NFL Wire News

NFL to conduct random football inflation checks

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The NFL will start spot-checking the inflation of footballs this year in the wake of the Deflategate scandal.

Mike Pereira, the league’s former head of officiating, wrote an article Sunday on FoxSports.com, detailing the NFL’s new football-monitoring procedures.

According to Pereira:

Each team will supply 12 primary and 12 backup footballs to the game officials 2 hours and 15 minutes before each game. Previously, the visitors had to supply just 12, though they could have supplied up to 24 for outdoor games.

Two members of the officiating crew will be charged with inspecting the footballs, where previously only the referee had that duty.

In an all-new procedure, each football will be numbered, and the pounds per square inch (PSI) of air pressure in each will be recorded.

If a football is found to be below the minimum of 12.5 PSI or above the maximum of 13.5 PSI, it will be inflated or deflated to 13 PSI. Previously, there was no stipulation for the PSI referees should employ when inflating or deflating footballs.

Each team’s kicking ball (K-ball) coordinator will team with a member of the officiating crew and a security guard to bring the “primary” footballs to the on-field replay station. Each team’s ball crew will then receive footballs in the presence of an NFL representative. Backup footballs will remain locked in the officials’ dressing room until they are needed.

At randomly chosen games, the footballs from both teams will be inspected at halftime, with the PSI levels noted. Those footballs will then remain in the possession of a security representative, with the backup footballs used in the second half. In those games, the backup footballs will be inspected postgame, too.

Referees will include all game ball information in his report to the league.

The new policy comes after the New England Patriots were found to have used underinflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game in January. The Patriots were fined a $1 million and docked two draft picks, and quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for four games, a penalty he is appealing.


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