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.

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