Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Some Things to Know about Patriots' 'Deflategate'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Some Things to Know about Patriots' 'Deflategate'

Article excerpt

The NFL is very precise about its game and equipment including the number of footballs prepared for games, how much each must weigh, and who monitors them until kickoff.

One rule is very clear: Don't tamper with a football once it has been inspected for use in a game.

The NFL is investigating a report that the New England Patriots used underinflated footballs in the AFC championship game while beating the Indianapolis Colts 45-7. ESPN cited anonymous sources Tuesday night in reporting the league found that 11 of 12 balls were underinflated by 2 pounds per square inch of air.

Here are some things to know about the issue:

Chain of custody * Footballs are delivered to the officials' dressing room 2 hours, 15 minutes before kickoff. The referee inspects each one, with a pump provided by the home team to adjust air pressure as needed. Footballs are required to have at least 12.5 psi and no more than 13.5 psi. Releasing air can make the football easier to grip, especially when wet. Some quarterbacks prefer a softer ball to control the spin more, while others like more air. A drop in temperature from the officials' dressing room to an outdoor field also can cause a football to lose pressure.

The ref rules * The referee is the sole judge of whether a ball is fit for play and marks each one approved for the game. The rule says the footballs "shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to the start of the game." The referee for the game was Walt Anderson. A key question in the investigation is whether the balls improperly passed inspection or were either switched or tampered with after Anderson's inspection. As the home team, the Patriots were responsible for having someone handle the footballs on each sideline.

Ball control * Footballs are sent directly to teams. …

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