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Author Topic:   Deflation-gate
Percy
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Posts: 16305
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 1 of 466 (748151)
01-23-2015 9:55 AM


The New England Patriots are the local NFL football team here, and they're currently in the middle of a controversy. It is charged that they cheated by reducing the pressure in footballs to make them easier to grip, throw and catch in the cool, rainy weather of Gillette Stadium this past Sunday night. The NFL reports that the footballs the Patriots used were 2 psi lower in pressure during the game than when they were checked a couple hours before kickoff.

Something you'll see occasionally mentioned in news articles about the controversy is the pressure drop that occurs with decreasing temperature, but I haven't seen any of the mainstream commentators acknowledge this fact. The Patriots, and especially Bill Belichick (coach) and Tom Brady (quarterback), are being castigated in the sports press without any mention of the possibility that no breaking of the rules took place.

If the footballs were inflated indoors, then they were inflated at a temperature of somewhere around 70 degrees to a pressure of 12.5 psi. The temperature on the football field was 45 degrees, so the pressure in the footballs should have dropped around a couple of psi once the game began, which is just what the NFL reported. In this case no one deflated the footballs, but it seems surprising that the refs aren't aware that such pressure drops happen in the cold.

Of course, if the footballs were inflated outdoors then the pressure drop has no natural explanation and some person or persons must be responsible.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Grammar.

Edited by Percy, : "pressure drop that occurs with decreasing pressure" => "pressure drop that occurs with decreasing temperature"


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 Message 2 by jar, posted 01-23-2015 10:00 AM Percy has responded

    
jar
Member
Posts: 29763
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 2 of 466 (748153)
01-23-2015 10:00 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Percy
01-23-2015 9:55 AM


Were the footballs used by the other team also checked?

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

This message is a reply to:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 16305
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 3 of 466 (748169)
01-23-2015 10:47 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by jar
01-23-2015 10:00 AM


jar writes:

Were the footballs used by the other team also checked?

No article I've read has mentioned whether the Colts' footballs were checked, but that doesn't mean they weren't. If they had been inflated indoors, then they would also been below the minimum of 12.5 psi specified in the rules.

Since beginning this thread I read a summary of the procedures for checking footballs before game time, and the referees check the pressure in the footballs indoors a couple hours before the game. The article didn't say whether the footballs are originally inflated indoors or outdoors.

--Percy


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jar
Member
Posts: 29763
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 4 of 466 (748173)
01-23-2015 10:55 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by Percy
01-23-2015 10:47 AM


advantages,
If both teams footballs were at the same pressure level then neither would have an advantage so I would think the single most important issue would be relative inflation of each teams football.

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

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Tempe 12ft Chicken
Member (Idle past 28 days)
Posts: 436
From: Tempe, Az.
Joined: 10-25-2012


Message 5 of 466 (748176)
01-23-2015 11:05 AM


Colts' footballs were not under-inflated
Well, it already has been checked according to league sources and the balls for the Colts were at the proper pressure, so the decrease in temperature is most likely not the culprit in this scenario.

ESPN's Chris Mortenson writes:

All of the balls the Colts used met standards, according to the report.

That being said, the lower inflation should have been noticed by the referees during gameplay, especially considering that it was 11 of the 12 Patriots' balls according to the report and the referee picks the ball up after every single play.

Source


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If you removed all the arteries, veins, & capillaries from a persons body, and tied them end-to-endthe person will die. - Neil Degrasse Tyson

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Percy
Member
Posts: 16305
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 6 of 466 (748185)
01-23-2015 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Tempe 12ft Chicken
01-23-2015 11:05 AM


Re: Colts' footballs were not under-inflated
Yeah, I read that article a couple days ago. That information doesn't come from the NFL, it's comes from a radio station in Kansas city, and it's from at least a couple days ago anyway. Here's the full paragraph:

ESPN Sports Radio 810 in Kansas City reported that the Patriots' footballs were tested at the half, reinflated at that time when they were found to be low, then put back in play for the second half, and then tested again after the game. The report did not reveal the results of the test following the game. All of the balls the Colts used met standards, according to the report.

This doesn't say the Colts balls were retested at the half, just that they met the standards. Did the article really mean to say that they met the standards at the half? Maybe. Who knows. But I do know that you can't defeat physics. If the Colts balls were inflated indoors to the maximum, 13.5 psi, then once on the field for more than a half hour they would have tested at less than the minimum 12.5 psi.

The article also contains contradictory information. The article reports Sports Radio 810 saying that the balls were reinflated and put back in the game for the second half, but the same article cites another radio station, WEEI out of Boston, saying the backup footballs were used:

Meanwhile, a source told WEEI.com that the Patriots used 12 backup balls for the second half against the Colts after issues were found with most of the originals. Patriots spokesman Stacey James confirmed that the team had 24 balls total available, WEEI reported.

I'm waiting for the NFL report, but they seem to be taking their time.

--Percy


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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5772
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 9.6


Message 7 of 466 (748200)
01-23-2015 1:15 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Percy
01-23-2015 11:47 AM


Re: Colts' footballs were not under-inflated
Until the official NFL investigation comes out everything is speculation. Everyone hould relax and wait until the NFL releases the information they have gathered.

Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.


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Percy
Member
Posts: 16305
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 8 of 466 (748230)
01-23-2015 5:51 PM


Experimental Results
I took one football (no, it wasn't an official NFL football) and in my garage where it is 30 degrees I inflated it to 11 psi.

I then brought it inside where it is 74 degrees for 1/2 hour and checked the pressure again. It was 13 psi.

I then returned the football to the garage, left it there for 1/2 hour and checked the pressure again. It had returned to 11 psi.

No football inflated to 12.5 psi at a temperature of 70 degrees will conform to NFL rules when brought onto a field at 45 degrees.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Add last sentence.


    
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 466 (748235)
01-23-2015 7:38 PM


Wait a minute... this thread's not about economics?

Love your enemies!

  
Dr Adequate
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Posts: 15984
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 4.2


(1)
Message 10 of 466 (748237)
01-23-2015 8:25 PM


I'm really confused now. I don't know much about the sport, but I did imagine that the two teams played with just the one ball.
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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5772
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 9.6


Message 11 of 466 (748238)
01-23-2015 8:46 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Dr Adequate
01-23-2015 8:25 PM


Nope 36 balls available for the game. Swapped out regularly. Each team provides own balls. 12 for each team then 12 more as backups

Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.


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jar
Member
Posts: 29763
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 12 of 466 (748239)
01-23-2015 8:49 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Dr Adequate
01-23-2015 8:25 PM


balls and balls and balls and ...
Lot's of balls. There are ones that are not as scuffed up that are used only during kickoffs. Then each team uses their own set of balls while on offense and usually a different set of balls during each half. All told there may be fifty total different footballs used for one game.

Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

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 Message 10 by Dr Adequate, posted 01-23-2015 8:25 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 16305
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 13 of 466 (748358)
01-25-2015 9:19 AM


Science Begins Receiving Mainstream Attention
New England Patriots coach Bill Bellichick yesterday revealed that he had simulated the football inflation procedures that were followed before last Sunday's game and discovered what those of a more scientific bent already knew, that temperature can affect the measured pressure in footballs, so now the mainstream media is aware that it is possible (not proven) that no one deliberately reduced the pressure in the footballs.

Another factor Bellichick discovered is that the handling of the footballs when they are roughed up to make the surface easier to grip (something teams are permitted to do under the rules) also heats them up, increasing the pressure in them. A football at 12.5 psi would probably rise to 13.5-14.5 psi after having a big, beefy guy handle it roughly for five minutes, so air would have to be let out to return it to 12.5 psi. But a half hour later the football would have returned to room temperature and would now measure significantly below 12.5 psi. I should add, though, that the footballs are apparently inflated by the referees, not by the respective staffs of the football teams.

But I think there is one other factor that might affect measured pressure. Isn't the pressure measured by pressure gauges relative to prevailing atmospheric pressure? If atmospheric pressure increases then a lower pressure will be measured in the footballs, right? So if atmospheric pressure can range between 13 and 15 psi, then a fluctuation of a half pound per square inch in the time between inflating the balls and halftime (over four hours) is a reasonable possibility.

Another variable is the air pressure in the room where the footballs were inflated. Does Gillette Stadium have a forced air system for heating/cooling? If so, does that room have a heating vent, a return vent, or both?

Bellichick said the referees inflate the footballs to team-requested pressures in a "controlled environment". I'm not sure what he meant by a "controlled environment". He might have meant that it was done indoors as opposed to outdoors, or he might have meant a special room with tightly controlled temperature and pressure, though that seems unlikely given that the NFL seems completely unaware (until now) that temperature and pressure can affect the measured pressure in a football. Was the room where the Patriots footballs were inflated next to the boiler room or was it a normal temperature?

And where were the footballs stored before being delivered to the referees for checking and pressurizing? Is the equipment room some overly warm room maybe next to the room with all the washers and dryers? If you take footballs heated up to 80 or 90 degrees and take a minute to bring them to the referees who immediately pressurize them to 12.5 psi, then the air in the footballs will still be warm. When the footballs cool to room temperature they will already be underinflated, and when brought outside will cool further and become still further underinflated.

There's an additional mystery in that one of the twelve footballs was at a higher pressure than the rest. It was still below the range, but not as much. What might have caused that? I can imagine a scenario. The warm footballs were brought to the referees who immediately began inflating them, but after completing eleven of them were interrupted. After a ten minute conversation they inflated the last football, which was now cooler.

Reports say the pressure in the Colts footballs was also checked and that they measured within the normal range, but this must be considered as much a mystery as the Patriots underinflated footballs. A football inflated to the upper limit of the range, 13.5 psi, at 70 degrees would very likely drop below 12.5 psi when cooled to 45 degrees. If the Colts footballs did actually measure within the range then it must have been just barely at or above 12.5 psi.

The opposite problem of overinflation occurs when you play in the south, especially early in the season. A football inflated to 12.5 psi at 70 degrees will increase in pressure to around 14 psi when heated to 95 degrees, something that is not at all uncommon when the Patriots play in Miami in September. And of course the pressure in a football originally inflated to 13.5 psi at 70 degrees would increase to 15 psi during the game, which is way, way outside the range.

Poor Goodell. It hasn't been a good year for him what with controversies about concussions and Ray Rice and so forth. More egg on the face now seems possible as the NFL again shows itself clueness by tightly regulating the pressure in their footballs while apparently having no idea of the effects of temperature and pressure, conditions that are completely outside their control in an outdoor stadium.

Unlike Goodell Bill Bellichick cannot be pitied. He has a well deserved reputation within the league for being an evil genius who will ruthlessly seek out any advantage. He was actually caught stealing New York Jets signals back in 2007. It is completely expected that everyone would think the worst when inexplicably deflated footballs are discovered.

--Percy


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Percy
Member
Posts: 16305
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.4


Message 14 of 466 (748422)
01-25-2015 8:51 PM


Science Takes the Stage
The national media seems to have become a bit more muted now that articles like these are coming out:

What still puzzles me is how the NFL couldn't know that temperature affects ball pressure. I know that for the most part these are sports guys, not science guys, but they do have some technical experts on staff. What should have happened is that when the Colts player complained to the ref the that ball felt underinflated, the ref, having been briefed about this issue by the home office, would have replied, "Of course it does, it's cold out. Now stop bothering me."

Other testing indicates it's really, really difficult to detect a 2 psi difference in ball pressure just by handling the ball, and that's with balls at the same temperature. Drop the temperature of the ball 30 degrees and the leather is going to be stiffer, making it even more difficult to tell the difference in pressure. Why the Colts player thought the ball was underinflated is yet another mystery.

And there's still the mystery of why the Colts balls tested out okay at halftime. Using the more accurate calculations that have recently become available, if the Colts balls were inflated to 13.5 psi at a temperature of 75 degrees before the game, then by halftime outdoors they should have measured 11.7 psi. The only way they could have measured 12.5 psi or above is if they had originally been overinflated.

Interesting fact: It's against NFL rules to inflate a football with helium. It must be inflated with air. This is known as the Ray Guy rule. It was instituted after someone complained that Ray Guy's punts had an unnaturally long hang time and that the football must be filled with helium. It wasn't (they apparently sent it to a lab and had the air in the football tested), but the rule was added nonetheless.

--Percy


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NoNukes
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Posts: 10119
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 15 of 466 (748429)
01-25-2015 9:44 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Percy
01-25-2015 9:19 AM


Re: Science Begins Receiving Mainstream Attention
So if atmospheric pressure can range between 13 and 15 psi, then a fluctuation of a half pound per square inch in the time between inflating the balls and halftime (over four hours) is a reasonable possibility.

I suspect that the physics issues are overblown. In any event, an atmospheric (barometric) excursion of more than 1/4 psi or so would be extremely unlikely. So I think only the temperature explanations are worth considering.

ABE: One atmosphere is about 14.7 psi.
END ABE

A football at 12.5 psi would probably rise to 13.5-14.5 psi after having a big, beefy guy handle it roughly for five minutes, so air would have to be let out to return it to 12.5 psi.

When would this letting air out have legally happened? Presumably, absent some leakage, the balls ought to contain the same amount of air when the NFL got around to testing them as they did when they were used in the game. Whatever beefy handling (and deflating) occurred happened presumably happened before the balls were checked by NFL officials.

And unless the NFL re-tested the balls in cold conditions, I don't see how any of the physics stuff comes into play. If it is true that the Colts balls were up to par, and that the re-testing was conducted at room temperature, where is the opportunity for Charles or Boyles, or whoever's gas law to take effect?

seems unlikely given that the NFL seems completely unaware (until now) that temperature and pressure can affect the measured pressure in a football.

I've seen the pot shots taken at the NFL about their knowledge of physics. But so far I don't see any evidence that those shots are warranted.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.

Edited by NoNukes, : No reason given.


Je Suis Charlie

Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


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