If You Have A Nimble Hand, and 0.65 Seconds, You Can Do It


So here’s the deal. It would take a very deft ballboy/equipment manager to EXPERTLY remove exactly 1 pound of PSI from a football. Watch the video to see exactly how quick TWO pounds of pressure bleeds out when you stick it with a needle.

1.3 seconds to be exact. To we’re talking a PFFFFFT of approximately 0.65 seconds to bleed off one pound.

Can it be done? Sure!

But to do that 11 times on the sidelines of an NFL game, with so much on the line, I’m skeptical.

I would be more apt to believe the Patriots engineered filling the balls with warm air – or a similar geo-thermal “trick” I am too stupid to imagine – so that they “naturally” bled off a pound or so of PSI once exposed to the 50 degree outdoor weather.


  1. Basically, the Warm Air Theory is what I was thinking, too. They have the ball gurney and air compressor in a toasty warm supply room near the laundry area (say it’s 75-78 degrees). They fill it to the minimum 12.5lbs. Everyone involved is nice and legal now. As you say, they then bring the balls outside to the 50 degree stadium. Mother nature does the rest.
    If it’s a 65-70 degree day in Foxborough, maybe Brady is fine with less of a deflation. It’s warm out, the ball is more pliable already.

  2. “But to do that 11 times on the sidelines of an NFL game ..”

    The balls were in the Pats’ possession more than two hours before kickoff. No one said it had to be done on the sideline.

  3. It is pretty unbelievable that some ballboy could have deflated them on the sideline. Thousands of eyes and dozens of cameras are watching at all times and if someone had been fiddling with the balls on the sideline it would have undoubtably been seen by somebody. I would guess that a combination of ideal gas law and general in-game wear and tear explain the deflation. I have a regulation football and whenever I take it out and play it always seems a bit deflated when I get back home, and we don’t play anywhere near as rough as those folks in the NFL.

  4. So your theory is a ball boy can fill a ball within .001 or .01 or .1 lbs per Tom Brady orders but can’t subtract that ammount? I guess someone never heard or a regulator. That would take about a second per ball. Wouldn’t need to be elaborate either. Czabe thinks it dosent matter either, but talks tiger with a 1 gram difference in his putter that he can feel. Substitute a NXT for a pro V1 and see what a pro does if you think this doesn’t matter.

  5. The simplest and most obvious explanation is that no one – refs, teams, coaches, players – ever worries about the exact inflation as long as the footballs seem just fine. The specifications are there to prevent some obvious tinkering with the balls, but as long as they look and feel like normal balls the refs put them in play and no one thinks twice about it. We’re still waiting for any evidence that the pressure of each of those 12 balls was actually tested pre-game. The NFL’s statement never says any measurements were taken pre-game, only that the balls were “inspected,” despite clearly phrasing it differently regarding the refs’ activities at halftime, where they explicitly mention the use of gauges. If the intent of the NFL’s statement was to claim that they had measured a difference between pre-game and halftime, the language in both cases would have been identical. These statements are vetted by lawyers, and I have no doubt that the word “inspected” was deliberately chosen because it gives the impression that the league can prove a change in inflation outside the realm of broad environmental factors, when in fact they cannot.
    Further, the idea that any quarterback would actually want a ballboy manipulating the footballs on the sidelines in any way mid-game is laughable on its face.

    • I still haven’t seen anything about the pressure of Indy’s balls, which leads me to believe that they weren’t tested.

      If the NFL can’t produce:

      Pressure readings for all NE balls before the game,
      Pressure readings for all Indy balls before the game,
      Pressure readings for all NE balls at half (or whenever they were tested)
      Pressure readings for all Indy balls (taken at the same time as the NE balls)

      Then they need to just drop it. This dog won’t hunt.


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