NFL Confirms Steelers Used ‘Defective’ Football Vs. Eagles; No Penalty Expected

The Pittsburgh Steelers reportedly used a deflated football during Thursday night’s preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, which means they soon should feel the wrath of the NFL. Right?

Well, not so much.

NFL vice president of football communications Michael Signora released a statement Friday morning suggesting the incident simply was an equipment issue and that the Steelers likely won’t be facing any months-long investigation.

“All footballs were in compliance with NFL rules following the pregame inspection process & all proper procedures were followed,” the statement read, as tweeted by NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. “In the 3Q, a football that was found to be defective was removed from play, will be sent back to Wilson for review.”

Howard Eskin, an Eagles sideline reporter for 94 WIP in Philly, first reported the story, comparing the “very” deflated football to a “marshmallow.”

Considering all of the other footballs were properly inflated, it’s entirely possible the ball simply had a defect and wasn’t intentionally deflated. So, barring any crazy results from the manufacturer’s review, it appears this should be a pretty open-and-shut case.

That would be good news for everyone involved (it’s the preseason, people), even if it leaves somewhat of a bitter taste in the mouths of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, who were disciplined after several years of hand-wringing over deflated footballs.

This isn’t the Steelers’ first experience with deflated balls: The New York Giants caught Pittsburgh using two under-inflated footballs during Week 13 of the 2016 season. No formal complaint was filed, though.

Thumbnail photo via James Lang/USA TODAY Sports Images

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