The question has come up asking what are the NFL rules when it comes to the inflation of footballs to be used during a game, how many are there, who is responsible, and why the big hullabaloo over the 45-7 Patriot win over the Colts in the AFC Championship game. Here’s what I found out from an article by Ken Belson of the New York Times.
1. Every ball must be manufactured by Wilson Sporting Goods and have the commissioner’s signature on it.
2. The urethane bladder inside the ball must be inflated to between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds of pressure and be made of a tan pebble-grain leather case.
3. The ball can be 11 to 11.5 inches point to point, 28 to 28.5 inches at its widest and weigh 14 to 15 ounces.
4. Each team selects 12 game balls for referee inspection 2 hours and 15 minutes before the game. In inclement weather, teams also bring a dozen backup balls to be tested.
5. The balls remain in the referee’s possession until just before the game, when they are delivered to the ballboys on the sideline.
6. To prevent teams from over inflating balls to make them more buoyant-an advantage for kickers- special “k-balls’ are shipped from Wilson directly to the stadium to be opened by the referee before the game.
7. If the home team is found to have any balls that do not conform to specifications, the referee can get a proper ball from the visitors.
In an interview with Gil Brandt, former long time VP of player personnel for the Cowboys and analyst for NFL Media said, ” taking two bags of 12 balls off the field and into a locked room to tamper with them isn’t feasible….especially with all the cameras all over the field. Someone would surely see what was going on.”
But, what about the weather? Could the balls lose pressure then? “Not necessarily. It is possible for the bladder inside the football to leak out air but the referees are so good at what they are taught and do it would be hard for that to go unnoticed.” Well as it turns out the refs took the deflated balls that had been used during the first half and reinflated them for the second half…truly a violation of the game ball rules. And while the NFL investigation continues with interviews, physical evidence and whatever was caught on video, perhaps the NFL should take a look at a youtube video of an experiment conducted by the HVAC students of Pathfinder Vocational Technical High School in Palmer, MA to see exactly how balls could deflate without anyone physically deflating them. Take a look for yourself.
As the investigation stands now, along with a Bill Belichick press conference, Patriot footballs will now be inflated closer to the 13.5 psi range so that if there is any air leakage the ball will still be well within the properly inflated psi range.
For what seems like forever I’ve been using this space to talk about domestic violence, domestic assault and child abuse to the point where depression is taking a hold of my psyche. I’ve made a promise to myself that I would go at least one weekly column cycle without adding a smidgeon of a report. Well, I’m breaking that promise for just one more story.
Manchester, New Hampshire: Jerusalem Monday, his wife and three of their children left for a visit to Nigeria in July with a scheduled return in August. For some reason Jerusalem couldn’t bring the 9-year old twin boys so he made arrangements to have them looked after by his brother, Giobari Atura, age 25. Well, August turned into September and September into October and October into November when the officials at the school the boys went to contacted DCYF after learning that the twins were taking care of themselves, waking up in the morning, getting themselves to school on the bus and eating breakfast and lunch at school. It seems that Uncle Giobari would stop by their apartment every couple of days to check on them and then leave again. When police got involved in November they said there was no edible food to be found in the refrigerator and only ramen noodles in a cabinet. Nor was there a working phone in the apartment.
The boys parents told authorities whenever they checked in with the uncle he told them everything was fine and not to worry. When asked why it took so long to return to America (4 month stay in Nigeria) Jerusalem cited illness and passport problems.
The uncle was charged in December with one count of endangering the welfare of a child and released on $500 bail. The parents are not facing any charges since they made arrangements to have the uncle look after the children in their absence.
Thank you for reading Musings From the Bench 1/26 Edition. Until next time.
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