During the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, some of the footballs used by the Patriots were said to be deflated below league limits of 12.5 psi. Indeed, we were told that 11 of the 12 balls were 2 psi too low. Why, that must mean the Patriots were cheating! And then, of all things, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick had the gall to deny they did anything wrong. Why, that’s even worse. They cheated and were caught, yet they refuse to fess up? Hang ’em!
First, at a press conference last Thursday in Phoenix, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino spilled the beans that the PSI of the 12 Patriots footballs were never recorded by referee Walt Anderson. Blandino said that balls were measured, and if they were under the low threshold of 12.5, they were simply pumped up with some air. So instantly, the report by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that said 11 of the 12 footballs were a full 2 PSI under the threshold was essentially debunked. How could Mortensen have that information if nobody could have that information? (The answer, of course, is that a source who desperately wanted such misinformation out there gave him the “scoop.”)
Got that? The initial report was garbage.
Secondly, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the morning of the Super Bowl that just one of the 11 footballs was 2 PSI under the limit, while the other 10 were “just a tick” under the 12.5 threshold.
Goodness gracious, how shocking. It’s almost like this makes perfect sense. Under the scenario put forth by the people who are purely jealous of the success of the New England Patriots, we were told to believe that Tom Brady had given instructions to deflate 12 balls, yet whoever did it messed up and only deflated 11. Because that’s what the best quarterback in the history of the game wants, right? “Yeah, I want you to do this very specific thing because it makes a huge difference. If you happen to entirely mess up 1 football, I’m sure that wouldn’t make a massive difference. Even though I’ve just contended that it does make a difference.”
No, what’s more likely here is that a whole host of footballs were ball parked to 12.5 psi and someone messed up on one of them. Why? Because the exact psi isn’t overwhelmingly important and Tom Brady doesn’t give specific instructions other than to keep them as low as they’re allowed.
Here’s the reality. The Patriots had 12 balls inflated pretty close to the required 12.5 psi. For whatever reason, one of them was a bit off. The refs, of course, claim they checked them out before the game, but let’s be realistic. One ref likely squeezed a few footballs and called it good. No one took out a pressure gauge and checked everything over. Furthermore, the Pats 12 backup balls didn’t seem to have any issues. Moreover, no one measured the psi of the Colts’ balls, as far as we know. This entire “investigation” has been as garbage as the accusations. And as if all that wasn’t enough, let’s look at history. When the Pats were “spying” on other teams (just like every other team does), they were caught and fessed up pretty quickly. Belichick and the organization took their fines and moved on. I don’t for a second believe they wouldn’t have owned up to doing something as minor as messing with the psi of a few footballs.