We still don’t know much about the Patriots’ procedures for inflating their footballs. During Thursday’s press conference from coach Bill Belichick, two things became clear: (1) the Patriots previously inflated the football to the minimum required air pressure of 12.5 PSI; and (2) that will change going forward.
“I’ve learned about the inflation range situation, obviously, with our footballs being inflated to the twelve and a half pound range, any deflation would then take us under that specification limit,” Belichick said. “Knowing that now, in the future we will certainly inflate the footballs above that low level to account for any possible change during the game. So as an example, if a ball deflated from 13.2 to 12.9, it wouldn’t matter, but if it deflated from 12.5 to 12.3, it would — as an example. So we will take steps in the future to make sure that we don’t put ourselves in that type of potential situation again.”
While it’s somewhat amazing that Bill Belichick, who has a reputation for controlling or attempting to control every aspect of the game, had no knowledge of or involvement in the condition of the 12 footballs used by his team’s offense, it’s clear that he’ll be paying closer attention in the future.
Then again, with a one-pound range for permissible air pressure, the fact that the Patriots chose the low end of the limit surely wasn’t accidental. It shows that the quarterback wanted less air, not more.
None of it will matter if the NFL decides to treat the balls used in scrimmage plays the same way the NFL treats balls used in the kicking game, with all footballs used in all games coming straight from the box before kickoff.