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.