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Old 01-21-2015, 11:35 AM
Giant Nontypical
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,219
Default New England cheated?

It is thought that New England may have cheated in Sunday's football game against the Indiana Colts by deflating game balls. I don't know whether this happened or not. As I understand it, the deflated balls were discovered and the situation corrected at half-time. Thus, given that New England extended their lead an additional 20+ points in the second half -- after the error was corrected -- it seems unlikely the cheating IF it happened affected the outcome of the game.

I'm interested in discussing the elements of the "cheat" without getting emotional about it.

Were the "deflated" footballs used only by New England? That is, was it arranged by the New England field staff to deliver deflated footballs for use by the New England offense and to deliver fully inflated footballs for use by the Colts? Or was it the case that both teams played with deflated footballs?

The officials are tasked with testing the footballs a period of time before the game -- maybe 2 hours before game time. Are they required to test all the balls? How would grounds crew have access to the footballs to deflate them?

Is there a simpler explanation for the deflated balls? Were the balls inflated and tested in a nice warm locker room at 72 degrees Fahrenheit, then taken out onto a cold playing field where -- by half-time -- they had dropped temperature to closer to freezing? As the chemists among you will readily appreciate, if you lower the temperature of a fully inflated football, the pressure is going to decease. Could chilling a fully inflated (e.g., 13.0 PSI) football initially at 72 degrees Fahrenheit to 32 degrees Fahrenheit result in the footballs being inflated instead to about 11.0 PSI? Seems plausible to me. I know that when I go out to my car on the first cold morning in the fall, when my Low Tire idiot light is on, it is most likely because the temperature is much lower that results in low tire pressure rather than a slow leak caused by a nail or screw in the tire.

I think this is kind of an interesting sports event. It doesn't seem likely it has changed the outcome in this game, but it seems base to stoop to such things. Also, it is more vicious and base if arrangements were made for the Colts to play with fully inflated footballs while New England arranged to play offense using deflated footballs. But it could also be much ado about nothing: it could just be an anomaly of sport bumping into the Boyle's Law.

Speaking for myself, I plan to root for New England in the Super Bowl. I like their discipline and smart play. I'm not keen, however, on them cheating, if they have done so. Clever ruses (such as strange use of "ineligible receivers" placed wide to confuse and misdirect the defense in the Ravens game) that are within the rules are OK with me. I withhold judgment as to whether the deflated footballs were a cheat or not: that is only one hypothesis at the current time. An alternative hypothesis that is consistent with observations is Boyle's Law.

What do y'all think?
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