JC’s Confessions #17

In the first few seasons of The Late Show, Stephen Colbert did a recurring skit, now a best-selling book, called Midnight Confessions, in which he “confesses” to his audience with the disclaimer that he isn’t sure these things are really sins but that he does “feel bad about them.” While Stephen and his writers are famously funny, I am not, so my JC’s Confessions will be somewhat more serious reflections, but they will be things that I feel bad about. Stephen’s audience always forgives him at the end of the segment; I’m not expecting that – and these aren’t really sins – but comments are always welcome.

JC

Today is Super Bowl Sunday, which means that is it the championship of American football.

And I don’t care.

I’m not planning to watch the game or the halftime show or the commercials, which have become an attraction of their own.

I don’t enjoy watching football games. They are very slow; one hour of actual playing time takes at least three hours to accomplish. I am not attracted to watching heavily padded men run around and knock each other down and sometimes sustain injuries.

This year, the Super Bowl is being looked at as a few hours of national unity in the midst of division and I hope that that is true. Personally, I don’t need a game to make me feel like an American. After the attempted insurrection of January 6th, my level of commitment to the country has never been higher.

The sad thing will be that, after the game, the anticipated national unity will revert to what it was yesterday and will be on full display for the rest of the week as the Senate trial over the former president proceeds.

It’s also possible that millions of people will defy public health warnings and meet with people outside their households for Super Bowl parties, which might cause another COVID-19 spike, with attendant hospitalizations and deaths, in the coming weeks.

That would be the saddest Super Bowl result ever.

Patriots never quit

Although I am not really a football fan, our family watched the Super Bowl last night. As a native of New England, I was hoping for a Patriots win.

It didn’t look good for a long while, as the Falcons took a commanding lead, larger than any that had ever been overcome in Super Bowl history.

But the Patriots fought back to tie the game in the final seconds of regulation play and scored a touchdown in the first drive of overtime to win their fifth Super Bowl under current ownership, coach, and quarterback.

I woke up this morning thinking that patriots always fight back.

They do not quit.

And, eventually, despite the odds against them, they prevail.

It gives me hope that, despite the attempts of DT’s administration to dismantle or side-step our Constitutional rights, the balance of power among the three branches of government, and checks and balance, we patriots of 2017 will prevail, as have patriots since 1776.

And the reigning Super Bowl champions.

 

SoCS: yet again with the deflated footballs

Hold onto your hats, but there has been more in the news on the topic of Tom Brady, the New England Patriots, and deflated footballs.

Despite not being a big follower of American football – or even what the rest of the world calls football and the US calls soccer – I have written about this topic a number of times. (here and here and here and here and here)

The story was back in the news this week because a seventh grader who lives near Boston won a prize at a science fair by showing with science that the footballs would have dropped about 2 psi due to the field conditions of the game.

Weirdly, he shares a last name with the football commissioner who wanted to sanction Brady, even though there is no proof that he or anyone actually deflated the footballs.

And, yes, this does have to do with things like the ideal gas law that I and others posted about months ago.

Will the National Football League finally acknowledge science and admit they were wrong in their report?

Probably not…
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “ball.” Join the fun! Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/03/11/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-march-1216/

SoCS badge 2015

 

Super Bowl 50 wrap-up

As a blogger from the United States, I feel obligated to post on the Super Bowl yesterday.

Even though I am not a football fan or inclined to party over sporting events…

So, here are my impressions.

Why did the National Football League ignore its usual habit of counting the Super Bowl in Roman numerals? It should have been billed as Super Bowl L, not Super Bowl 50.

The one thing about the game I was looking forward to was Lady Gaga singing the National Anthem.  She has a beautiful voice and did a really good job singing our not-easy-to-sing anthem.  I appreciated that she had a piano so she had some grounding for pitch in the inhospitable environment of the football stadium.

After that, I would just have soon watched the news or something stashed on the DVR, but B decided to watch the first half and half-time show. I paid more attention to my email inbox than to the game, which seemed to be proceeding with quite a lot of fumbling and flags being thrown.  I learned a couple of penalties that I didn’t know existed.

At 9:00, we got a break from the game to watch Downton Abbey. That was fun!

We switched back over to the game and watched to the end.  So Peyton Manning and Denver, the more experienced team, beat the Carolina Panthers, making their second ever franchise appearance in a Super Bowl. That made sense.

One reason many people watch the Super Bowl is to see the advertisements, which are sometimes clever and innovative. I admit that there were not many that drew my attention this year.  My hands-down favorite was Dame Helen Mirren telling the public in no uncertain terms how despicable it is to drive drunk.

That is the most important message that I hope people received from the game.

Yes, still with the deflated footballs…

I just read this article in the New York Times saying that a federal judge has overturned the four game suspension given to New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady on the grounds that it violates the collective bargaining agreement between the players and the NFL.

I’ve written about this issue several times, most recently here, and I am glad that the judge has taken this action. I don’t think “general awareness” that others may have violated a rule is the proper standard for punishment.

And I also think that the real culprit is the lack of application of the Ideal Gas Law.

still dealing with deflated footballs?

Months ago, I weighed in more than once about the deflated football issue with the Patriots/Colts AFC championship game.

When the Wells report came out, I was too preoccupied with other issues to write about it, although I thought that its vague findings were in no way proof that should have punishments inflicted on Tom Brady or the team. Seriously, what court would convict on the basis of “more probable than not”  that someone was “at least generally aware of” breaking a rule?  Given the reaction in the press, I guess the court of public opinion…

At any rate, I just saw this link on a New England friend’s Facebook page:  http://blog.masslive.com/patriots/2015/06/independent_study_of_wells_rep.html.  The American Enterprise Institute has conducted an independent critique of the Wells report and found that the difference in pressure between the Patriots’ balls and the Colts’ balls at halftime is because the Patriots’ were tested at the beginning of halftime, when they were still cold, and the Colts’ at the end of halftime, when they had warmed significantly.

It’s our old friend the Ideal Gas Law at work again.

Science rules! Let’s hope that Brady’s appeal will be decided on the science rather than the court of public opinion and the dubious blame game.

Again with the deflated footballs?!?

I can’t believe I am writing another post about deflated footballs, but B sent me this link today from the New York Times.  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/30/sports/football/deflation-experiments-show-patriots-may-have-science-on-their-side-after-all.html  Apparently, my rudimentary knowledge of physics coupled with practical experience with things like car tires is borne out by experimentation and advanced calculations!

This post is part of Linda’s Just Jot It January:  http://lindaghill.com/2015/01/01/just-jot-it-january-pingback-post-and-rules/

JJJ 2015

I called it!

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about how physics could explain the deflated footballs in the Patriots’ game on Sunday.  I was just watching the evening news and saw coverage of a news conference given by the Patriots’ head coach, explaining that they did an experiment in which they re-created the temperature changes of last Sunday and found that the balls had their pressure drop one and a half psi when they were left outdoors at forty degrees after having been inflated to regulation 12.5 psi indoors.

Maybe the media and the NFL should have been reading my blog! 😉

deflated footballs

Unlike the majority of people in the United States, I don’t care for or about football. However, it’s been impossible to watch a news broadcast without seeing reference to the footballs that the Patriots used on Sunday being underinflated with the implication that someone must have tampered with them after they were tested by the officials.

But isn’t it possible the culprit was physics?

I’m assuming that the balls were prepared indoors, in a warm room, with the minimum psi allowed.  The balls would be properly inflated when they were checked a couple of hours before the game.  If the balls were then immediately moved out into the cold, the pressure would have dropped, given that the temperature outdoors would be fifty to sixty degrees colder. Ideal gas law and all that….

It’s the same mechanism that means that the first cold snap of the year brings a call from Grandma that her low tire pressure indicator in her car is lighting up. It’s not that someone sneaked into the garage and let air out of the tires. It’s just that the lower temperature means the air in the tires is exerting less pressure.

If that is how it happened, I guess you could argue that the Patriots followed the letter of the law rather than the spirit, but I think many fans and media are jumping to conclusions about foul play without any real evidence.

Maybe they should be shaking their fists at science.

This post is part of Just Jot It January: click the link and join in!  http://lindaghill.com/2015/01/01/just-jot-it-january-pingback-post-and-rules/

JJJ 2015