On Wednesday, Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke about DeflateGate II. According to the NFL, he actually misspoke about DeflateGate II.
“The Giants had asked us about it during the game,” Goodell told reporters on Wednesday regarding the concerns raised about the inflation level in footballs used by the Steelers on December 4 in Pittsburgh.
“The Commissioner misspoke regarding the time the club notified the league,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT via email. “He meant to say after the game.”
It’s an important distinction. If the Giants didn’t raise the concern until after the game, it would have been too late for the league to test the air pressure in the footballs, because the air pressure would have adjusted and the chain of custody would have broken. If the Giants raised the concern during the game, the NFL should have tested all of the footballs then and there, like the league did when the Colts raised the same concern about the Patriot during the 2014 AFC championship game.
Then again, if the complaint was indeed made after the game, there would have been no reason to ensure that “[a]ll of the league protocols were being properly followed” because there would have been no way to prove that anyone had tampered with the footballs if the protocols weren’t being followed. The league, unwilling to accept the PSI levels measured by the Giants due to the fact that it was a different device, would have been unable to proceed in any way without determining the air pressure in all of the footballs during the game.
Frankly, if the Giants were hoping to catch the Steelers, it made no sense to raise the concern after the game. Then again, if the Giants had any understanding of the Ideal Gas Law, it made no sense to raise the concern during the game either, because on a cold day in Pittsburgh the footballs necessarily would have experienced natural deflation.
That’s ultimately the point that the NFL doesn’t want to focus on. All of the footballs used in the Giants-Steelers game experienced a drop in air pressure. Testing the PSI levels would have confirmed that, and the numbers (if ever published) would have demonstrated that the PSI levels in the footballs used by the Patriots 23 months ago weren’t sufficiently out of whack to suggest foul play.