The Deflategate: A Controversial Rule in the NFL

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The deflategate has been a controversial rule for the past years in the National Football League as some have been culprits of the rule. In 2014, New England Patriots were alleged to have tempered with the footballs in the American Football Conference Championship Game against their opponents Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots quarter back Tom Brady was to be suspended for four games in the upcoming regular series games due to his alleged involvement in the scandal as announced by the league officials in May 2015; though the court felt that there was unfairness in the process itself (, 2015).

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An important question as to why NFL has a rule as to how much air should be in the footballs is yet to be answered. In 2006, teams were allowed to come with their own footballs to the pitch and the quarter backs were allowed to doctor the balls on how fit they see it. So due to the natural parameters provided by science one can not deflate the ball to be flat as no quarter back would allow to play with a flat football. Deflation of the footballs is not like taking in steroids which make the testosterone of the player climb higher and higher to as many injections one does. So the laws of physics already apply so why would the NFL bother with his rule?

It is reported that about 11 of all 12 provided balls used by the New England Patriots in the game they won were deflated to about 2 pounds per square inch less the normal requirement. Section 1 of the NFL rule book emphasizes on the certain length, color, weight and width. The ball is required to be a Wilson hand selected with the signature of Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the league. The ball should be urethane bladder sealed off with a grained pebble leather with no kind of corrugations and inflated with 12.5 to 13.5 pounds.It should have the form of a spheroid whose weight and size should be: weight 14 to 15 pounds;short circumference of around 21 to 21.25 inches, long axis of about 11 to 11.25 inches and long circumference of around 28 to 28.5 inches (GOODELL, 2012).

The Referee is to be the only judge in the confirmation that all balls to be used for play can comply with all the required specifications. The home club should be the one to furnish the pump, and then the balls are to remain under very strict observation of the Referee before they are delivered to the attendants just before the beginning of the game.

Section 2 of the Rule Book addresses all the preparation reqiured for making sure that the balls are ready for play. This process involves both teams to provide their own balls and the referees checking their quality and marking every ball that fulfills the rules. Every team is required to bring forward 12 initial balls for testing 2 hours and 15 minutes earlier before the beginning time of the game to meet all the requirements. Also in addition the team playing at home should provide 12 backup balls for testing in all stadiums and their pleasure, the visiting team can provide 12 backup balls for testing by the Referees for games in the outdoor stadiums. Eight new balls sealed in a box should be shipped to the Referee directly by the manufacturer. These balls should be opened in the private officials room not later than two hours and 15 minutes before the beginning time of the game. All the balls should be specifically marked by the Referees only and used only exclusively for the kicking game.

In any situation that the home team balls do not conform to the required specifications then the Referee is required to secure proper balls from the visiting team and if they too do not conform, the best available footballs should be used. All arising issues should be reported to the Commissioner immediately. In case of rainy seasons or muddy,slippery or wet field, the ball to be used should be in accordance with the request of the offensive team. It is also required that the Game Clock should not stop if such an action occurs but only if undue delays occur. It is noted that it is the responsibility of the home team to prepare playable balls at all times. (Scribd, 2015).

All these rules should be revised since they not only victimize some people like Brady but also brings many questions without answers to the fans. And the amendments made by increasing two more officials to inspect and mark the balls with the referee; I think they are not necessary as the previous law itself is full of controversy. The punishment should not be that too harsh as it was to quarter back of Patriots Brady. It is of my opinion that there only be a minimum pressure but not maximum as sometimes depending on the temperature the referee might take out all the pressure making it difficult to grip.

References,. (2015). Tom Brady suspended four games by NFL in Deflategate. Retrieved 15 September 2015, from

GOODELL, R. (2012). NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. Journal Of Safety Research, 43(4), 309. doi:10.1016/j.jsr.2012.08.010

Scribd,. (2015). Investigative Report Concerning Footballs Used During the AFC Championship Game On January 18, 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015, from

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