Science Claims Deflategate Was No Accident!

On seven occasions during an 11-minute press conference, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick insisted he had "no knowledge" of the deflated footballs deemed illegal by the National Football League.

On six other occasions, he told reporters he had "told them everything I know." And on six other occasions, he said in some form that he "has no explanation for what happened."

Somehow, though, the NFL determined that 11 of the 12 footballs used in the Patriots' AFC Championship victory against the Colts were under-inflated beyond the league's standards.

Belichick may have "no explanation," but science certainly does.

Dr. Ainissa Ramirez, author of a book titled "Newton's Football," ran a calculation this week to determine whether the Patriots' footballs could have naturally deflated below the league standard due to the weather. After all, since the temperature hovered around 50 degrees on game day, perhaps it would be theoretically possible that the balls could have passed the NFL's test indoors before the game— before deflating below the standard once left in the cold for an entire half.

Per league rules, footballs must register at 12.5 PSI (Pressure Per Square Inch), but the NFL found that 11 of the Patriots' balls had fallen to about 10.5 PSI.

The numbers don't support a two-pound drop as any sort of accident, though. When Ramirez conducted her calculation, she found that a ball measured at 13 PSI at room temperature would only fall to 12.5 PSI when left in the cold.

"The weather does change the pressure of the ball," Ramirez said. "However, it doesn't account for all of the changes or the difference that we're seeing in the balls that the NFL has found recently."

The Boston Globe also investigated this matter of deflation. An expert told the newspaper that for such a significant drop in PSI to take place, the ball would first need to be tested in a 91-degree environment.

According to Ramirez, a deflated ball could offer a team a significant advantage.

"It helps out most of the players," Ramirez said. "It helps the receiver, because the ball is easier to catch. If helps the quarterback, because it's easier to grab. And it also helps the kicker."

Bill Polian agreed.

"If the balls were tampered with, that's a serious offense," Polian said. "It's not a misdemeanor by any means, especially in a championship game."

Dr. Shawn Klein, an assistant professor at Rockford University and a sports ethics blogger, finds himself quite conflicted in this whole scandal.

He's also a Patriots fan. And while he believes some of the accusations against New England have been blown somewhat out of proportion, he also understands the concern.

"If their intent is really to avoid the rule, that strikes me as a much more serious offense in terms of the integrity of the game," Klein said.


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