Deflategate Prompts NFL to Change Game Ball Protocols

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This weekend the NFL gave referees explicit instructions to start monitoring all game balls in response to Deflategate.

According to NBC Sports, the new rules mandate that two staffers inspect every game ball to make sure they’re inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 PSI.

Additionally, under the new rules officials will number each football and keep an inflation level log of each one used in the games.

In order to prevent tampering, an onsite security representative will closely guard the balls. Significantly, balls will be randomly checked at halftime and after the game to measure whether the balls’ PSI has changed during the course of the game. 

The NFL found 11 of the New England Patriots’ 12 footballs balls used in the 2015 AFC Championship Game were inflated below the NFL’s requirements by halftime. Some Patriots and Tom Brady supporters suggested footballs used in the game may have simply deflated during game play.

The NFL suspended Brady without pay for the first four games of the 2015 season, fined the Patriots $1 million, and took away a first-round draft pick in 2016, and a fourth-round draft pick in 2017 as a result of the deflated balls.

NBC noted that that it would be interesting if the new rules reveal that footballs routinely lose air pressure during the course of the game and that the whole Deflategate fiasco was much to do about nothing.