Art Rooney II: Games should be played with one set of balls


Among the many questions to come out of the sudden and total focus on the inflation levels of footballs is why the NFL doesn’t just provide one set of balls for both teams to use during a game.

Steelers president Art Rooney II is one of those wondering why a league that micromanages the color of shoes and the height of socks doesn’t make sure that such a key piece of equipment is standardized for all involved. Rooney said that he doesn’t think the deflated ball controversy is “on the scale of serious,” though he thinks the league will do something if they find rules have been broken, and he doesn’t think it’s necessary for the league to put itself at risk of future issues on this front.

“The one thing I would say is this rule where we use two different sets of balls is relatively new, and frankly I’m not sure why we came to this conclusion. I assume this will be something that the Competition Committee looks at,” Rooney said, via the league’s website. “But as far as I’m concerned, I think we all ought to use the same balls and not have each side have their own footballs available to them. That’s just my view of it, but it seems to be simpler to just have one set of balls, which was the case for many years where the officials brought the balls out and everybody used the same balls. It seems like that would be an easy answer to this.”

It does seem like an easy and obvious way to eliminate concerns about teams breaking the rules with the only possible objections coming from those who would like to break the rules. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is a member of the Competition Committee, so Rooney doesn’t have to look to far for an ear to bend on the matter.

100 responses to “Art Rooney II: Games should be played with one set of balls

  1. Really Rooney did you come up with that on your own. Art Rooney is such a fricking joke shut your mouth and go back to your race tracks dumb shot. If the NFL sweeps this under the rug it because of the Rooney’s and Mara’s and Kraft’s buddy buddy with Goodell.

    NFL has no Integrity.

  2. How many times will this football team be caught cheating before the league punishes them into stopping.

  3. Makes perfect sense…except or one thing. Rooney knows exactly why they came to the decision. The rule benefits the offense, and more offense equals more excitement and more viewers.

    But he is right. One set of footballs. And they need to be controlled by a league employee. Not a ball boy from the team.

  4. Nice try Art. Important to try to hose it down. But you are wrong. Deliberate cheating is and always will be a major issue. And your boy, Goodell has to make some tough decisions ahead, re suspensions for Belichick (and maybe Brady).

  5. I agree, one set of balls seems standard. My friend Johnny, he says he has only one.. hence his nickname.

  6. The NFL asks for Hanky Panky when they allow teams to brings their own footballs to the game.

  7. Couldn’t agree with you more Art….they threaten players with Uniform changes, yet who among us would have even thought the FOOTBALL, the very essence of the sport, wasn’t protected BY THE SHIELD!!

    This makes it simple to believe Everyone, or most, tweek the ball the way they want it – so they’re all guilty!!

  8. “Art Rooney II: Games should be played with one set of balls”

    Judging by what we saw in the 28-0 second half, there WAS only one set of balls on that field, Sunday.

  9. A previous post by PFT said this rule has only been in place since 1999. So before that I assume teams did whatever they wanted to the footballs? 1999 isn’t that long ago. Why did they put the rule in the game in the first place? I’d also like to know if they just used one big pool of footballs that both teams used in a game pre-1999, or would each team just supply their own footballs to rotate in when they were on offense.

  10. I agree, this whole thing could have been avoided if the NFL provided and controlled the footballs. It’s kind of ridiculous to give that responsibility to the teams. Unfortunately the NFL doesn’t have any balls.

  11. How can anyone disagree with this?

    After reading the article about how long it takes to get Eli Mannings footballs ready in advance, you would think the NFL would have a flat 20 balls ready for kickoff, and have them all brand new.

    The only thing I could see modifying, is adding mud, like they do with baseballs, just to remove a touch of the sheen.

  12. Yes, and the refs need to have full oversight of the balls at all times.

    In the 70s in the heated Steelers-Raiders rivalry, a ball was sent into the game for a Steelers field goal in Oakland for a playoff game. It was underinflated……and it had an obscenity written on it.

    Belicheck really has balls, doesn’t he?

  13. A truly sensible solution. Not sure why they ever went with individual team balls. Oh wait, yes I do. this league bends over backwards for QBs/offense. Then they get surprised when those guys continue to push the envelope.

  14. This time Rooney is right.

    Level the playing field, every QB uses the same ball like in the old days

    Even kicking…. instead of changing the extra point make them kick the same ball, not the over inflated balloon they switch too.

  15. Makes sense…

    I think the reason they got away from it initially was because of QBs likening the football to a baseball glove or something like that, where they should be able to make it their own comfortably to perform best, with there being a truly negligible difference down the line between such personalized equipment.

    But, if it’s instead like a baseball, then it’s no longer team equipment. It’s external and part of the playing field or whatever. It’d be a hard habit to break though, since QBs have been manipulating inflated balls since forever — just about anything is better than one fresh out of the box. In this case, there were boundaries, and presumably 2psi is a significant standard deviation away from the accepted range. Honestly, I doubt it actually mattered though.

  16. yep. The only reasonable outcome. No QB gets his favorite ball anymore. Lets pull new footballs right out of the bag at the right pressure and play. No scuffs or anything.

  17. But that takes all the fun out of it. Deflate Gate has been quite entertaining thus far. As for media day, allow me to quote Bart Scott:

    “Can’t wait !”

  18. not for nothing, but the pats played the 2nd half with balls that were in spec……..and they outscored the colts 28-0

    the refs need to be the last ones to address the balls before gametime

  19. How is it that you write a column on every person that weighs in on this and yet you have not published one on Matt Leinart’s tweet.

    Not only have you not, but no major network outside of New England has….He even challenged you to follow up with almost any current or past Qb…


  20. Makes sense to me…. but if you’re the NFL and you love points on the scoreboard. Even when it is just one set of balls, you still have QBs being ball boys $7500 to make sure its done their way.

  21. Or, just have an NFL employee keep control of the balls after weigh-in, like they do with the kickers’ balls. I’m not sure why they have a different protocol for that anyway.

  22. Been saying this all along. If the psi of the balls is of such paramount concern, why on earth are the balls given back to team personnel?

  23. I agree. I watch the game with one set of balls, so they should have to play the game with one set of balls.

  24. A lot of “not sure why” and “wondering why” for a guy that is supposedly one of the top owners in the NFL explaining how the rule came into being that allows the teams to have two separate caches of balls.

    Obviously it is much easier to fix a game if variables such as this are so easily compromised. It sounds to me like it’s ALL part of the master plan.

  25. Roger Goodell’s NFL decided that the best way to get better ratings was to have higher scoring games. One easy way to get more scoring, other than crippling the defense, was to allow QBs to scuff and tweak balls to their liking, making them easier to throw. The NFL is simply reaping the rewards of its own short-sighted greed.

  26. Or, how about you take the balls prior to the game for inspection, and then treat them just like the “K” balls. Once the team gives you the balls for inspection, they dont get them back until after the game.

    If you are going to inspect them and then give them right back to the team, why even inspect them in the first place???

  27. Only one set of balls?
    Then what happens when everytime the Packers are getting beat, and they start crying and whining, and threaten to take their ball and go home?
    What happens when Tom Brady is the opponent?…cause he has no balls.

  28. After this, there will be one locker on the field where all game balls (teams can use their own practice balls) will be kept under guard of an NFL official. Each ball will be serialized and checked 27 times a game. Kicking balls will be eliminated (changing the kicking game completely) and both teams will only use game balls that video evidence records coming out of that locker.

    Brady, of course, will have his completion numbers drop substantially. And in a not unsurprising development, his passes will suddenly look a lot like Donovan McNabb’s.

    “And another Tom Brady pass bounces 6 feet in front of the receiver. What is going on here, Troy? Well, Joe, Tom is just having another in a string of bad days….”

  29. Games should be played with one group of balls….a group of balls that is provided by the NFL. I cant believe that as controlling as the NFL is about most things that they let each team bring their own balls. I also cant believe that they havent standardized the playing surface.

  30. I have the answer.

    Let’s not micromanage this game. You want to turn the NFL event into Fort Knox? With locks and keys and video surveillance and suspicions of doctoring? Fine.

    But why not let game ball pressure management be up to each team so that it becomes part of game strategy. I assumed all these years that that was what was happening. I didn’t know there were rules governing ball pressure and ball security. It’s stupid. Let’s not discriminate against QBs. Let Rodgers shine by inflating balls to his speccs. Let Brady shine by deflating his. If people seem to think there’s an advantage to a ball slightly deflated, then let them all deflate them. I don’t believe every QB feels that way (we know Rodgers doesn’t).

    As Leinart said, most QBs tamper with their balls. Drop the rule.

  31. finally someone with some common sense. Use one set of balls. Make the whiny QB’s adapt…it wasnt a big deal before and wont be a big deal now….

  32. Common sense is hard to come by these days, if teams provide their own balls of course they are going to inflate and deflate it to their specifications. So the NFL as the entity should go ahead and provide the balls for games to avoid such controversy if any. In the Premiership or any top flight soccer sports the teams don’t provide balls the Association does, I am sure the same goes for the NBA. Then again this story was so planted come Fri, it would run its course so people can move on.

  33. props to the man for standing up for the rational people in which Rooney said that he doesn’t think the deflated ball controversy is “on the scale of serious,”

    boy there are so many people that want this to be more serious. comical to epic proportions. here’s hoping for actual football fans that by monday the focus will shift back to the actual game. thanks to people like Mr Rooney, this could happen

  34. Let’s not let old guys that haven’t played the game in a while or at all decide the rules. How about getting some former recent players involved?

  35. I agree. Every other sport the officials unwrap a new ball and the teams have nothing to do with it. QBs can just live with that as it would be fair to both teams.

  36. I understand why; you have quarterbacks who like a certain ball feel. This is no different then in hockey, soccer, baseball, etc. Baseball players use different bats; hockey players different sticks, and soccer players like the ball to be a certain way as well.

    I don’t see the big deal; just add some low level guy to make sure no one tampers with the balls.

  37. It’s amazing where this $10B league cuts corners. Why a team has private access to the most critical piece of the game is ludicrous. The league can’t assemble a couple of interns to manage the game balls to ensure fair practices on both sides? What is wrong with these people? This was bound to happen eventually……

  38. He’s got an excellent point. the NFL micromanages such stupid and insignificant things like the color of one’s shoes, but doesn’t strictly manage the key piece of equipment in football? If the balls were correctnly inflated, would that have changed the outcome of the game? Of course not… the Colts were routed and the pressure of the football has little if nothing to do with that. The real issue here is that the Patriots are yet again caught try to gain that slight advantage if they can get away with it.

    Makes one wonder how good Golden Boy really is, had the Patriots followed ALL the rules like the other 31 teams.

  39. Where are the Pats fans that said the Colts used the same footballs? Crickets….

    Pats fans embrace the “taint”!!!

  40. People are going to make this about the Patriots, and rightfully so they apparently got caught, but the reality is this issue is bigger than one team and the league either has to change the way it handles the balls or change the rules.

    Because I think we can all agree that checking the balls two and a half hours before the game starts and then turning the balls over to the individual teams is just plain silly.

    This of course is if you belive that taking 2 PSI of air out of the football is a big deal.

  41. Look, this is all lots of fun and all, but there is something to be said about having a consistent football, and rules that enforce the consistency. The ball is the one thing that should be the same in every stadium, to make things fair for both sides. The fields are different, the wind is different, the turf is different, the noise is different, but the ONE thing that should be the same is the ball.

    And, those of you that played the game at ANY level know that the ball matters. When we were all kids, we all (eventually) got a chance to pick up and hold a “DUKE.” It’s big. It’s heavy. And it’s hard to get your hands around as a kid. The first time you try to throw it, you realize just what it means to be a pro quarterback. And THAT difficulty means something.

    What I’m getting at is this: a PRO quarterback should be able to throw a regulation (and properly inflated) Duke. If you can’t, then you’re not a pro QB. You doctor the ball, you’re not a pro QB. You mess with the ball in any way, you’re not a pro QB.

    Because being a pro QB means you can play the game with the regulation DUKE.

    End of story.

  42. Every pro QB “customizes” their footballs. The NY Times put out a lengthy article about Eli Manning soaking footballs in water and running them through machines to soften up the leather and make them easier to grip. That’s what I find so amusing about all this, that people are so eager to punish the Patriots for (supposedly) using the same tactics as everyone that they are willing to make their own QBs suffer as well. It’s like punching yourself in the face and hoping my nose hurts.

  43. One set of balls huh? Good idea, let the refs bring them in. Then there are no questions.

    Maybe one set of balls during the NFC Championship game might help the Packer’s coaching staff..

  44. I think most of us are missing the point. Lets take this out of the Pats v Colts game and apply it to the Packers v Seahawks game. Lets say that the league says no player can have cleats longer than 1/2 inch (there is a rule for this, at least in college there is). What if after the game Lynch’s shoes were left in the locker room and determined that they had 3/4 inch cleats in them for better traction. Would everyone be of the mindset that, it didn’t matter because Wilson threw the game winning TD in OT and those cleats didn’t affect that (even if he did have 150+ yards and a TD)? Would people say, everyone does it so it doesn’t matter? Would people say, the refs are responsible for checking the cleat length (even if they did before the game) and its their fault? What ever you think the penalty would be for Lynch/Seahawks in that situation should be the penalty now. I don’t know what that is but that should be the litmus test.

    I don’t think anyone likes a cheater and the saddest part is that from now on, Brady will always have an asterisk next to his name and records. No more arguments about Peyton v Brady, as people on Peyton side will just say that he didn’t have to cheat….

  45. The competition committee has always been part of the problem. It’s simply amazing how many rule changes the NFL pushes through without any testing or any long-term consideration. Typically, you won’t even hear about a potential rule change until the committee has passed it.

  46. Can you get Rooney on the show? I would love for somebody to ask him about the comment that, ” he thinks the league will do something if they find rules have been broken” because while the Pats are being investigated, there are three clear violations of the rules that have come to light, requiring no investigation. When will we hear about expected punishments for the Packers, Vikings, and Panthers?

  47. I wouldn’t even mind if every QB got to inflate their own footballs as they wish, and be able to make adjustments as the weather changes. Better gripping, more offense, more scoring. I don’t have a problem with that, as long as every QB gets the same treatment. That removes the opportunity for one QB to get an unfair advantage over a QB who is abiding by the rules.

  48. I wish the Packers would have played with at least one set of balls in the last 5 minutes.

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