In reaction to the Super Bowl winning New England Patriots recent scandal involving under-inflated footballs during the championship game, the NFL has worked at introducing strict new policies regarding footballs used in games.
The Patriots have been fined $1 million and their star quarter-back Tom Brady was given a four game suspension after the NFL had found that 11 of the 12 New England-provided game balls were significantly underinflated. Brady has since appealed his four game suspension after being accused of being aware of the tinkering of the game balls. The New England Patriots did not appeal their fine.The punishment wasn’t enough to ease the NFL’s mind, and so they began work on their new football inspection procedures, none of which have been officially released.
In the past, only the referee was to inspect the footballs before the games. For every NFL game, each team must provide 24 balls, 12 primary and 12 back-up. Some details of the new policy include assigning game officials to inspect the footballs and keep a record of the pressure in pounds per square inch or PSI. A regulation football has a PSI between 12.5 and 13.5. They are to be checked before the game, and again at halftime. Any checks or inspections of the footballs will be documented and sent to the league office records.
If these regulations do become official, they would most likely come into effect beginning with the upcoming 2015-16 season. The first pre-season game is the Hall of Fame game which kicks off on Sunday, August 9th in Canton, Ohio, between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings.
Cheating allegations are nothing new for the New England Patriots, who have had their fair share of scandals. In 2007, in a game against the New York Jets, New England was caught spying and video-taping the Jets’ in game hand signals. After further investigation, it was found that this was a regular practice for the Patriots between 2002-2007. The team was fined $250,000, head coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, and the Patriots lost a first round draft pick in the scandal remembered as Spygate.
Due to the amount of attention Deflategate received and the Patriots’ cheating history, this move probably wasn’t a shock to many. Since Tom Brady’s suspension appeal has yet been ruled, this scandal may still have another chapter to it. If his suspension appeal is approved, many fans and NFL owners will be upset to see New England escape further punishment, especially with those who believe they have been getting away with similar tactics over the years.
Regardless of Brady’s appeal ruling, the new football policy will highly reduce the chances of ball-related cheating in the future.