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Mon Jan 19, 2015, 06:56 PM

When would the Patriots get a chance to deflate their footballs?

This is from the NFL rulebook:

Rule 2 The Ball
Section 1
BALL DIMENSIONS
The Ball must be a “Wilson,” hand selected, bearing the signature of the Commissioner of the League, Roger Goodell.

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. It shall have the form of a prolate spheroid and the size and weight shall be: long axis, 11 to 11 1/4 inches; long circumference, 28 to 28 1/2 inches; short circumference, 21 to 21 1/4 inches; weight, 14 to 15 ounces.

The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications. A pump is to be furnished by the home club, and the balls shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to the start of the game.

Section 2
BALL SUPPLY
Each team will make 12 primary balls available for testing by the Referee two hours and 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the game to meet League requirements. The home team will also make 12 backup balls available for testing in all stadiums. In addition, the visitors, at their discretion, may bring 12 backup balls to be tested by the Referee for games held in outdoor stadiums. For all games, eight new footballs, sealed in a special box and shipped by the manufacturer to the Referee, will be opened in the officials’ locker room two hours and 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the game. These balls are to be specially marked by the Referee and used exclusively for the kicking game.

In the event a home team ball does not conform to specifications, or its supply is exhausted, the Referee shall secure a proper ball from the visitors and, failing that, use the best available ball. Any such circumstances must be reported to the Commissioner.
In case of rain or a wet, muddy, or slippery field, a playable ball shall be used at the request of the offensive team’s center. The Game Clock shall not stop for such action (unless undue delay occurs).

Note: It is the responsibility of the home team to furnish playable balls at all times by attendants from either side of the playing field.


From other websites I've been reading, the way this works is: The home team has a collection of game-usable footballs. On the day of the game, they deliver 12 balls to the referees two hours and 15 minutes prior to kickoff. (In Foxborough on Sunday, that would have been by 4: 25pm.) The referees have an air pump in their locker room. They check all 12 balls to be sure they're in game-worthy condition, test and adjust the air pressure in them, and turn them over to a ball attendant who takes them to the field.

My suspicion is the balls are never in the presence of only one person at any time between when they leave the refs and the end of the game...and as open and heavily-monitored as NFL sidelines are, if someone were to let the air out of the balls he'd be seen and stopped.

'Course, when you win a championship game by 38 points, people are going to assume you're cheating.

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply When would the Patriots get a chance to deflate their footballs? (Original post)
jmowreader Jan 2015 OP
sharp_stick Jan 2015 #1
YvonneCa Jan 2015 #4
jmowreader Jan 2015 #6
Major Nikon Jan 2015 #2
bluedigger Jan 2015 #3
olddots Jan 2015 #5
AngryAmish Jan 2015 #7
ProfessorGAC Jan 2015 #9
grasswire Jan 2015 #8
Iggo Jan 2015 #10
pipi_k Jan 2015 #11

Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Mon Jan 19, 2015, 07:03 PM

1. It sounds to me like the officials

forgot to check the balls prior to the game and decided to grab the game ball during the game to check it. The whole (looking to see if New England deflated the balls) angle sounds like a reporter trying to be the first one to get in on the next "spygate" and they all ran with it.

The Patriots needed no reason to deflate balls to beat the Colts.

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Response to sharp_stick (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 19, 2015, 08:22 PM

4. Obama did it...

...

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Response to YvonneCa (Reply #4)

Mon Jan 19, 2015, 09:30 PM

6. To help the Colts win, perchance?

If the Colts would have gone to Arizona in two weeks, the result would have made last year's flogging look like a close game...and Richard Sherman would have been guaranteed a return trip to the White House.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Mon Jan 19, 2015, 08:10 PM

2. The teams are given the balls back prior to the start of the game

It wouldn't be that hard to find a place hidden from camera view and let some air out of them.

Assuming they did deflate the balls it might mean they would have only won by 21 points instead of 38.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Mon Jan 19, 2015, 08:14 PM

3. They did it out on the field in front of the cameras and everybody, of course.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Mon Jan 19, 2015, 09:10 PM

5. I checked my balls this morning

 

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Mon Jan 19, 2015, 10:29 PM

7. A moisen needle in a ballboy's hand in the bag.

 

Or in the 2.5 hours since ref checked the balls. They are known cheaters.

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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 20, 2015, 09:51 AM

9. Dunno Bout That

With no gauge to see how much air was left in there. That ballboy would have to have a calibrated grip to know he let out enough or too much air.

While what you say is possible, it's not probable.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Mon Jan 19, 2015, 11:12 PM

8. USC was caught at this trick in 2012.

Fined $25,000 and sanctioned.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Tue Jan 20, 2015, 09:51 AM

10. Actually, when you're the Patriots, people are gonna assume you're cheating.

That's what happens when you get caught cheating. People think you're cheaters.

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Response to jmowreader (Original post)

Tue Jan 20, 2015, 11:24 AM

11. They did it

telepathically.

When the offense is in a huddle they mentally target the balls, commanding them to lose air, then when the play is over, regain the lost air before the officials/refs get a hand on them.

Pretty slick!


Seriously, though...

I watched the game again last night (had recorded it) and those balls were being handled by refs all during the game. Now, I had read that it would be easier to feel underinflation in a ball than to see it. If all of those footballs were that underinflated, one would think that some ref with his hands on it would notice.

The one instance where I did see a ball removed happened when an official gave the Pats the wrong ball for the purpose...i.e. they had a kicking ball instead of a regular ball. The ball had to be replaced with the proper game ball.

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