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PSI Boston: Ballghazi and Tom Brady

picture courtesy of nbcnews.com
Approximately nine years ago National Football League Quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady approached other QB’s seeking their signatures in support of petitioning the league for rule changes in reference to game balls. The majority signed leading to the changes of NFL game ball procedures in 2006.

Prior to this change of protocol, the balls were shipped to the locations of host teams. When the unused, slippery footballs were taken out of boxes, equipment staff were allowed to rub the slippery surfaces off. This was proven to be ineffective since many QB’s complained that the balls were still slippery, making them hard to grip during actual games.

According to Ben Volin’s (Boston Globe) interview with former NFL referee, Jim Daopoulos (1989-2000) and the NFL’s supervisor of officials from (2001-12) back in January 2015 pertaining to those changes, Daopoulos stated, “So the competition committee said, ‘We’re going to let the quarterbacks determine which footballs they want, practice with them all week, do what you want with them, as long as the football is not overly scuffed up. Then submit that ball to the officials, and the officials can tell if they’d want to use it for a game, and then they’ll stick a gauge into it and check the weight. Once they do that, that ball has met the requirements, and they put them in a bag, and they stay in that room with them, that locker room, until they leave to go to the field about 10 minutes before kickoff.

So we now have the Tom Brady Deflate-gate controversy, also known as, Ballghazi. The NFL completed their investigation a couple of weeks ago headed by Attorney Tedd Wells which resulted in the suspension of Brady for four games. The NFL felt Brady’s suspension was warranted based on "conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL" for his role in the deflate-gate scandal. In addition, the NFL took away the Patriots' 2016 first-round pick and 2017 fourth-round pick and fined the team $1 million.

Tom Brady is now appealing and will more than likely get his suspension reduced or possibly removed. Although I am not buying Brady’s innocence in reference to the deflated footballs, he still has the right to appeal.

Rule 2 of the official NFL rule book mandates that NFL game balls be filled with enough air to create 12.5 to 13.5 per square inch (PSI) of internal pressure. During a radio interview in 2011, Brady admitted that he actually prefers footballs with lower air pressure.

Judy Battista of the New York Times reported back in November of 2006 that former Houston Texans QB, David Carr admitted to instructing ball boys to let a little air out of his assigned footballs prior to an exhibition game at Denver. Carr felt that slightly deflated footballs would allow firmer grips because he believed the balls slightly expanded due to high altitude and were slick because of lower humidity.

Carr also said, “It doesn’t matter stats-wise, it just makes you sleep better on Saturday night.” I guess he was implying that overall, deflated footballs created more of a mental edge than a physical one. Judging from Carr’s less than stellar NFL career, his assessment may’ve been correct.
Other than providing a better grip, who actually understands the physics behind deflated footballs? Also what lower PSI readings does it take to create other advantages for offenses? Maybe there needs to be a new TV series named, PSI Boston: Ballghazi and Tom Brady. It appears that only a fictional character by the name of Horatio Caine can solve this mystery.

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