Recent Comments by rcade

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

The judge in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial is letting jurors watch the Super Bowl. But he advised them that if they hear the words "Aaron Hernandez" they need to walk out of the room.

posted by rcade at 10:08 PM on January 30

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

I admire the heck out of Chuck Pagano, but he is not going to out-detail Bill Belichick.

The premise that Belichick went into the game knowing outdoor conditions would bring footballs below 12.5 PSI is contradicted by his Mona Lisa Vito press conference, in which he described a process where such deflation would have been unintentional.

Maybe warm them up a bit more before you give them to the refs to check

In that presser he also denied that footballs ever were subjected to hotter conditions than the normal locker room environment when prepared before they were tested by refs.

So if he was being clever, as you suggest, that would also make him a pretty elaborate liar.

I'm not suggesting one alternative or the other. Just pointing out that the clever Belichick theory doesn't gibe with the "here's why this accidentally could have happened" presser.

posted by rcade at 08:47 PM on January 30

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

I apologize for being cruelly blunt, but you should be embarrassed for yourself at this point.

I don't apologize for being blunt: I'll respond when you stop sounding like a typical dumbass from an ESPN Facebook thread.

posted by rcade at 07:11 PM on January 30

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Super Bowl 0x31 Round

I'm going to pick fast so I don't have to factor in other people's picks in my strategery.

Seattle by 6 points

Most passing yards: Tom Brady

Most rushing yards: Marshawn Lynch

Most receiving yards: Rob Gronkowski

First touchdown: Doug Baldwin

Player with a sack: Michael Bennett

Player with an interception: Richard Sherman

Total score: 54

First quarter: 9

Second quarter: 30

Third quarter: 33

posted by rcade at 06:16 PM on January 30

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Super Bowl 0x31 Round

GB @ SEAIND @ NE
ResultSeattle by 6New England by 38
Margin of Error4 to 827 to 49

NerfballPro's lead drops from four to two, as Hincandenza narrows the gap and LionIndex climbs to third, both with 5 points for the week. NoMich tosses away a chance for the Costanza with the week's best score of 7 points and is now tied for fourth. Despite an 11-point margin of error, no one gets a point for picking the spread in the AFC Championship Game. That's as deflating as--, no, I can't do it.

SpoFiteGB @ SEASIND @ NESPointsBonusesWeek 1Week 2Total Points
NerfballProSeattle 7 217515
hincandenzaSeattle New England 231713
LionIndexSeattle 4New England 323412
rcadeSeattle 8New England303511
NoMich Seattle 6New England 431311
bender Seattle 114410
Ufez JonesSeattle New England 222410
tahoemoj Seattle 131510
ic23b Seattle 4New England31059
Ying Yang Mafia Seattle New England22059
tommytrump 00448
grum@work New England 12418
Goyoucolts New England11507
Howard_TSeattle New England21407
phaedon Seattle New England 21003

Nine players had New England with the most points (45), five had Tom Brady as the top passer (226 yards), nine predicted Marshawn Lynch as top rusher (157) and no one guessed Doug Baldwin as top receiver (106).

SpoFiteMost PointsPassing YardsRushing YardsReceiving YardsBonuses
NerfballProLynch1
tommytrump 0
rcade0
bender Lynch 1
GoyoucoltsLynch1
LionIndexNew EnglandBrady 2
grum@work New EnglandLynch2
Howard_TNew England
1
Ufez JonesNew EnglandBrady 2
ic23bNew England 1
hincandenzaNew EnglandBrady Lynch 3
NoMich New England Brady Lynch 3
tahoemoj New England Brady Lynch 3
Ying Yang Mafia New England Lynch 2
phaedon Lynch 1

For the Super Bowl, pick the winner of the game and the spread.

For bonus points (1 point each):

Pick the quarterback who passes for the most yards.

Pick the player who runs for the most yards.

Pick the player who has the most receiving yards.

Pick the player who scores the first touchdown.

Pick a player who will get a sack or partial sack (no points for picking "none").

Pick a player who will get an interception (ditto)

Pick the total score in the game (same spread rules as the game)

Pick the total score after the first quarter (ditto)

Pick the total score after the second quarter (ditto)

Pick the total score after the third quarter (ditto)

posted by rcade at 05:58 PM on January 30

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

For reference, the Spygate punishment was a $500,000 fine for Bill Belichick, a $250,000 fine for the team and the loss of a first-round pick in the 2008 draft.

posted by rcade at 05:33 PM on January 30

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

This is news to me, do you have a source for this?

New York Times: "[T]he NFL confirmed Friday that game balls used by the New England Patriots during the first half of Sunday's AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts were underinflated ..."

What I think really happened is that no one ever cared too much about that rule ...

Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book.

The Patriots had custody of the balls they used on offense, just like the Colts. The Patriots were found to be using underinflated balls. The Colts weren't.

Your comment is all about complicating the issue by talking about intent. That's a valid thing to do, and it's what Goodell appears to be doing, but I think it also would be valid to simplify the issue and just punish based on the violation without getting into intent. The Patriots had a responsibility to play with properly inflated balls. Their own quarterback successfully argued for the 2006 rule change that let visiting teams use their own balls, so this is a responsibility that Tom Brady and the Patriots wanted.

When you say things about how nobody cared about the rule and it was an arbitrary range and any ball squeezed by the refs is good enough and nobody understands the Ideal Gas Law, I think it's worth remembering how the Patriots responded when the Ravens complained about being tricked by Belichick's substitutions: Don't complain to us because we knew the rules better than you did.

And for this media circus, a team deserves a fine or loss of draft pick?

The media circus is irrelevant. I think they should lose a third- or fourth-round pick in 2015 and pay a $250,000 fine. I wouldn't call that a "just because" punishment. I think putting underinflated balls out there is a serious offense that affects the integrity of the game. But if the league just levies a fine I wouldn't call that an outrage.

When an owner tampers by expressing an interest in another team's player, the owner can explain his intent but it doesn't always matter. The Patriots filed a complaint against the Jets because owner Woody Johnson said , "I'd love Darrelle [Revis] to come back." He called the Patriots later and said he misspoke and would never interfere with another team's player, but the Patriots filed the complaint anyway. Why would they do that? Because rules are rules.

posted by rcade at 05:23 PM on January 30

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Doesn't "repeat offender" rely on your first statement?

No. The second offense makes the repeat offender.

You've twice said people are "begging the question" by asserting that a rule was broken. Playing with improperly inflated footballs is breaking a rule and the NFL has confirmed the Patriots did that. I don't see any uncertainty on that point -- there's a rule and it wasn't followed.

posted by rcade at 04:14 PM on January 30

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

I love this question posted by a reporter to Goodell today: "And why aren't you available to the media every week, as Richard Sherman suggested?"

posted by rcade at 03:20 PM on January 30

Josh Gordon: I Am Not an Addict

On that subject, Jaguars owner Shad Khan now "very optimistic" that Justin Blackmon will return in 2015.

posted by rcade at 03:17 PM on January 30

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

The harder they push, the worse they will look in the end.

I think that's an argument for punishing quickly (and likely less severely) without getting into intent.

posted by rcade at 03:13 PM on January 30

Josh Gordon: I Am Not an Addict

I don't know how to take that - other than someone else has the problem (the NFL's hypocrisy), but not him.

Gordon says multiple times in the essay that he failed and takes responsibility for his poor decisions. I think you should take his remark about the NFL's sponsorship of beer drinking to be an acknowledgement of irony, given the cause of his suspension.

It was probably unwise for him from a PR statement to talk about that, but he's lost a huge paycheck for doing something the NFL is paid millions to encourage.

posted by rcade at 01:37 PM on January 30

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

The video doesn't show who is doing it. The person has a coat with a red X on it, not team gear, and the video says it was done for both teams. Is a sideline attendant a team official or a league official?

I'm not against punishing for that either. If those teams were breaking rules about footballs, then the league should factor in the decision to warn them in any punishment decision about the Patriots. Or punish them now, since it was a recent infraction.

posted by rcade at 11:07 AM on January 30

Josh Gordon: I Am Not an Addict

Why don't you believe that he drank the booze on the plane in the mistaken belief that the no-alcohol rule ended when the Browns' season did?

I don't know he's telling the truth. He could be in denial. But if he was allowed to drink in the off-season after a certain date, it's plausible that he might make the mistake of believing it was OK.

To me, he shows enough character in the essay to make me think he can salvage his career and repair his reputation after his suspension is over. He doesn't claim innocence or call his punishment unfair. The only thing he protests is the perception he's an out-of-control substance abuser headed for a tragic end.

posted by rcade at 10:53 AM on January 30

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

What rule was definitely broken?

Rule 2, Section 1: "The ball shall be made up of an inflated (12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds) urethane bladder enclosed in a pebble grained, leather case (natural tan color) without corrugations of any kind."

The NFL has confirmed that balls used by the Patriots were not in compliance. A rule was broken, so the team gets a punishment for that.

The league isn't obligated to make a federal case out of this. They could have just punished for the violation without getting into intent. It would be easier to sell a minor punishment to the public as fair when they don't get into intent.

And does this mean you're in favor of similar penalties for the Packers and Giants and any other team that's openly admitted to doctoring the footballs?

I'm not aware of any other team admitting to playing with footballs outside of the required inflation. But if any did, none were caught. The Patriots were. So they get a punishment. Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book.

posted by rcade at 09:57 AM on January 30

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

A local radio station was still kicking around Deflategate, and a caller reminded everyone that a week before the AFC Championship Game, Tom Brady was scolding the complaining Ravens, "Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book."

Shouldn't this have been the same situation? A rule was broken, the balls were in the Patriots' custody, so the team get a fine and/or draft pick loss. It shouldn't matter how it happened. We don't need a smoking needle. Don't like the punishment? Study the rule book.

posted by rcade at 08:21 AM on January 30

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

I'm posting on the NFL Pick 'em post tomorrow. If anyone has bonus categories they'd like to see, fire away.

posted by rcade at 07:58 PM on January 28

College Football Playoff Pressured to Change Dates

I'd rather see the College Football Playoff final on a Wednesday or Thursday night. Having it on Monday, a day after an NFL playoff weekend, was too short a time to enjoy the anticipation and wallow pre-game media hype.

posted by rcade at 07:27 PM on January 28

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

I hate this idea. The shifts are weird, but I want to see batters make opponents pay for doing it.

posted by rcade at 06:31 PM on January 27

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Video shows a Pats locker room attendant taking all 24 game balls into a bathroom, but only for 90 seconds.

posted by rcade at 08:01 AM on January 27

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

For the Patriots to blame a change in temperature for 15% lower-pressures, requires balls to be inflated with 125-degree air. -- Neil deGrasse Tyson

posted by rcade at 06:43 PM on January 26

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Sharp has posted a followup. I haven't read the full piece, but it looks like he doesn't address criticisms. Instead he finds more ways to say the Pats look dodgy.

posted by rcade at 10:51 PM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

It's weird Goodell seems to want to punish. I'd love to see a reporter contact as many NFL owners as possible to see how much they care about this.

posted by rcade at 09:54 PM on January 25

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

The NFL used to have a third-place game called the Playoff Bowl? I've been a fan since I was a kid in the '70s and I never heard of this.

posted by rcade at 06:52 PM on January 25

Josh Gordon Fails Substance Test, Out for Another Year

I can't rule that out. It worked for Don Meredith.

posted by rcade at 06:47 PM on January 25

Josh Gordon Fails Substance Test, Out for Another Year

The Jaguars are actually keeping open the possibility of letting Blackmon play for the team again if he gets himself sorted out. Before his suspension last year he had a few preseason and regular season games where he showed talent beyond anything else I've seen on the team from the current crop of receivers.

posted by rcade at 05:11 PM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Because the Ravens weren't caught with dodgy balls.

Bill Nye has been a science educator for 22 years. He's got a mechanical engineering degree, has multiple patents and has done work in aeronautics and the space program. I think he's qualified to talk about the inflation of footballs without being dismissed as a "media personality." Nye declared himself a Seahawks fan in the GMA piece, so it's not like he hid that.

Belichick himself talked about the "rubbing process" in relation to PSI, so I don't see how Nye is being unfair to him.

To me, Belichick's explanation is pretty silly when you consider that the Colts balls were in the same environment as the Patriots, were tested in the same place and exposed to the same elements, yet were not below required PSI.

... that the Patriots violated any rules whatsoever is completely uncertain.

I think the fact 11 of 12 balls were below required PSI, while none of the Colts balls were, is enough evidence of rulebreaking to levy a fine. It might have been smart for Goodell to just do that right away and leave the rest for a future discussion on how non-kicking balls are tested and handled in games.

The world didn't end when the Patriots' groundskeeper cut a path for their kicker in the Snowplow game. If Goodell just punished the Pats for improperly inflated balls without getting into intent, this circus might already be taking down the tents.

posted by rcade at 04:50 PM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Bill Nye the Science Guy scoffed at Belichick's ball-rubbing theory.

posted by rcade at 01:35 PM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

A WSJ commenter points out that a better metric would be fumbles per rushing attempts and pass completions, since no one is fumbling an incompletion. He notes: "When you re-analyze regular season data from 2010 to 2014, with total fumbles (not fumbles lost) in the numerator and rushing attempts plus receptions (not total offensive plays) in the denominator, the lowest incidence of fumbles is with the Ravens (0.82 fumbles per 100 rushes plus receptions). The Pats are ranked #2 on this statistic, at 0.85. Next come the Saints (0.90), Falcons (0.99) and Packers (1.06)."

posted by rcade at 10:35 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

More fun from a Wall Street Journal piece about Sharp's post:

Additionally, according to Stats, LLC, the six players who have played extensively for the Patriots and other teams in this span all fumbled far less frequently wearing the New England uniform. Including recovered fumbles, Danny Amendola, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Wes Welker, Brandon LaFell and LeGarrette Blount have lost the ball eight times in 1,482 touches for the Patriots since 2010, or once every 185.3 times. For their other teams, they fumbled 22 times in 1,701 touches (once every 77.3).
The WSJ presents a graph on this with a proper axis beginning at 0. It still looks plenty dramatic.

posted by rcade at 08:40 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

An interesting comment to a Slate piece about this blog post:

If you watched the press conference today the Patriots admitted what they did and what their practice is. They create friction on the ball resulting heat which temporarily raises the PSI of the ball. They do this until the ball is turned over to the refs. The balls are checked or tested when received by the Refs in an 80 degree room before the game. After that the balls are secured and then taken to the field in the cold outside air where the air inside the ball reduces with temperature and therefor cause the ball to lose pressure.

They claim that don't break the rules technically because their method does not involve mechanically deflating the balls and they advise the refs to be sure the balls have pressure per the rules (which at that time they do). Their intention is to get balls that are under inflated and their practice in ball preparation makes it likely to occur.

posted by rcade at 08:34 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Plays-per-fumble is hardly an unknown statistic. It is brought up in broadcasts where running backs are concerned.

I'm not a numbers geek. But looking at how often a team loses fumbles per offensive plays run seems like a relevant statistic to me. Turnovers have a strong effect on the outcome of games. If Belichick devised a way to increase ball security -- whether it was a "rubbing process" that results in deflation below 12.5 PSI after testing (his words), a coaching technique or a trait he can identify in players -- it could be a meaningful advantage.

You're making a lot about the graphs not having 0 as the base of Y axis, making them more visually dramatic and somewhat misleading. That's true, but I think you make too much of it. We're talking about a blog post, not a peer-reviewed academic study. Newspapers do what he did all the time in graphs -- I can remember my J profs yelling at us about doing it in the school paper. It's not always a calculated attempt to mislead. Sometimes it's just sloppy thinking in how a graph should be presented.

Personally, I've never seen it as much of a problem when the Y-axis range is right there on the graph and can be taken into account.

Which means, honestly, precisely nothing.

You use the Patriots passing a lot as a possible reason to explain this stat, but dismiss the Saints passing a lot as meaningless.

It seems to me you're trying to have it both ways. You're calling his statistical finding meaningless misleading junk while also coming up with reasons why the Patriots are so good at not losing fumbles.

posted by rcade at 08:27 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Unsurprisingly, a team led by a no-doubt Hall of Fame quarterback runs more passing plays than normal.

New England's pass attempts per game, ranking in league:

2014: 7th
2013: 8th
2012: 4th
2011: 3rd
2010: 18th

Do you really think that explains New England's five-year run of non-fumbling? Here's New Orleans' pass attempts per game, ranking in league:

2014: 1st
2013: 4th
2012: 2nd
2011: 1st
2010: 1st

All those passes, yet New Orleans fumbled once every 126 plays over that time.

posted by rcade at 09:33 PM on January 24

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

I declined to join the suit because they weren't asking for enough.

Every football game I watch now consists of me muttering either "Dez woulda caught that" or "that's a football move" after all pass plays.

posted by rcade at 11:13 PM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

... sports reporters are one thing and sports talking heads are quite another.

True, but there are enough reputable, professional sports reporters that we generally can get enough of the truth on a situation like this to form an educated opinion. So I disagree with the idea that we were going on nothing but baseless speculation the past several days before the NFL finally went on the record.

posted by rcade at 10:34 PM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

The NFL has issued a statement that makes the investigation sound like something it could drag out for months.

posted by rcade at 02:05 PM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

This is a story that the league completely doesn't want. Further poking by interested parties will show how detached from reality the league has been on this issue, like other issues.

I hate to throw another Roger under the bus, but Goodell is a spectacularly bad commissioner at crisis management.

One of the reasons this story keeps growing is because the media can speculate on punishments like banning Belichick from the Super Bowl without looking like hysterics. Another is the perception of stonewalling. A third is the public spectacle of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady being dragged in front of the cameras for questioning.

The NFL could have avoided all that by imposing a penalty already after deeming the 11 deflated balls as clear evidence of rule-breaking. Goodell could announce that the Patriots will lose a fourth-round pick in 2015 and more punishments may be doled out later if further evidence comes to light. He could then describe the steps being taken to avoid this problem in the future.

I think that would smother this story within 48 hours.

posted by rcade at 01:55 PM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

For all I know, this drama is playing out just as Belichick would have it.

I think it would be foolish on his part to think this helps his team. It's a big distraction that's getting bigger. All three broadcast networks led with the story tonight.

The Patriots don't need outside drama to rally around. They're a creative, solid, well-coached team with experienced hands across the organization. They don't need to invent a sense of persecution -- like some immature athletes do with all their "you didn't respect us, everybody doubted us" garbage -- to find their motivation to win the Super Bowl.

posted by rcade at 08:20 PM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

We accept the sports media as a reasonably accurate gatherer of information all the time. Don't you find it a little odd to insist on a higher standard than that because the Patriots had dodgy balls?

posted by rcade at 08:03 PM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

No - I find it painfully ironic that someone calling for "the fucking truth" is so ingrained in a story that currently has anonymous league sources at the core of it and no actual, you know, report you can read.

When the league is stonewalling, what else can people do but regard the best NFL reporters' work as the authority on what happened? Roger Goodell is once again mismanaging a crisis. Tom Brady claimed today he's never been interviewed by the league about the balls. Four days in, and the NFL hasn't talked to him?

posted by rcade at 07:33 PM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Fines keep me from driving twenty over ...

School zones keep you from speeding at all. Maybe dodgy balls are a school zone, not an interstate.

posted by rcade at 12:54 PM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Never been a story or a fine before this week even though the league has known about it since November.

There wouldn't be any news value in a story while it was still an unverified suspicion.

To me, your comment is like waving off the importance of an NCAA recruiting violation because it wasn't reported until the school got caught. How is that a mitigating circumstance at all?

posted by rcade at 11:36 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Sure, but it should be speeding ticket punishment, not murder punishment.

If I had to choose one or the other, I'd agree with you. Some of the talk is getting out of hand. The Christian Science Monitor actually ran this headline yesterday: "Will Patriots be banned from the Super Bowl?"

... and no one has ever once given a fuck about ball pressure.

This is not true. The Colts complained to the league earlier in the season about the Patriots doing it. The NFL was planning to inspect the Patriots' footballs at halftime even without the Colts noting the dodgy ball after the interception.

posted by rcade at 10:58 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

So the balls aren't deflated enough for a normal person to tell the difference ...

Why does this matter? The NFL had a rule, the ref inspected the footballs, someone deflated 11 of 12 footballs up to 2 PSI. Arguing a league rule is stupid after it has been intentionally broken is beside the point. Obviously someone at the Patriots believed the underinflated balls would give them a competitive edge, so they broke the rule and now should face punishment.

posted by rcade at 10:33 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Shouldn't repeat offenders be punished more harshly?

Only if there are rules that stipulate it. Lacking that, the punishment should fit the specific violation.

posted by rcade at 09:29 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

If you just want to punish the team and not the coach, take away ALL of the Patriots draft picks for the upcoming draft (unless the pick has already been traded away), and make them draft dead last in every round for the next three drafts after that.

That's way too harsh for a rules violation that suggests a $25,000 fine as part of the punishment.

Taking away a single high draft pick would be a significant penalty.

SpyGate was eight years ago. The Patriots haven't been caught cheating since then. Either they didn't cut as many corners or they got better at cheating.

posted by rcade at 08:30 AM on January 22

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Nick Lowery once slapped a ballboy after they cursed each other out in a disagreement over warm balls.

Read the link all the way to the end for a fantastic Bill Parcells quote.

posted by rcade at 09:06 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Bill Polian's suggestion: Just keep the balls in the refs' custody until right before the game, then have a neutral party handle them on the sidelines.

Apparently that's what happened when the league got sick of kickers messing with the balls all the time to give them accuracy juju.

posted by rcade at 07:36 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Regarding how this scandal is being received, are there really a lot of NFL fans who hate the Patriots without a clear reason to do so, such as them beating your team in the AFC East for seemingly ever?

I don't have strong feelings about the Patriots, with the exception that I am interested in seeing Brady and Belichick try for one more ring while they are on this great run of theirs. But that's a minor motivation at best. They are just a team that provides a casual fan with a little more reason to care when your own team is on the golf course.

I think I'd like to see them punished if they were intentionally cheating, but I'm more invested in seeing this resolved quickly so Super Bowl week is about other things.

posted by rcade at 07:31 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

How does the ref inspect the ball pre-game? Is there a pressure gauge handy, or does he just give them a once over and say "Good enough", and there was no malice?

I have read too much on this and can't find the story, but they're measured to make sure they're from 12.5 PSI to 13.5 PSI. Unless there's a ball whisperer working for the zebras, that suggests a gauge is involved.

As for how obvious the underinflation would be, I saw Mark Brunell on ESPN holding balls two PSI apart and he said there's a "remarkable difference". And he's the greatest quarterback Jacksonville has ever known, so that counts for something in my book.

I don't think a ref is as likely to notice suspicious balls as a quarterback. The ref's not going to be OCD about how a football feels in his hand.

posted by rcade at 07:14 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

So the league lets teams inflate balls to their liking but not too much to their liking.

No, it doesn't. After the ref inspects the balls teams are not allowed to alter them.

posted by rcade at 06:11 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

I do think there's one potential mitigating circumstance: If there's evidence lots of teams do it, the Patriots should get a much lighter punishment.

posted by rcade at 05:39 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Somebody is going to have to explain to me why this is a big deal.

If someone on the Patriots intentionally deflated footballs after they were inspected, in an attempt to give the team a competitive advantage, how can you not see that violation of the rules as a big deal? Clearly the league thinks the inflation of the balls is important, because there's a rule and pre-game inspections.

posted by rcade at 05:35 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Maybe .. but the issue is bigger than that.

It's big enough in the long term that I could see the Patriots losing a high-round draft pick, which would be costly and deter future attempts to break the rules.

But suggesting it should justify a punishment that significantly affects this Super Bowl is too much. It also would punish Seattle, which would see a victory tarnished by the perception that New England lost because of what the league did to them.

posted by rcade at 05:06 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Don't you think suspending Belichick would have a much greater impact on the Super Bowl than 11 underinflated balls had on the AFC Championship Game?

posted by rcade at 04:44 PM on January 21

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

What a time for Goodell to be faced with another disciplinary opportunity. He can't possibly do anything that would hurt the Patriots' chances in the Super Bowl, can he? If he were to suspend Belichick it would ruin the game.

But if he does nothing or gives only a wrist slap, it risks dominating the headlines for Super Bowl week. This is a marquee game between two great teams and has the potential to be one of the greatest matches of the century.

Assuming he finds evidence of cheating, I think Goodell should take a draft pick from the Patriots and hit them with a big fine as soon as possible. The idea this needs to be investigated for days or weeks is a bit absurd. If 11 of 12 balls were underinflated after passing inspection, that's enough evidence to levy a punishment and move on.

The NFL and Patriots are lucky the game wasn't close.

posted by rcade at 04:24 PM on January 21

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Belichick did something to my balls, but I don't like to talk about it.

posted by rcade at 04:07 PM on January 21

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Spammers knocked us offline today. I think the problem is under control.

posted by rcade at 03:47 PM on January 21

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Julius Peppers did tell him to slide. Peppers should have been thinking runback and looking for somebody to block.

I think Burnett had a good shot at the end zone and an all but certain shot at putting Green Bay in field goal range.

posted by rcade at 09:08 PM on January 20

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

The all-22 of the Morgan Burnett pick shows how wide open the field was ahead of him.

posted by rcade at 07:55 PM on January 20