Over the weekend, Bill Belichick called an impromptu presser, during which punched back with an apparent strong defense of his team and his own legacy. There was a My Cousin Vinny reference, defense of the prior so-called Spygate cheating scandal, and loads of pseudoscience.
Pats Nation got all lathered up, thinking the hooded one had put his latest allegation to rest (as if they needed any convincing). Here was Belichick's science lesson from Saturday:
When the footballs go out onto the field into game conditions, whatever those conditions are, whether it’s hot and humid, cold and damp, cold and dry, whatever it is, that’s where the footballs are played with and that’s where the measurements would be different -- possibly different -- from what they are in a controlled environment and that’s what we found. We found that once the footballs were on the field over an extended period of time, in other words they were adjusted to the climatic conditions and also the fact that the footballs, which an equilibrium without the rubbing process after that had run its course and the footballs reached an equilibrium, that they were down approximately 1.5 pounds per square inch. When we brought the footballs back in after that process and retested them in a controlled environment as we have here, then those measurements rose approximately 0.5 PSI. So the net of 1.5 [PSI] back down 0.5 [PSI] is approximately 1 PSI.
Now, we all know that air pressure is a function of the atmospheric conditions, it’s a function of that. So, if there’s activity in the ball relative to the rubbing process, I think that explains why when we gave them to the officials and the officials put it at 12.5 [PSI] if that’s in fact what they did, that once the ball reached its equilibrium state, it probably was closer to 11.5 [PSI]. That’s just our measurements, we can’t speak specifically to what happened because we have no way of touching the footballs other than once the officials have them, we don’t touch them except for when we play with them in the game. But, it’s similar to the concept of when you get into your car and the light comes on and it says low tire pressure because the car has been sitting in the driveway outside overnight and you start it up and you start driving it and the light goes off -- it’s a similar concept to that. So the atmospheric conditions as well as the true equilibrium of the football is critical to the measurement.
Totally believable, right? Well, not to two of America's favorite actual scientists:
For the Patriots to blame a change in temperature for 15% lower-pressures, requires balls to be inflated with 125-degree air.— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) January 26, 2015
Representatives of Wilson, the company that manufactures the NFL's game balls, also strongly refuted Belichick's truthiness:
But Bill Nye the Science Guy didn’t. And neither did Jenkins.
“Not going to say,” Jenkins said when asked what he thought about Belichick’s explanation before immediately relenting with a laugh. “That’s BS. That’s BS, man.”
So, how would it happen? Jenkins, who freely admitted he’s a Browns fan from Cleveland, where Belichick isn’t all that highly-regarded to this day, shook his head.
“Only the New England Patriots know.”
Jenkins suggested “maybe in a year or two” the PSI would fluctuate after being introduced to different environments, which seems to fly in the face of the dozens upon dozens of amateur science experiments that took place throughout New England last week. He did, however, relent that the ball’s pressure may change if you put it in a freezer, then unfreeze it.
So, it indeed appears as if though Wilson is also calling foul on the New England Patriots.
"Well it couldn't unless something happened to a bladder, but that really doesn't happen and there's no other real way,” Wilson’s director of experiential marketing Molly Wallace said. “All we know is what we can control is when it leaves the factory it's within an NFL spec, within the PSI of 12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds of pressure for every single NFL team.”
Stitched, sealed, and delivered.
Meanwhile, the league apparently has surveillance video suggesting a Patriots locker-room attendant may be the culprit behind the scandalous deflation:
FOX Sports has learned that the NFL has zeroed in on a New England Patriots locker-room attendant in connection with the scandal of improperly inflated footballs used in the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The person of interest was already interviewed by the league. The NFL is trying to determine whether any wrongdoing by this individual occurred, sources tell FOX Sports.
There is surveillance video showing the attendant taking the footballs from the official's locker room into another room at Gillette Stadium before bringing them out to the field, sources tell FOX Sports.
Of course, Ted Wells says the league's investigation into the matter will take "several more weeks," or long after Super Bowl 49 will have been decided.