NFL has retained experts to conduct air pressure experiments

In the aftermath of last Saturday’s My Cousin Vinny press conference from Patriots coach Bill Belichick, scientists throughout America have chimed in on whether Belichick’s Mother Nature-based explanation of reduced football air pressure makes sense.

Ultimately, the NFL will decide whether the theory offered by Belichick holds water.

Per a league source, the NFL has retained multiple experts to conduct experiments regarding the effects of temperature and other atmospheric conditions on internal football air pressure.  The experts also will work directly with the Patriots to simulate all football preparation procedures, including the “rubbing” to which Belichick referred last Saturday, and on which he blamed a change in air pressure.

The involvement of outside experts partially contributes to the anticipated duration of the investigation, which Ted Wells has said will last several weeks.  And while some will claim that the NFL is merely looking for a way to exonerate the Patriots, the league has entered uncharted waters on this one, which makes it critical to fully rule out all possible explanations other than tampering before punishing the Patriots in any way.

67 responses to “NFL has retained experts to conduct air pressure experiments

  1. No mention of the Rapaport report stating one ball (the one the Colts had possession of) was 2 PSI under, and others were “just a tick” under.

  2. Ian Rapoport said today that most of the balls were between a ‘tick’ under to 1 psi under. The only ball that made it to 2 psi under was the one the Colts had possession of.

    So maybe Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson can redo their formulas with the correct information instead of pretending every ball was 2 psi under.

    Should the Colts be investigated for tampering with the football they turned in?

  3. ha ha ha….omg u can’t make this stuff up……the NFL = Keystone Cops…..who has to PROVE the laws of the Universe….only the NFL to try and cover their butts for their latest fiasco!!!!

  4. Can you say “billable hours”? The NFL League Office is a joke. Ted Wells is not an independent investigator. He’s been contracted and is being paid by the NFL. You want an independent investigator? At the owners’ meeting, have all 32 owners vote on a firm. That would be independent. Not hand-picked by Goodell himself.

  5. Perhaps they’ll be able to explain how the only ball that dropped by 2 lbs psi is the one the Colts turned over to the refs.

    Mike Florio, why so silent on the latest ball deflation developments???

    Afraid we might now call it MediaSmearGate??

    Hope NFL investigators enjoy their stay in Indy.

  6. “Experts for pressure experiments.” I wonder if the NFL realizes how dumb and crazy they sound. Trying to save face by keeping this investigation somewhat alive, and making themselves look busy.

  7. You’re losing it, you missed the little update about most of the balls being “a tick under” 12.5 now? Only the one in the colts/mike kensil’s possesion was 2 pounds under..

    Maybe you should start digging into what exactly happened with that ball once it ended up on the colts sideline? Maybe theres a MUCH bigger scandal brewing?

  8. So after all is said and done ONE ball was 2 psi under 3/4 were about a 1psi under and 3/4 balls were there or thereabouts. Wow, got to love the accuracy of that report and as for releasing it today… unbelieveable, why would the league do that today of all days!!!

  9. So the Colts ball all apparently defied science, and the one Pats ball they had possession of is the only one significantly under 12.5.

    Time to ask some questions of the Colts.

  10. And no mention the locker room attendant who went into the bathroom was described as elderly

    And as we know, an elderly male has to go to the bathroom more often and takes longer to obtain a solid stream.

    The “over-reacters” are looking more foolish everyday.

  11. No, if the NFL keeps pursuing its witch hunt, ultimately a jury in the State of Massachusetts will decide on the testimony of competing experts because Belichick isn’t going to roll over for a dictator with no integrity. The question is will Brady and Kraft join him. The game was held in Massachusetts. The investigation was initiated in Massachusetts. The NFL will not be able to change venue in a defamation lawsuit to federal court or to another state.

  12. Belichick actually didn’t blame the “rubbing” on the change in air pressure. Actually the opposite. He stated that the rubbing raised the air pressure, another way of simply stating that the normal preparation they do to the ball during the week wouldn’t have accounted for the lower air pressure. Belichick blamed the lower air pressure directly on inflating the ball in a warm room and then taking it outside in cold weather. It wasn’t that complicated what he said.

  13. They will be vindicate regardless if they cheated or not. They have cheated before so why not now.
    The NFL and Roger Goodell will see to it that the patsies get their apology.

  14. its pretty obvious that the officials and the league are the ones at fault here , if it was the patriots plan to gain some mythical advantage by getting the ball under 12.5 they sure did a sloppy job of it with 12 balls varying in softness . what makes more sense , is the officials test one or 2 by gauge then did the rest with a squeeze test .

  15. “Pats balls were under inflated. Colts were not. Case closed…..”

    Seeing as the Colts deflated the football before turning it in, they likely had this planned. They likely inflated to 13.5 to make sure they weren’t under.

  16. And while some will claim that the NFL is merely looking for a way to exonerate the Patriots

    WHAT?!?!?!? Who writes this stuff? So the league is going to leak false reports, treat them as gospel, have the ww leader is sports pay “experts” to align with the story and slander the Pats for 2 weeks leading up to the game… ignoring all evidence their leaks were rushed and simply wrong… and by actually testing, you are alleging people are going to think this is the league trying to do the Pats A FAVOR??? This is the problem with this league and media right now. That sentence right there.

  17. Which draft pick should the Colts hand over to the Patriots for tampering with a football & starting this charade to deflect attention from their embarrassing performance in the ACF Championship game?

  18. Unless this is the greatest game in SB history, this will go down as the most dreary and detestable season and Super Bowl of all time.

    I mean, seriously. Look at the story lines of this game: Deflategate and Marshawn Lynch. Really. How exciting.

    Two teams that most of America hates playing in a game preceded by two weeks of mind-numbing nonsense.

    Congrats, NFL! Boy, I sure hope the commercials are funny.

  19. They should also conduct experiments to determine if balls below the 12.5 PSI create a significant advantage, that way if they do find intent to deflate the balls they can at least know if it produces a relevant advantage and to what degree that it does. That way they can just declare that as a result of the experiments this whole issue isn’t that big of a deal and so we’ve decided to move on and change the acceptable range to 10-infinity, or the refs supply the balls and you play with whatever they give you.

  20. This has already been done, many times, and results are available on YouTube and in public reports. The bottom line is that a 20º change in temperature reduces pressure by about 1.5 PSI, and the pressure nearly returns to normal within about 15 minutes. These facts alone explain the entire phenomenon. There never was any issue with the Patriots’ footballs.

  21. if the Colts messed with that ball then they cheated since the rule book states those balls are NOT to be messed with once they are approved by the refs…..FINE them…..we need to set an example!!!

  22. Florio, why not posting on the fact Rappaport is reporting only one ball was 2psi under? Others were just a ‘tick’ under?

    Did you hurt yourself trying to jump off the media smear-job bandwagon?

    Has anyone asked Mike Kensil if he tampered with the ball before he turned it over? You know, the ex-Jet employee with a Pats grudge who was on the Colts sideline when the ball Jackson intercepted was taken away???

    Any video of Mike Kensil going into a bathroom that ‘locks from the inside’ for ’90 seconds’????

    Goodell could help himself get this egg off his face if he’d just release the psi measurements his team got from the 12 balls instead of letting this witch hunt continue to fester.

  23. Dang, Florio! Me thinks you found a comfortable niche with rest of Patriot Hate! PFT needs to start discussing, dissecting, and evaluating at how Brady is going to feed Seattle this NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDA UNTIL THEY PUKE!! WHAT HAPPENED TO YA RICHAAD?, WHEAA DIDJA GET THAT SHINA, DID GRONK GET HOLD OF YA? CAUSE YA DIDN’T GET IT ICE FISHIN!! HOW DIDJA GET THAT SHOULDA POPPED OUTTA YA SOCKET, BALDWIN?, DID BROWNAA DO IT FOR YA?!!

  24. I’m going to repeater the basic math one more time

    Assuming the Balls are a relatively fixed volume for these pressues ranges (which strikes me as fairly reasonable)

    Then this is a simple Ideal gas law problem

    PV=NRT where V, N and R are constant

    a 20 Degree falls represents a 3.8% Reduction in Temp

    And therefore should correspond to a 3.8% reduction in absolute pressure
    (12.5 + 14.7) * 3.8 % = 1

    Ergo you would expect to see a 1psi drop in each ball assuming that they were inflated to 12.5 PSI at 72 Degrees

  25. The Illegal 20-Yard Swing in the Pats-Ravens Game

    Despite the attention heaped on deflategate, the bigger scandal of the playoffs will end up having been the refs mishandling of the Patriots eligibility-aided drive against the Ravens.

    Proper enforcement of the rules would have penalized the Patriots for 5 yards. Add that 5 to the 15 yard penalty that the Ravens took to call attention to the scheme and that’s a 20-yard swing on a scoring drive in a very close game.

    No one, including PROFOOTBALLTALK.COM, appears to have held the refs to the standards laid out in the NFL’s 2012 POINTS OF EMPHASIS, which specifically address the situation that occurred in the Patriots-Ravens game. Everyone, including PROFOOTBALLTALK.COM, has taken the refs at their word without much scrutiny. The refs still seem confused about how to handle this situation. If they looked at the 2012 POINTS OF EMPHASIS, the answer is right there.

    The cold logic here includes two points and one extrapolation.

    1. FACT: It was widely reported that Shane Vereen on at least one play reported his ineligibility just before the snap on the drive.

    2. FACT: Players wearing numbers that don’t qualify them for their position must report to the referee “BEFORE ENTERING THE HUDDLE.” And if a player fails to properly report his change in eligibility, “IT WILL RESULT IN A 5-YARD PENALTY FOR ILLEGAL SUBSTITUION.”

    3. EXTRAPOLATION: If the refs had thrown the flag, Harbaugh would not have gotten the unsportsmanlike conduct. That’s the 20-yard swing on a scoring drive.

    Here is the portion of the 2012 points of emphasis:
    The committee also reviewed the procedures for an offensive player who comes into the game wearing a number that does not qualify him for the position he takes. These players must report to the referee, before entering the huddle. The referee and umpire will then report the same to the defensive team.

    This rule prevails whether a player is already in the game or is an entering substitute and whether it is a play from scrimmage, an attempted field goal, or a try after a touchdown. If a player fails to report his change in eligibility, it will result in a 5-yard penalty for illegal substitution.

    Clearly no one wants to talk about this. Not the Patriots certainly, not the NFL refs (who are still confused about how to handle this issue) and not the Ravens (who in retrospect should have called a timeout.) But that doesn’t change the fact that if the refs had handled it properly, the outcome might have been different.

  26. “Can this get any stupider? This league is becoming more of a joke everyday.”

    Actually, if we step back and observe from a distance the NFL has slowly turned the tables over the last two weeks.

    The narrative has moved 180 degrees away from the Patriots. Two guys, Blandino and Rappaport, both on the NFL payroll, have released information that looks to exonerate the Patriots.

    The NFL is slowly building a case that it was duped by individuals (in the Colts organization and in their own offices) that acted either irrationally or with malice and that their “thoughtful”, “independent”, and painstaking “process” uncovered the truth. In short, this will either be attributed to the errors or bad acts of a very few individuals.

  27. I’m not a Patriots fan, and I could care less either way, but doesn’t this seem like overkill. First, let’s admit that someone / something caused the balls to lose their air pressure. From this point forward does anyone think that the Patriots’ footballs will not be checked with a microscope. Here is a simple solution, have set of footballs that belong only to the league used for every game (supplied by the league, maintained by the league, kept under lock and key by the league). Once again this is just insane how this has dragged on, but in the world of the NFL (Non-Functional League), it’s par for the course!

  28. I am sure much like a trial they will ‘shop’ for an expert that will support their side. Face it in science it is easy to find people who will confirm your side and also there will be an equal amount that will support the other side. The NFL has no baseline because the were not smart enough to test the balls throughout the years.

  29. The NFL should get some experts to explain to them how important it is to keep a log of the football air pressure for evidence when conducting an investigation into the air pressure of footballs.

  30. Just stop it! It does not take several “experts” to conduct experiments involving rudimentary physics. It really does not matter anyway because there is no record of what the balls were inflated to prior to the game. There is nothing to compare the results to. The league says the balls were within specs and we all assume they were guaged at 12.5psi. I have seen 1 video showing a crew checking the balls with a guage before a (different) game and I have seen accounts where some officials have just squeezed the balls as a matter of course. We don’t know exactly what that particular officiating crew did that day. If the reports that 11 balls were slightly under regulation and the single ball the Colts snagged was under by 2psi (after the Colts complained about a previous game) are true, logic says that the Colts may have let some air out of that ball because it was the only ball that tested outside the uniform range of “natural” deflation. The Pats haters are really going to be mad if a video turns up showing that ball disappearing from camera view, or worse, being tampered with by the Colts and they wind up getting punished instead of the Patriots.

  31. upperdecker19 says:
    Feb 1, 2015 1:44 PM
    But what effect would a 1.21 jigowatt bolt of lightning have on the ball?


    It wouldn’t matter, because there is no way Tom Brady has the arm to throw it hard enough to reach 88 mph to go back and actually win Super Bowl XLII. 🙁

  32. corporalirrelevant says:
    Feb 1, 2015 2:14 PM
    I’m going to repeater the basic math one more time

    Assuming the Balls are a relatively fixed volume for these pressues ranges (which strikes me as fairly reasonable)

    Then this is a simple Ideal gas law problem

    PV=NRT where V, N and R are constant

    a 20 Degree falls represents a 3.8% Reduction in Temp

    And therefore should correspond to a 3.8% reduction in absolute pressure
    (12.5 + 14.7) * 3.8 % = 1

    Ergo you would expect to see a 1psi drop in each ball assuming that they were inflated to 12.5 PSI at 72 Degrees

    Did you ever think that in your lifetime THIS comment would appear on an NFL blog on SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!?!?!?!?!??

    Seriously, thanks to all responsible parties for stripping every ounce of fun out of this game.

  33. How did Bob Kravitz respond to Rappaport and why hasn’t Florio linked to Ian’s report?

    How do you think the guys that called Brady and Belichick liars and cheaters felt when they learned of Ian Rappaport’s report? If they are decent human beings they should have said to themselves, “great, glad to hear that”. If they are not such nice guys, they felt the same way Warden Norton did in The Shawshank Redemption when the cops were coming after him.

  34. This is just an acedemic exercise aimed at re-establishing what is already known. We know atmosherics can reduce or increase the pressure of a ball. Without the documented measurements of all the balls before the game and at halftime, the results of the experiments will prove nothing. What must be known is how much each ball lost from its starting point and then whether the atmospherics could have caused this. If the atmosherics could be proven to have been unable to cause the observed pressure differential, then and only then should the focus become who did it. Even then, the Patriots are only one of a possible list of entities with various motives for doing this is if that’s really what happened.

  35. Per Rappaport

    Eleven of the 12 footballs used in the first half were judged by the officials to be the minimum of 12.5 PSI, but just ONE was two pounds under. Many of them were just a few ticks under the minimum.

    Anyone wanna guess where the ONE ball came from?? From the Colts sideline.

    PTF. NFL dot com is reporting this.. Why isn’t PFT. Oh, why ask. We know why.

  36. If you don’t know the actual pressure of the footballs before the game started then any investigation or testing is a waste of time other than info for a future rules change.

  37. The rule of thumb is for every 10° Fahrenheit change in air temperature, tire pressures will change about 2%.

  38. I checked his Twitter feed. Bob Kravitz has not even reported, never mind responded to, Ian Rappaport’s report.

    Hard to believe ESPN has allowed Mortensen to play such a prominent role. He should be off the air, with pay, until the issue is resolved.

  39. Being that it is NOW coming out that there is only 1 ball that was low, case closed, nothing was done to the ball intentionally. A more likely cause is the ball was bad or leaked when the gauge came out. They will recheck the ball and don’t be surprised if the ball is bad.

    Brady threw 1 bad pass and it was under thrown and intercepted and that was the bad ball. No one will ever know but that under inflated ball may be a contributing factor in the bad pass because the feel was different. Doubtful but it surely didn’t help.

  40. For the love of God let it go! All this crap has pushed me to rooting for New England just so everybody will shut up and stop acting like they got to the SB because of some damn air pressure in a football

  41. continuing harryhands9:
    And that is about 2% of the **absolute** pressure (measured from total vacuum), per 10° F. If you “let all the air” out you get P=0 on the ref’s gauges, and on your tire gauge, because it never goes below atmospheric pressure = 14.7 psi. If you “pump ALL the air out” you get zero absolute pressure, which like absolute temperature, is required for use with PV = nRT.
    Suppose that in the cozy refs locker room, it started in the middle of the prescribed range (13 psi) and falls 4% (more likely (72-52)/(491.6+62) = 3.6%) after it has been outside for a while. This 20° F change causes 0.036*(13+14.7) = 0.99 psi change, naturally. This assumes that n stays the same (no molecules removed, no “leaks”). Maybe there were “leaks” on the one ball the Colts seized, and certainly from hostile sources to the mass-frenzied media.

    Now, let’s enjoy the game, and may the best team win.

  42. I just rechecked his Twitter feed. Mr. Independent, Bob Kravitz, has still not reported or responded to Ian Rappaport’s report.

    This is the guy that tweeted: “Robert Kraft’s absence at @NFLcommish presser today says a lot” . . .

    Not as much as your silence does now Bob.

  43. The more I read about this, the more I think NFL is creating a case to make Irsay sell his team; it’s hard to enforce substance abuse policies on teams/players when one of the 32 owners is a known drug user.

  44. I find it rather amusing that all the self-proclaimed physics experts are trying to predict what the pressure would be at 52 degrees, when in fact the balls were taken back inside for testing. Those same gas laws say that when returned to the original temperature, the pressure should also return to original. So test the balls at 72 degrees, and if the pressure is still low, that would mean air was removed. Simple.

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