More New England Cheating?

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Cliff
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More New England Cheating?

Post by Cliff » Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:33 am

http://espn.go.com/boston/story/_/id/12 ... nship-game
The NFL has found that 11 of 12 of the New England Patriots game balls were inflated significantly less than the NFL requires, league sources involved and familiar with the investigation of Sunday's AFC championship game told ESPN.

The investigation found the footballs were underinflated by 2 pounds per square inch of air less than what's required by NFL regulations during the Pats' 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, according to sources.
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Re: More New England Cheating?

Post by Crax » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:04 am

Either way, it's the NFL that looks like idiots. The refs are supposed to check them before the game and then hold onto them until it starts and then they handle them on every play.

I don't play football much anymore, but play volleyball a 1-2 times a week. I sure as hell can tell if a ball is that much lower.

I think it's a bigger deal to media/fans as many players(including the colts) seem to not care about it.
Dwayne Allen ‏@Dallen83 8h8 hours ago

@NFLonFOX not a story. They could have played with soap for balls and beat us. Simply the better team. We have to continue to build! #BTM
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Re: More New England Cheating?

Post by Cliff » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:09 am

As I research this topic I've found a lot of 'they won 45-3 so who cares!?' sentiment ... kind of saying that the victory was so lop-sided that the ball being slightly deflated wouldn't have mattered. If the balls really were deflated I feel like it's a pretty huge advantage in those conditions (rainy and cold) especially while the other team is playing with a fully inflated ball. 11 deflated balls and 1 properly inflated for kicking.

Did the Patriots need to do this to win? We'll never know ... in the end, they cheated so we'll never know how much it mattered.

Where's all the outrage about the 'sanctity of the game' that we get when a player celebrates too hard or fake moons the crowd? A team that is going to the Super Bowl and has been caught cheating in the past is caught cheating again and nobody cares. Lucky one of the players didn't flip somebody off, that would be truly offensive.
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Re: More New England Cheating?

Post by Mothman » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:21 am

If it's determined that the Patriots cheated they should face appropriate consequences but personally, I think it's unlikely this inflation issue had a significant impact on the outcome of the game. I feel that way for two reasons:

1.) I thought the Patriots defense, their ground game, and the Colts inability to stop the run, were ultimately the biggest differences in the game.

2.) I heard on the radio that the officials discovered the issue at halftime. The game was relatively close at that point and the Pats blew it open in the second half. I'm assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that once the officials discovered the footballs were under-inflated they had the problem corrected, which should mean the Patriots didn't have whatever advantage that provides in the second half... when they blew the game wide open.

My main question is if this is a significant issue, and if under-inflating footballs can provide what the league considers a significant advantage, why the heck do the teams have anything to do with it at all? If it's supposed to be standardized it should be left out of their hands altogether and this shouldn't even be possible.
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Re: More New England Cheating?

Post by Crax » Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:36 am

Cliff wrote: Where's all the outrage about the 'sanctity of the game' that we get when a player celebrates too hard or fake moons the crowd? A team that is going to the Super Bowl and has been caught cheating in the past is caught cheating again and nobody cares. Lucky one of the players didn't flip somebody off, that would be truly offensive.
I don't recall being outraged about any of that stuff. I generally think it's funny. In this case though, I don't think it's really on the patriots. If they did cheat, it's the leagues fault for letting them. There is no reason that the footballs shouldn't be handled by the league(headsets too, we've heard those complaints enough as well). It literally takes less than 15 seconds to check ball pressure with a gauge that can fit in the refs pocket.

Also, as someone has posted(don't remember who), you can easily lose 20% of pressure on a cold day. Refs/guys holding the down markers/some other guys should just take responsibility and handle it. The nfl can afford to pay someone impartial to do it.
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Re: More New England Cheating?

Post by Cliff » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:06 am

Mothman wrote:If it's determined that the Patriots cheated they should face appropriate consequences but personally, I think it's unlikely this inflation issue had a significant impact on the outcome of the game. I feel that way for two reasons:

1.) I thought the Patriots defense, their ground game, and the Colts inability to stop the run, were ultimately the biggest differences in the game.
If the balls were properly inflated for the Colts then that would make the Patriot's defensive job a bit easier too, no? If a deflated ball is easier for the QB to grip and for the WR to catch, then on the other side of that coin a fully inflated ball is more difficult for the QB to handle and the WR to catch (especially in the kind of weather in that game).

I'm not saying it would have significantly impacted the game for sure, but if they did cheat, we'll never know. That's the problem with cheating, especially like this, you can never really know how big of an impact it had. Would Brady have thrown an extra INT in the first half? Would a receiver have dropped a vital 3rd down catch? Would the RB have fumbled? If the Colts were tied or up due to one of those potential issues in the first half would it have changed the mentality for the players in the second half?

I don't know how much of an advantage the deflated ball provided but obviously a big enough one to go through with it if they did in fact cheat.
2.) I heard on the radio that the officials discovered the issue at halftime. The game was relatively close at that point and the Pats blew it open in the second half. I'm assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that once the officials discovered the footballs were under-inflated they had the problem corrected, which should mean the Patriots didn't have whatever advantage that provides in the second half... when they blew the game wide open.
Well, the officials also checked the balls before the game started and are supposed to hold them until the ball boys get them before the game. In other words, if they were able to deflate them before they game they could have done so again before the half. The only reason anybody on the Colts even noticed was because the ball was intercepted and reported at that time. Since there wasn't another interception, it's hard telling if the problem was actually corrected or not since we don't know how or when they were tampered with in the first place.

Do you know if they tested the balls again after the game or kept a closer eye on it after half time? That'd be interesting information to know.

In any case, beating a team by 10 points going into the half when you get the ball back in the 3rd is a pretty big advantage even if it's not huge relative to the beating that was the final result.
My main question is if this is a significant issue, and if under-inflating footballs can provide what the league considers a significant advantage, why the heck do the teams have anything to do with it at all? If it's supposed to be standardized it should be left out of their hands altogether and this shouldn't even be possible.
Under-inflating and over-inflating both seem like they can provide significant advantages so I'm not sure why it's not more heavily controlled. Perhaps they thought the current controls were sufficient. Under-inflating would be good in situations where the ball might become slick and/or hard (rain/cold). Over-inflating is good for kicking. Hence; the Patriots made sure to keep one ball inflated properly.

I agree with the idea that the officials should provide the balls. On top of that I would say that balls shouldn't be team specific.
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Re: More New England Cheating?

Post by Cliff » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:12 am

Crax wrote: I don't recall being outraged about any of that stuff. I generally think it's funny. In this case though, I don't think it's really on the patriots. If they did cheat, it's the leagues fault for letting them.
You might not have been outraged, but a *lot* of the league and fans get in a pretty big uproar over that stuff.

So does this 'cheating is OK if the organization you're cheating on didn't know to stop you' extend to every part of life or just football? ;)

The NFL didn't let them on purpose, they do have rules regulating the balls. In this case, a team cheated to get around them.
There is no reason that the footballs shouldn't be handled by the league(headsets too, we've heard those complaints enough as well). It literally takes less than 15 seconds to check ball pressure with a gauge that can fit in the refs pocket.
And maybe something like that will happen now.
Also, as someone has posted(don't remember who), you can easily lose 20% of pressure on a cold day. Refs/guys holding the down markers/some other guys should just take responsibility and handle it. The nfl can afford to pay someone impartial to do it.

You *can* lose up to 20% on a cold day. Note the word 'can' instead of the phrasing 'most of the time'. If it was 'most of the time a ball deflates 20% on a cold day' then it would be a valid excuse. In this case, 11 out of 12 balls were deflated even though the Refs checked them about 2 hours before the game.

That's not one (or even two) of the balls being deflated by the cold, that's very likely tampering.
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Re: More New England Cheating?

Post by Cliff » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:29 am

Another question I ask myself; what else has New England cheated at that we simply don't know about? If they've been busted cheating twice now, how many other things are they doing against the rules that just haven't been found?

How would I feel if it was the Vikings that lost the Championship game only to find later that the other team cheated in some way? Would I still have the 'Aw well, we probably would have lost anyway!' mentality?
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Re: More New England Cheating?

Post by Crax » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:33 am

Cliff wrote: So does this 'cheating is OK if the organization you're cheating on didn't know to stop you' extend to every part of life or just football? ;)
The nfl does know and even has stipulations in place to handle the ball pressure. Doesn't sound like it's very stringent or even payed attention too. As I mentioned with the headsets and people piping in crowd noise, we already know it happens and everybody deals with it. Based on comments from Rodgers and others, it sounds like ball inflating/deflating happens pretty regularly too. Either let it slide, or the league needs to do it on their own, not fake outrage when they know it's been happening this whole time.

I don't condone cheating, but I have a hard time getting upset about ball pressure as that seems so minor. Standardize it or let the home team do it on their own. The nfl seems to have chosen the 2nd option and is now faking outrage like they had no idea.

As a db, is grabbing the receiver against the rules? What about holding as a lineman? Bumping/grabbing/holding is all over the place, but it's up to the ref to call it. It's also up to the ref to ensure the ball is correct along with the clock, down markers etc. I have a hard time holding a team responsible for something that is the referees responsibility.
You *can* lose up to 20% on a cold day. Note the word 'can' instead of the phrasing 'most of the time'. If it was 'most of the time a ball deflates 20% on a cold day' then it would be a valid excuse. In this case, 11 out of 12 balls were deflated even though the Refs checked them about 2 hours before the game.

That's not one (or even two) of the balls being deflated by the cold, that's very likely tampering.
Read this article if you want to get into the math: http://www.wcsh6.com/story/weather/2015 ... /22065861/
The balls are supposed to be 12.5-13.5 PSI before the game starts. If all balls were filled indoors at the low end of 12.5, they could all easily be under the limit at half time.
How would I feel if it was the Vikings that lost the Championship game only to find later that the other team cheated in some way? Would I still have the 'Aw well, we probably would have lost anyway!' mentality?
I wouldn't blame it on deflated balls, that seems like a total cop out, especially when you get blown out.
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Re: More New England Cheating?

Post by Crax » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:41 am

Fill 11 of the balls at 12.6 indoors. Fill 1 designated kicking ball at 13.4. Keep the kicking ball warm so it doesn't lose pressure. Everything is within range to start the game, but the 11 will all end up under on a cold day.
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Re: More New England Cheating?

Post by The Breeze » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:46 am

If they cheated, they cheated. Whether or not it had an outcome on the game is irrelevant. It's all about intent and integrity.

Look at this teams history going back to the snow plow game. :rofl:

It's in their blood up there.

I don't know how much integrity is left in the NFL, but the Patriots continually blurr the line compared to other franchises.
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Re: More New England Cheating?

Post by The Breeze » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:47 am

Crax wrote:Fill 11 of the balls at 12.6 indoors. Fill 1 designated kicking ball at 13.4. Keep the kicking ball warm so it doesn't lose pressure. Everything is within range to start the game, but the 11 will all end up under on a cold day.
I thought there was a separate set of kicking balls.....like 5 other balls or something. no?
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Re: More New England Cheating?

Post by Crax » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:51 am

The Breeze wrote: I thought there was a separate set of kicking balls.....like 5 other balls or something. no?
Yeah, I guess there is eight designated kicking balls. Kinda weird that kicking ones are separate and shipped straight from manufacturer. Guess they could do that with all of them.
"Each team will make 12 primary balls available for testing by the Referee two hours and 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the game to meet League requirements," according to the NFL rule book. "The home team will also make 12 backup balls available for testing in all stadiums. In addition, the visitors, at their discretion, may bring 12 backup balls to be tested by the Referee for games held in outdoor stadiums. For all games, eight new footballs, sealed in a special box and shipped by the manufacturer to the Referee, will be opened in the officials’ locker room two hours and 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the game. These balls are to be specially marked by the Referee and used exclusively for the kicking game."
Maybe the patriots did have some random guy deflating balls on the sidelines, but at the end of the day, you still need to play defense. You give up 45 points, and it's not due to ball pressure.
Last edited by Crax on Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: More New England Cheating?

Post by Mothman » Wed Jan 21, 2015 11:56 am

Cliff wrote:If the balls were properly inflated for the Colts then that would make the Patriot's defensive job a bit easier too, no? If a deflated ball is easier for the QB to grip and for the WR to catch, then on the other side of that coin a fully inflated ball is more difficult for the QB to handle and the WR to catch (especially in the kind of weather in that game).
I think I'm missing your point. The NE defense wouldn't have a competitive advantage over the Colts offense in that circumstance so if the Colts offense was using properly-inflated footballs, how would that make things easier on the Patriots defense? Wouldn't it just mean they were facing the circumstances they were supposed to be facing?
Well, the officials also checked the balls before the game started and are supposed to hold them until the ball boys get them before the game. In other words, if they were able to deflate them before they game they could have done so again before the half. The only reason anybody on the Colts even noticed was because the ball was intercepted and reported at that time. Since there wasn't another interception, it's hard telling if the problem was actually corrected or not since we don't know how or when they were tampered with in the first place.

Do you know if they tested the balls again after the game or kept a closer eye on it after half time? That'd be interesting information to know.
I don't know. The officials handle the ball after every play so presumably, if they knew there was an issue at halftime, they would have been looking for it in the second half. Hopefully, more info on that will come out...
In any case, beating a team by 10 points going into the half when you get the ball back in the 3rd is a pretty big advantage even if it's not huge relative to the beating that was the final result.
Point taken but I find it very difficult to believe that under-inflated footballs had much, if anything, to do with that advantage, especially because I saw the Pats beating the Colts at the line for the majority of the game. If the Patriots were cheating, I don't know why they bothered. Maybe it's a compulsion Belichick can't resist or something because I just don't think they need that kind of "help" and the risk doesn't seem worth whatever slight reward it might provide.
Under-inflating and over-inflating both seem like they can provide significant advantages so I'm not sure why it's not more heavily controlled. Perhaps they thought the current controls were sufficient. Under-inflating would be good in situations where the ball might become slick and/or hard (rain/cold). Over-inflating is good for kicking. Hence; the Patriots made sure to keep one ball inflated properly.

I agree with the idea that the officials should provide the balls. On top of that I would say that balls shouldn't be team specific.
Agreed. It's crazy that the NFL has practically been doing this on the "honor system".
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Re: More New England Cheating?

Post by Cliff » Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:06 pm

Crax wrote: The nfl does know and even has stipulations in place to handle the ball pressure. Doesn't sound like it's very stringent or even payed attention too. As I mentioned with the headsets and people piping in crowd noise, we already know it happens and everybody deals with it. Based on comments from Rodgers and others, it sounds like ball inflating/deflating happens pretty regularly too. Either let it slide, or the league needs to do it on their own, not fake outrage when they know it's been happening this whole time.

I don't condone cheating, but I have a hard time getting upset about ball pressure as that seems so minor. Standardize it or let the home team do it on their own. The nfl seems to have chosen the 2nd option and is now faking outrage like they had no idea.

As a db, is grabbing the receiver against the rules? What about holding as a lineman? Bumping/grabbing/holding is all over the place, but it's up to the ref to call it. It's also up to the ref to ensure the ball is correct along with the clock, down markers etc. I have a hard time holding a team responsible for something that is the referees responsibility.
So if the Patriots win the super bowl this year and we later find out that the entire team (even the kicker!) was doping it wouldn't matter. It's up to the league to make sure players aren't using enhancing drugs and if they got around that; it's on the league.
Read this article if you want to get into the math: http://www.wcsh6.com/story/weather/2015 ... /22065861/
The balls are supposed to be 12.5-13.5 PSI before the game starts. If all balls were filled indoors at the low end of 12.5, they could all easily be under the limit at half time.
Well, first I'll have to admit I don't know what the balls were down too when they were low. If they were all at 12.4 PSI then obviously it's all much ado about nothing. However, assuming that all of the balls were filled at the low end and they all lost air (except conveniently one ball that the team would need for kicks) seems like wishful thinking a bit.
I wouldn't blame it on deflated balls, that seems like a total cop out, especially when you get blown out.
I wouldn't blame it all on deflated balls either (I watched the game and know that wasn't the only reason) ... but it'd leave a pretty bad taste in my mouth.
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