My Irish correspondent Henry has informed me that scientific tests have shown that temperatures can cause a properly inflated ball to deflate in the same manner as the 11 footballs the Patriots used in their game. The wonder of it all is that the 12th ball remained unaffected by the changes in the air and humility.
Having practiced trial law as a profession I am well aware that you always try to get the best expert that money will buy, or, to put it another way you can always get an expert’s opinion in your favor if you have enough money. So, with due respect to Henry, I must say that I look with a jaundiced eye on his offer of proof. That will not be surprising to some of my readers who suggest I am cynical.
Not wanting to put too much trust in others to resolve this matter I decided to conduct my own experiments. But before telling you of those, I want to mention what we know to be true as distinguished from what the media had told us for those who have not been on top of this issue.
The NFL has a silly rule that requires footballs to be at a certain pressure between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds a square inch. (psi) The rule makes no sense. If one quarterback likes to throw the ball better with a 10.5 psi and another 13.5 why not let them do it. It would hardly diminish the game in any respect since each side could choose what it liked best and anything above the equivalent of a football with a flat should be acceptable. That this is so is shown by the fact that no fan prior to deflategate ever complained about the psi in a football.
On the day in question the referee said he checked the balls and they all were within the right range. There is no proof the referee did this other than his word. Like a criminal caught in a jam he would not confess to not having done that since he was supposed to have done it and to admit a failure in that respect would cause him embarrassment and probably his job. So we have to put our trust in a person who has as great an incentive to lie as any of the murderers who testified against Whitey Bulger to get their sweetheart deals.
To put it another way, the idea the footballs had changed their inflation rate during the first half of the game at issue starts out on a shaky foundation. I should really stop here. Without more proof than the mere word of an individual that he did his job without some type independent corroboration of that how is there really an issue. But let’s go on.
We know there was no prior suspicion the balls had been deflated as the media has written. The referee boss told us that. The player on the other team denied he had noticed any difference in the ball. None of the officials or players on the field noticed a difference. But someone did, apparently someone on the Colts team and he or she called it to the attention of the officials who checked the balls and found 11 were underweight. Thus it was inferred that someone on the Patriots had deliberately done this.
The NFL being concerned with its integrity, when no question of it really existed because everyone concedes the Patriots could have been playing with a medicine ball or cotton ball and the outcome would have been the same, and having more money than is good for it hired lawyers and experts to investigate the matter. They have reached out to their own experts with pockets full of dough to buy the result that will fit in nicely with their end result.
It became a national issue that led off many network newscasts as if the fate of the nation was at risk so that one like myself who has sworn off writing about sports is dragged back into doing this. I’ve concluded after much research that if the ball testing ref is believed the case comes down to a simple “who is the culprit.” Right now all agree that if a human hand had something to do with it then the ball boy must take the hit. Why did he do it? Perhaps, because carrying a bag with footballs that weight 10.5 psi compared to 12.5 is easier.
We also know that the publicity is good for the NFL and its Super Bowl. The audience should increase. The win by the Patriots will always be tarnished in some respect by the NFL having made a mountain out of a mole hill. Apologies after the game will do little to convince those who want to believe the Patriots cheated that they didn’t.
As I mentioned I decided to do my own experiment. I know the temperature of air is related to how fast the air molecules move and how hard they crash into the walls of the football. The faster they move the more the pressure increases. Cold air will decrease pressure because the air atoms move around less and need less space.
With this knowledge I placed an official football that I used a long time ago in the freezer I had in my basement overnight. I then took it out and put it into my over which I had set at 350 degrees Since I had no pressure gauge I figured using somewhat extreme temperatures would answer the question whether they effect a football.
I was sort of lucky the oven door held when the football exploded but the experiment convinced me that it wasn’t the ball boy. The culprit is Mother Nature. I’d suggest the NFL take away her season’s pass.