The footballs used in Sunday’s game between the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks could very well lose air over the course of the game. Just don’t expect any sort of investigation to follow.
The forecast for Sunday’s NFC Wild Card Game in Minneapolis are calling for bitterly cold temperatures that should hover around zero degrees at kickoff, and they’re only expected to drop as the game progresses. So, too, should the PSI of the game footballs, if the Deflategate saga has taught us anything.
The drawn-out Deflategate controversy introduced many people, apparently including some within the NFL offices, to the Ideal Gas Law, which essentially explains how taking footballs from room temperatures and bringing them outside could lead to a drop in air pressure. And the temperature for the Patriots game in question — the 2015 AFC Championship Game — was roughly 50 degrees higher than forecast temperatures for Sunday in Minnesota.
Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel pointed out Thursday in a column titled “How low will PSI drop in Vikings-Seahawks playoff game?” that there’s going to be a huge drop in PSI, perhaps to as low as 9.0 PSI, which is 3.5 PSI lower than the league’s mandated minimum of 12.5 PSI.
“Ignoring the wind chill (meaning the following is a conservative estimate, meaning the wind chill could make the on-field ball pressure even lower), the on-field ball pressure will be about 9 psig (assuming it was pressurized to 12.5 psig at 70F and measured on-field at 0F),” Boston College professor Dr. Michael Naughton told Yahoo! Sports in an email.
So, will there be any sort of investigation? At the very least, will the balls be tested? Maybe, maybe not, according to Pro Football Talk.
“They (the tests) are done randomly,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Pro Football Talk in an email. “We are not given a list and we do not have a comment on other aspects of the program.”
The NFL did instituted new testing guidelines for football air pressure entering the 2015 season, but that’s not without controversy. The testing is all completely random, and the NFL has committed to keeping scheduled testing and the ensuing results private.
The PSI of the footballs in the Patriots’ Week 15 game against the Tennessee Titans were tested, according to reports.
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images
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