Thursday, January 22, 2015

Former NFL Coach John Madden Lays Responsibility for Deflated Footballs on Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady

After hearing the procedure for approving footballs for play, I have to agree with former NFL broadcaster and coach John Madden that the order to deflate the footballs in the game against the Indianapolis Colts almost certainly would have come from Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady. 
Who, exactly, is to blame for the New England Patriots’ DeflateGate controversy? John Madden points the finger straight at Tom Brady, not Bill Belichick.

“That would have to be driven by the quarterback,” Madden told The Sports Xchange via Pro Football Talk).
New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady

“That’s something that wouldn’t be driven by a coach or just the equipment guy. Nobody, not even the head coach, would do anything to a football unilaterally, such as adjust the amount of pressure in a ball, without the quarterback not knowing. It would have to be the quarterback’s idea.”

Although the matter of how the Patriots’ footballs were deflated in the AFC championship game remains under investigation, quarterbacks — especially top-tier quarterbacks — are finicky about their footballs. Brady laughed off the allegation that the balls were underinflated Monday, calling it “ridiculous.” But the matter is serious now.

“He is the affected,” Madden said. “He is the only guy. I heard some of the pundits saying the ball is easier to catch, but that would never, ever, ever be done for that unless the quarterback wanted it. You wouldn’t do something for a receiver to catch the ball if the quarterback couldn’t throw it. So it’s going to be done for the quarterback.”
That procedure is the game referees examine the balls given to them by the home team and, after being approved, they're turned over to the home team's equipment manager.  The deflation would have had to take place at that point.  Certainly the equipment manager did not own his own take the balls and deflate them by up to a very noticeable 2 pounds per square inch.  That order would have had to come from Patriots coach Bill Belichick or Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.  Madden points his finger at Brady:

During a press conference, Belichick claimed that he knew nothing about the deflated footballs and pointed to Brady as the ones who would know what happened.   When questioned about the deflated footballs, Brady was less than convincing that he didn't know about the deflated footballs, much less ordered it done by the equipment manager.    

If it turns out that Brady did order the deflating of the footballs, then the NFL would have no choice but to suspend Brady for the Super Bowl.  To do anything less would be to condone cheating that directly affects the integrity of the game.

My guess is the NFL will do everything it can to extend its "investigation" beyond the Super Bowl.


Flogger said...

Cheating in Sports what a shock- NOT. Almost 100 years ago there was infamous Black Sox Scandal. Baseball has had corked bats, spit balls, scoffed balls, and steroids. Pete Rose, Paul Hornung and Alex gambling.

The Mega-Media is all over this. Too bad to say this is America. Our President GWB and his Neo-Con Gang lied through their teeth about WMD's in Iraq, and people were killed because of it.

Wall Street criminals walk away. Our US Attorney General's Motto is Too Big to Fail, and Too Big Jail. Then we have our own Eric Turner here in Indiana, who managed line his own pockets.

Anonymous said...

of course, not unlike Nixon's post Watergate election win, the game could have been played with bowling balls and the Pats would still have won by 20

Pete Boggs said...

Deflated footballs, what about inflation schemes of the local GOP? What's up with the local GOP, announcing its "candidate" prior to slating?

Do legitimate operators announce a winning horse before the race or raffle winner prior to the raffle, etc.?

Why, is the GOP deflating or corrupting its own process of slating & how does that benefit the future of the party? Is that "the stuff" of a dynamic growing organization, or one that's failing?

Have we so declined culturally, as to insist on "fairness" in games played for entertainment, but excuse deception in matters that directly affect our lives? How does that "end well?"

Anonymous said...

The Colts sound like whiny brats, and so does John Harbaugh who was outcoached by Belichick.

The entire episode is the NFL's fault. No ball is the same from game to game or even across the sidelines.

If the NFL wants a standard ball, have the NFL bring the balls to the game.

This is a spectacular non-issue urged along by the New York media that hates Boston and by the grossly outplayed Colts.

The last time someone complained about the Patriots, they put up the only perfect season in NFL history.

All the losers should be celebrating the Patriots and being glad to be alive in the presence of such a great team.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 9:44 am, how can it be the NFL's fault? The refs approve the balls and then give them back to the Patriots equipment manager. Obviously it was at that point they were deflated, unless you want to argue that the refs didn't do their jobs. Of course, then you have the question why the Patriots gave the refs deflated balls to begin with.

I don't know of anyone arguing that the Colts would have won the game were it not for the deflated balls. That's not the issue. What was done, which was almost certainly done by someone on the Patriots (and almost certainly Brady was involved) directly assaults the integrity of the game. If a sprinter tests positive for performance enhancing drugs and he wins by 20 yards, you don't say well he would have won even without taking the drugs, therefore no harm no foul. You suspend the sprinter. While I don't think you can suspend the entire team for what happened, the league can and should suspend Brady for the Super Bowl if it's found he's involved.

Anonymous said...

"Obviously it was at that point they were deflated"

Whoa, there, Bill Nye.

You have a lot more Science and Logic to do before you can make that claim.

Anonymous said...

"Integrity of the game"? Really?

Paul, did you ever play Football? Did you ever throw a football?

If you try to throw even a mildly underinflated ball, it won't go anywhere, and it won't hold a spiral. You should really feel one of these supposedly non-conforming balls before you place this incident in the company of the rigged pass interference calls the Colts got in the Manning era. The Colts were the repeated beneficiaries of outright game fixing, but nobody in Indy cared about rigged "wins."

Football has always been loose with the condition of the football. Kickers get a different ball than the offense, and the kicking ball is always pumped way up. Some kickers keep a crappy ball around because they like the way it bounces off the foot.

The condition of the ball is far less of importance to Football than the playing object is in any of the other sports.

People placing a softer football in the company of athlete doping show a profound lack of understanding of Football and what it takes to throw and catch a Football.

Of course, some of this is the "Rules-are-Rules-are-Rules" nonsense mindlessly spewed by the sports conservatives who hail from the authority culture and make devoted fans but lousy athletes.

This "Rules-are-Rules-are-Rules" culture has almost completely infected everyone who votes Republican, a major reason why that party is obsolescent.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 10:54 am, the answer to your questions is yes and yes. A football with less air pressure is easier to grip in wet conditions. Anyone who has ever played the football knows that. Former NFL quarterbacks talking about this issue has confirmed this.

It is true that a more inflated ball cuts through the air better, but there is a trade off on the grip. With a less inflated ball, the quarterback can squeeze it better and to some quarterbacks that's more important, ESPECIALLY WHEN CONDITIONS ARE WET LIKE THEY WERE DURING THAT GAME. Brady is on record as saying he likes balls with less air while other quarterbacks prefer balls inflated more.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 10:41, when do you think the balls, 11 of 12 mind you, became deflated? The chain of custody is Patriots-Refs-Patriots. You think the Refs let air out of the ball?

Anonymous said...

You've just admitted it's a non-issue. Some like it one way; some like it the other. The ball is fully playable either way.

Until the whining Colts got embarrassed, yet again, it was never an issue in college or pro Football. You've been watching games, for years, with balls that vary wildly from game to game, play to play, and team to team. You never noticed a thing.

Mythbusters even filled a football with helium and found it flew shorter than an air-filled football.

Given that a fuller ball has greater mass, a ball with less air cannot be thrown as far as a ball with more air.

Poor Luck could have had balls more to his liking, but the dim-witted Colts goaded by the outfoxed John Harbaugh were hoping to spring a trap on the Patriots.

The refs spotted the balls for play on every down and didn't notice a thing.

You actually have to put the ball in the end zone to win games, and, as the Ravens and Colts found out, whining doesn't move the ball.

That "Rules-are-Rules-are-Rules" way of thinking will kill any organization it infects.

Go, Pats!

Anonymous said...

"The chain of custody is Patriots-Refs-Patriots. You think the Refs let air out of the ball?"

I see you buy those magic footballs at Dick's that never lose air or need to be inflated. I was always taught that air is a mixed gas, and as a mixed gas, its volume is a function of temperature. Pressure is a function of volume.

Any good racing crew chief will tell you that if a part passes pre-race inspection but naturally degrades throughout the race, the pre-race clearance allows the part to be used in the race.

We all need to see what the pressure of the Colts ball was, and what the pressure of the game control bass was. I'd also like to see the Excel spreadsheet for every game in every season that shows the pre-game inflation and halftime inflation for every ball used during the season.

It seems like the NFL never took a Science class and is clumsily trying to do Science by looking at one set of data with no baseline or comparative data. The NFL should be laughed out of the room.

Did the balls pass pre-game inspection? Seems like case closed, unless you're going to be all Republican about it and make up law as you go.

Remember when Billy Martin lost his stupid pine-tar challenge because he waited so long in the game to complain about Brett's bat? Yes, the pine tar game Brett a better grip. So, what? Nobody cared. That's how real sports handles a stupid complaint.

MikeC said...

What a big fat nothing burger. I doubt the NFL is doing anything. Sounds more and more like a media frenzy. If it were another team, it wouldn't even be a story. There is nothing there. The NFL hasn't said a peep. So what if the balls were 11.999 PSI? The cold weather could do that.

The Colts, by the way, were the most fined team in 2014 (over $3.8 million) and the Pats were one of the least fined (a mere $196,000).

Anonymous said...


danyod says: Jan 23, 2015 1:49 PM

The effect of temperature on football inflation.
Assume that the game footballs were inflated in a 75 F degree locker room, then taken out to a playing field at a temperature of 50 degrees F. How much would the change in temperature decrease the pressure in the football?
High school physics tells us that the ideal gas law PV=nRT applies. That is, pressure times volume is equal to the number of moles times the gas constant times the temperature of the gas (in degrees Kelvin). Thus, given a constant amount of air in the football and a negligible volume change, the pressure will obey:
P = nRT/V
The change in pressure is thus proportional to the change in temperature,
The 75 degree locker room has an absolute temperature of 297o K
The 40 degree playing field has an absolute temperature of 283o K
The change in temperature of 14o K will thus cause a drop in pressure of 14/297 = 4.7%.
To translate this into a pressure change we must recall that football pressure is measured in gauge pressure, relative to the atmospheric pressure of 15 psi. So the absolute pressure within a football pumped to 13 psi is 13 +15 = 28psi absolute. The 4.7% drop applied to the absolute pressure gives a drop of 1.32 psi. Thus, the pressure within the football at game time will be only 13 -1.32 = 11.68 psi and thus well below regulation gauge pressure of 12.5-13.5psi. If they were just at 12.5psi to start they would be down by 1.3psi to 11.2psi by game time. And of course, a little pressure is lost every time you stick a needle in to check the pressure. Some guy on TV did this calculation but I think he forgot about absolute pressure vs gauge pressure and underestimated it.
It thus seems highly likely that the Patriots equipment manager checked all 12 balls in a warm locker room and they lost pressure merely by cooling off on the field. In addition, the cold rain would have accelerated the heat transfer out of the balls. Finally, if the indoor inflation air was very humid, there would be an additional loss of pressure due to water vapor condensation on the inside of the bladder as the temperature of the football dropped."

If the NFL wants to "fix" this, the NFL has to be in charge of the balls.

The story notes that the balls were at regulation for the second half, when Brady destroyed the Colts.

Paul K. Ogden said...

No Anon 11:48, let me talk slower for you so maybe you can get what I'm saying. The Colts were completely outplayed in every capacity. No one is saying they would have won if the balls had not been deflated. The Colts don't deserve to go to the Super Bowl. The Patriots are a much better team and showed it.

The problem is that deflating the balls is a violation of the rules and strikes at the very integrity of the game. Some quarterbacks prefer balls with some air, some with less. With less air you get a better grip. With more air you get better aerodynamics. (Brady is on record as saying he prefers balls with less air.) With it raining during the game, a ball that has less air and is easier to grip is going to be much more important than one that has more air and has greater aerodynamics.

Whether the refs noticed anything is irrelevant. It is an undisputed fact that 11 of 12 NE balls were under inflated by at least 2 pounds per square inch. That's a fact you're playing with.
The only question is who did the deflating.

Surely you would admit that if Brady was involved in deflating the balls, the NFL has no choice but to order him suspended for the Super Bowl.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 12:04, so you think that from the pre-game inspection to the end of the first half when the balls were checked, two pounds of air pressure leaked out of 11 of 12 footballs? Seriously?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 3:08, so you think the people in the NFL have no idea about the effect (temporary mind you) that temperature has on air pressure? That this is something Junior Scientists on the internet suddenly figured out.

Again, who is saying the Colts would not have been destroyed anyway. That's not the point. The point is tampering with footballs after being approved by the NFL is extremely serious. If Brady is involved, which is very possible, he needs to be suspended for the Super Bowl.

Paul K. Ogden said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul K. Ogden said...

MikeC, you think an NFL team having the condition of footballs altered after they were approved by the NFL is no big deal? Any quarterback found doing that would be suspended immediately. You're right though...the Patriots are getting special treatment from the NFL. The NFL is pushing the investigation beyond the Super Bowl so any suspension of Brady can be served during the next regular season.

I'm not sure what is your point comparing the Colts to the Patriots. It's not just Colts fans condemning letting air out of the ball, everyone is, even including the Boston media.