Since the NFL discovered the New England Patriots used deflated footballs during the AFC Championship game, the focus has been on whether or not the team physically let air out of the balls between being inspected by the officials and halftime when the balls were retested.
But now there is an interesting new theory that may be just as dirty but also would not be against any NFL rules.
The most vocal defence of the Patriots is the theory that cold weather could have caused the pressure in the balls to change. However, there are two big problems with that theory: 1) the Colts’ balls were still within the allowed limit at halftime; and 2) it just wasn’t that cold.
However, the cold weather theory makes one big assumption that, if false, could make the theory plausible again.
What if the footballs were not inflated at room temperature?
Dr. Allen Sanderson, a research scientist at the University of Utah, in an interview with USA Today, says the balls could have deflated naturally if they were originally inflated in a hot room, such as a sauna.
“The NFL rules are very much ambiguous really because they’re not specifying a temperature,” Sanderson told USA Today. “They’re just specifying a pressure, and temperature makes all the difference in the world about how you make that measurement. Us science geeks picked up on it.”
What makes this theory interesting is not only the plausibility, but it also explains a big hole in the theory that the Patriots were doing something nefarious, that is, why didn’t anybody see somebody deflating the balls on the sideline?
As Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com points out, if the NFL was indeed tipped off about the footballs prior to the game, they would have almost certainly been watching the balls very closely, either with a person on the sideline or with a hidden camera.
So, maybe the Patriots did manipulate the footballs to have lower pressure without actually deflating the balls. If that is the case, maybe the Patriots just found a loophole in the rule book and took advantage of it.
Would that surprise anybody?
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