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Deflategate 2.0: Giants allege Steelers used underinflated game balls

So, let’s spend time discussing deflated footballs again. The latest allegation comes from the Week 13 game in Pittsburgh between the Giants and Steelers.

Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer, in the video below, says that the Giants tested the pressure of the footballs that cornerback Eli Apple recovered in last week’s game against the Steelers. According to Glazer, the footballs tested below the minimum 12 ½ p.s.i. and the Giants submitted those to the league.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy issued this statement:

The officiating [crew’s] game ball procedures were followed and there were no chain-of-command issues. All footballs were in compliance and no formal complaint was filed by the Giants with our office.

Terry McAulay and his crew checked the footballs prior to the game under the normal procedures. The NFL randomly assigns games where the officiating crew will spot check the ball supply at halftime or postgame, but it is unclear how extensive this procedure is being carried out — if at all. Despite requests, the league will not release any findings, neither specifically nor in aggregate, of the spot checks.

In games where spot checks are not assigned, the crew may not self-investigate a team’s complaint. The only recourse is to remove suspect balls from circulation, or to switch to a backup supply if there is a pervasive defect, whether it be the inflation level, a foreign substance, or other issue.

The Giants and Steelers ownership has had a close relationship for decades, which may be why there was no formal complaint lodged with the NFL. There also would be a difficult case to make under a formal complaint, as the balls have been removed from the extant weather conditions and every test of the pressure leads to some air escaping from the ball.

But, the league has invited this type of scrutiny when it released a Swiss-cheese investigative report in the interest of completeness  and declined comment on the results of any follow-up procedures.

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Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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6 thoughts on “Deflategate 2.0: Giants allege Steelers used underinflated game balls

  1. With all due respect to my Giants… the only deflated balls on the field last week vs the Steelers were the ones inside your jocks.

    Now, grow a pair and light up them Cowboys!

  2. Has Ben Roethlisberger destroyed his phone yet? No? Move along folks, nothing to see here …

  3. Have both teams use same ball, as supplied by league. Have an official check game ball during a TV time out, when they have to wait for commercial to end.

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