The more the NFL says about its PSI measurements during the 2015 season, the less sense it makes.
During his annual pre-Super Bowl press conference, Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about his recent proclamation that the league found no violations of the rules when randomly testing footballs throughout the season. So our good friend Tom Curran of CSN New England asked what is a “violation” in this setting and were any of the measurements under 12.5 PSI — a distinct possibility due to the operation of the Ideal Gas Law?
If the owners are hoping for less evasiveness from Goodell, they didn’t get it in response to the PSI question.
“A couple of things. One, as you know, at the beginning of the season, we made changes to our protocols of how we were going to manage the footballs,” Goodell said. “That’s how they were going to be managed from the moment they were taken into the stadium to right after the game. We have implemented that. As part of that — and it happens in most of our game operations areas — we conduct random checks. We make sure that clubs understand that we will look at that type of procedure and make sure that there are no violations of that. We did that in a very limited basis, but we don’t disclose all the specifics on that because it’s meant as a deterrent. If you tell everybody how many times you’re checking and which games you’re checking, it’s not much of a deterrent. It’s a deterrent when they think that game may be being checked.
“It’s also important that the data that was collected in that was not data for research. It was collected just to see there was a violation. Our people never found a violation. There was never an accusation of a violation by any other club. So, we’re comfortable that this policy, this rule, was followed by our clubs and we do this across the board in our game operations. There are many areas of our game operations that require that type of thing.
“Second of all, we did a great deal of research, scientific analysis last year. That was part of the whole appeal hearing. There was Ted Wells’ report, where he went and got independent people to study this type of issue, so the intent of what we were doing was not a research project. It was to make sure that our policies were followed, just as we do in other areas of our game operations.”
So, basically, the NFL decided not to gather real-time, in-game data regarding the operation of football air pressure during actual football games because Ted Wells and his second-hand-smoke-doesn’t-cause-cancer flunkies from Exponent already had determined that the measurements taken from footballs during halftime of the January 2015 AFC title game prove that someone from the Patriots organization had deliberately released air from the footballs before kickoff.
Experiments in a laboratory setting are fine and dandy (is anything ever dandy without also being fine?), but there’s no substitute for gathering actual field data to determine how things work in the real world. Given that the league had no idea that air pressure drops when footballs are taken into the cold and that the NFL never before has measured air pressure at halftime or at any time in any game ever played, why not conduct a research study?
Again, the NFL didn’t do it because the NFL knew that the numbers would show that the evidence harvested during the Colts-Patriots game was inconclusive at best. It’s so obvious at this point that to suggest otherwise offends the intelligence of those of even limited intelligence, like me.