There’s been a lot of discussion about the handling of footballs for the last two weeks and the NFL would prefer not to have a rehash of the topic after the Super Bowl, so they’ve made some changes to the process for Super Bowl Sunday.
The league already announced that the Bears equipment staff has been tabbed to oversee the pregame preparation of the footballs that the Patriots and Seahawks will use and NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino outlined some other differences on Thursday.
“There will be some added security just because of the environment we’re in for this game,” Blandino said, via ESPN.com.
The 54 balls (the high number is due to “charity commitments” for game-used Super Bowl balls) each team want to use will go to Bears equipment manager Tony Medlin on Friday and will remain in his possession with the additional security in place until referee Bill Vinovich inspects them a couple of hours before kickoff.
Blandino also said that the league plans to review all of their pregame procedures for dealing with footballs this offseason, presumably including the league’s practice of not logging the PSI of the balls during the initial check.