a ball that’s properly pumped to give you the furthest throwing trajectory, Jung said. But when in bad weather, a squishier ball is easier to throw and catch.

“On cold days, a fully inflated ball is ... hard as a brick,” he said, “Having a softer ball would allow the quarterback to throw more accurately in a tighter spiral and make it easier for the receiver to catch."

Needless to say, some folks are quite upset - with what seems to be good reason.
Eleven footballs the New England Patriots brought to Sunday's AFC championship game have now been determined by the NFL to be under-inflated – by 2 full pounds – according to ESPN, which cited the preliminary findings of a league investigation.

The home team in an NFL game is required to provide 12 footballs... Yet almost all of them came in at the same, illegal level, 2 pounds lighter? The ball is supposed to be inflated to between 12.5 pounds and 13.5 pounds per square inch, so 16 percent below the legal minimum.

That's not a little. Not the number of under-inflated balls, not the amount they are under-inflated. Some gamesmanship of trying to pump up or down a ball is understood. Everyone is always trying to gain an edge. This isn't that. This isn't a coincidence. And, because it's the Patriots and because it's in the run-up to the Super Bowl at the end of a season when the NFL has been consumed by scandals, it's a huge story. Fair or not, that's life in the big city.
Compounding the situation is the Patriot's reputation as an organization that bends - and at times shatters - the rules.

The New England Patriots are in hot water ... again.
The Patriots have been the cream of the crop in the NFL ever since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000. But the three-time Super Bowl champions have been embroiled in some off-the-field scandals over the years. The latest is accusations the Patriots deflated footballs in their AFC Championship win last week.

Here's a look at some of the most memorable controversies over the last two decades under Belichick.


Long before Belichick and Tom Brady were winning Super Bowls in New England, Belichick was a coach with the New York Jets. When Jets' head coach Bill Parcells stepped down in 1999, it was already decided that Belichick would succeed him in New York.

The news conference to introduce Belichick as the new head coach turned out to be quite the opposite. Belichick scribbled his resignation on a piece of paper: "I resign as HC of the NYJ."

The Jets demanded compensation from the Patriots because Belichick was still under contract with the team. The NFL stepped in and the Jets were awarded the Patriots' first-round draft pick in 2000. This was also the opening salvo in a heated Jets-Patriots rivalry that continues to this day.


Perhaps the most publicized scandal involving the Patriots took place on Sept. 9, 2007 when the team was caught illegally videotaping Jets' coaches' defensive signals. And thus the term "spy-gate" was introduced to the sports world.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fined Belichick $500,000 and the Patriots $250,000. The Patriots also forfeited their first-round draft pick.


Even 13 years after the infamous "tuck rule" game, critics still believe it's a game the Patriots should have never won.

Let's set the scene: It was Jan. 19, 2002 and the Patriots were facing the Oakland Raiders in a divisional playoff game in the snow at Foxboro Stadium, the former home of the Pats. The Raiders were leading the Patriots in the fourth quarter when Raiders' cornerback Charles Woodson sacked Brady, forcing him to lose the football. The Raiders recovered the ball and all they had to do was run out the clock to advance in the playoffs.

 That was until referees overturned the play, saying Brady's arm was moving forward, thus making it an incomplete pass and not a fumble. The refs pointed to the "tuck rule," which was eliminated from the NFL rulebook in 2013.

The rest, as they say, is history. Patriots went on to win the game and eventually their first Super Bowl.


A week before deflate-gate became a household name, there was some controversy swirling around the Patriots' playoff win over the Baltimore Ravens in a tightly contested 35-31 game. Ravens coach John Harbaugh accused the Pats of a "substitution trick" that was "clearly deception."

The Patriots dug into their bag of tricks on their second drive of the third quarter, lining up just four offensive linemen and declaring a normally eligible receiver as ineligible to keep Baltimore off balance. Ravens players were confused about which Patriots to match up with in coverage.

 Harbaugh said it was a tactic that "nobody has ever seen before."

Brady wanted none of that and fired back after the game.

"Maybe those guys gotta study the rulebook and figure it out. We obviously knew what we were doing and we made some pretty important plays. It was a real good weapon for us," he said.


The latest controversy surrounds accusations the team used under-inflated balls in their 45-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts to earn their sixth trip to the Super Bowl.

According to ESPN, 11 of the 12 balls used by the team were under-inflated by two pounds per square inch. Footballs, which are weighed before the game, must be inflated to no less than 12.5 pounds per square inch.

 A deflated ball could be easier for the quarterback to grip in bad weather, such as in Sunday's rain at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

The NFL is investigating...
Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, the whole thing has provided some much-needed distraction from the SCOAMF in the WHite House and his absurd SOTU address. It's also served as fodder for a hilarious spoof-commercial.


Well Seasoned Fool said...

Adding to the legend of the Patriots. Let us not forget Pete Carroll once was the NE head coach.

Randy H said...

LOL stop effing cheating

Old NFO said...

Another reason NOT to bother watching any pro sports... They cheated... And both B's know how and why...

CenTexTim said...

WSF - Carroll has cheated everywhere he's been, but he gets away with it because he's media-friendly.

Randy - easier said than done. The money is so big...

NFO - Yep, but I can't stop watching. I've got money on the (fair) games... ;-)