Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the wintry elements with footballs inflated precisely at 12.5 pounds per square inch . . . .
Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reports that the Giants have alerted the league office to the fact that a pair of footballs obtained by their defense during last Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh had less than the minimum air pressure. The Giants have not yet heard back from the NFL.
The Giants likely won’t. As Glazer explained it, there likely won’t be an investigation or protracted disciplinary process.
As the Patriots would say, of course there won’t be, because the league office currently has no reason to prosecute and/or persecute the Pittsburgh Steelers over the trumped-up notion that there was deliberate deflation of footballs.
If the footballs contained 12.5 PSI at kickoff, of course they had less than that later in the game, after the bladders within the pigskin were in the December atmosphere for any period of time.
The bigger question is how far below 12.5 PSI the balls were. The biggest question is whether the league office would act simply on anecdotal evidence without a broader opportunity to test all footballs at the time. Given that the NFL currently has a super-secret PSI spot-check program aimed at ensuring that no one is cheating, common sense and fairness suggests that a team-implemented effort to catch an opponent will get no traction.
Meanwhile, the mere existence of the issue raises questions about the current relationship between the Giants and the Steelers. Long connected at the ownership level, by virtue of a strong relationship between team founders Tim Mara and Art Rooney Sr. and the marriage of Mara’s grandson, Chris, to Rooney’s granddaughter, Kathleen (who owns 10 Super Bowl rings), it’s odd to see the Maras and Rooneys at odds, in any way.
That said, there’s a sense in league circles that John Mara and Art Rooney II aren’t as close as other respective family members are and have been. Whatever the level of kinship between the duo, the Giants have applied a heaping helping of stress to it.