The latest on the Patriots’ shrunken balls

Jay Glazer, FOX:

The Baltimore Ravens tipped off the Indianapolis Colts going into the AFC title game about the Patriots doctoring the air in footballs, according to FOX Sports NFL Insider Jay Glazer.

According to Glazer, the NFL was already planning to inspect the balls at halftime, despite D'Qwell Jackson's interception originally being reported as the cause.

While the NFL is still investigating and figuring out what direction to go in terms of possible penalties for Bill Belichick and the Patriots in what is being dubbed "Deflategate," many NFL owners, general managers and coaches are tired of the Patriots and are wondering if the league will finally take a hard line.

Rich Gannon, as told to Jason La Canfora, CBS:

"Ask any quarterback, and this is a non-issue. Everybody does something, to them. It's like a pitcher, he wants the ball a certain way. Take Tiger Woods, you wouldn't tell him after he's been hitting a 10.5 degree loft all week with a certain ball that, 'Hey, now we're going to switch your ball out.' That's his thing, and it's that specific feel that you want. That football is how we make our living and it sounds crazy, but it's a sacred thing. It's got to be a certain way."

"This has been going on a long time," Gannon said. "It goes back to when we were playing and you go to a visiting team and the balls were terrible. I remember going to Pittsburgh and the balls were awful -- they were slick, you couldn't grip them. I don't know how [former Steelers quarterback] Kordell Stewart threw the ball there.

Mark Brunell, ESPN:

"This is a huge advantage for a quarterback if he gets an opportunity to throw a ball like this because of the grip," Brunell said. "In cold, wet conditions, much like the AFC Championship Game, when you have a tough time as a quarterback gripping the ball, if you can have a ball like this, you can grip it and throw it further and with more ease. I could throw this ball 10 yards further because I can get more hand on the ball, I can squeeze it a little more. It makes a huge difference."

Peter King, MMQB:

There’s a difference that all these ex-quarterbacks are not taking into account when they say, “Every team doctors the footballs.” Former quarterback Matt Leinart tweeted something Wednesday that many quarterbacks were saying in different ways: “Every team tampers with the football. Ask any QB in the league, this is ridiculous!!”


To sum up: Yes, the quarterback or his equipment staff can break in the balls in whatever way they want a couple of days before the game. But no, the quarterback cannot dictate the level of air pressure in the ball. Or at least he cannot do it legally. And the low air pressure in the Patriots’ footballs is why this is a story.

John Madden, as told to Frank Cooney, SportsXchange:

"That would have to be driven by the quarterback," Madden told The Sports Xchange on Wednesday. "That's something that wouldn't be driven by a coach or just the equipment guy. Nobody, not even the head coach, would do anything to the football unilaterally, such as adjust the amount of pressure in a ball, without the quarterback not knowing. It would have to be the quarterback's idea."

Madden, who serves as a consultant to commissioner Roger Goodell and is on a couple of subcommittees that oversee various elements of the game, says he believed Belichick, who said this week that he knew nothing about it.

"Yeah, I believe him," Madden said. "I can see -- and you hate to make examples of what you can see because that sounds like you are accusing someone -- but I can see that being between the quarterback and the equipment guy.

"He is the effected, he is the only guy," Madden said, referring to the quarterback. "I heard some of the pundits saying the ball is easier to catch, but that would never, ever, ever be done for that unless the quarterback wanted it. You wouldn't do something for a receiver to catch the ball if the quarterback couldn't throw it. So it's going to be done for the quarterback."

Dan Wetzel, Yahoo:

It doesn’t matter how or why this became a big deal. It just has. You can suggest the Pats would have won anyway. (And they certainly would have.) You can argue it doesn't aid a talent such as Brady that much. (Of course, if it doesn’t matter then why deflate the ball in the first place?)

The reality here is that a rule violation involving the Patriots, with their history, occurring during the run-up to a Super Bowl, is going to be a major story. To think otherwise is naive. To wish it away is silly.

Jason Lisk, The Big Lead:

In the warm weather games (71 degrees on average), the Patriots’ passing offense averaged 6.88 yards per attempt and allowed 7.07 yards per attempt.

In the cold weather games (36 degrees on average), the Patriots’ passing offense averaged 7.52 yards per attempt and allowed 7.01 yards per attempt.

That appears to be a huge difference. Against most other evidence about how cold weather (usually because also accompanied by wind and other tough conditions) affects passing, the Patriots have averaged +0.64 more yards per attempt when the temperature drops, while the opponent has dropped slightly.

Jason La Canfora, CBS:

Weather, was not the culprit. Don't take my word, here's Dr. Michael Lisa, Professor of Physics, at Ohio State University:

"There were apparently balls found at 10.5 PSI gauge pressure, which is 11% below the regulation 13 PSI. That 11% change in pressure is what you'd get with a 11% reduction in temperature. Taking care of all the conversions to Kelvin, etc, that would be going from 70 F to 12 F. So, that could happen on a real cold day."

Brian Burke, AFA:

Assuming V1=V2 (the ball does not significantly grow between 10 and 13 psi) and that no deflation occurred, the mass of air remained the same and we can write

(12.5+14.7) * V1 / 294.3 = P2 * V2 / 283.7

Since V1=V2, they cancel out. Solving for P2, we get 26.2 absolute psi, which is 11.5 gauge psi. That only explains a half of the discrepancy, and there's still 1.0 psi left to account for. But the volume of the ball does change when inflating, which is the whole point of deflating it to make it easier to hold, throw, and catch. But it only does so slightly in that range of pressure, probably by a few percent. And a shrinking ball would have the effect of mitigating the loss of pressure.

Drew Magary, Deadspin:

The NFL is no longer in the business of entertaining you with sport. It must be about ACCOUNTABILITY and FAIRNESS and JUSTICE and PROCESSES. Anything except football, really. That's where we are with this shit now. So keep it up, hot takers of America. Where is Shank? Where is Whitlock? Where is Wilbon? When is Simmons gonna chime in about how his postgame plans with Tom Brady have been ruined now? ALL OF YOU NEED TO SHOW YOUR ASSES FOR MY ENJOYMENT. If you have ANY integrity… you'll do it for me.

David Rappoccio, Kissing Suzy Kolber:

Balls. Balls Balls Balls. Balls.

Won’t someone think of the children? Ballghazi (or #Deflategate if you just have to insist on adding -Gate to everything) has given millions of Americans an excuse to say Balls as much as possible. Deflated Balls. Why did they deflate the balls? Is Ball tampering illegal? How many Balls were affected? What about the Colts balls? How much can you deflate a Ball before the Ball doesn’t reach regulation psi? Could the weather have affected the Balls? Did the deflated Balls really have an impact on the outcome? Do other teams and players tamper with balls? Did the Ravens have deflated Balls? Probably not, the Ravens are noted for always blaming everything but their own team for their losses. They teach you that in Ball So Hard University.

PFT Commenter, Kissing Suzy Kolber:

Bill Belichick is a psychopath- hes worse then Osama Bin Laden, BTK and Jerry Sandusky put togheter. I bet hes got a freezer in his house that is literaly filled with half-inflated footballs. We just as a society completely forgave Penn State for the Jerry Sandusky series of missunderstandings, are we really prepared to go through that exact thing again? When you think about it the only diffrence between this Patriot scandale and Penn State is the letter “H” since Belichick prefers it when theres not enough Air on the balls.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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