Just when you thought you had heard the last of deflate-gate …
Fox’s Jay Glazer reported Sunday morning that the New York Giants “got suspicious” of the Pittsburgh Steelers during their game in Week 13 and tested two of the Steelers’ balls for PSI on the sideline. Their findings? That the balls fell below the 12.5 psi minimum required by the NFL for ball inflation.
Yes, our national nightmare is blowing back through the league, it appears. This time, the New England Patriots are not involved.
Will this Giants-Steelers episode reach those (PSI) levels? It appears the NFL is trying to take the air out of the story before it gets off the ground. The league’s statement to Glazer’s report:
Our statement re Fox report: pic.twitter.com/wdUj2dbDeF
— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) December 11, 2016
It’s interesting how quickly the NFL appears to be dismissing a report from Glazer, who seldom is wrong. He added this context to what McCarthy said:
NFL correct in saying no FORMAL complaint was FILED, Giants tested balls & informed the NFL they were under legal limit. Giants confirmed
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) December 11, 2016
The Steelers had two turnovers in the game — a Le’Veon Bell fumble midway through the third quarter and a Ben Roethlisberger interception by Giants rookie corner Eli Apple on the penultimate play of the same quarter. The temperature at kickoff was 43 degrees, and according to Weather Underground dropped below 40 prior to the end of the game. In case you forgot your Ideal Gas Law (who could?), air pressure in balls drops as the temperature does.
The original deflate-gate started as a curious postgame story following the Patriots 45-7 thrashing of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game in January 2015. What followed was insane: The NFL launched a multi-million-dollar witch hunt against the Patriots to determine if they intentionally tampered with the integrity of the footballs, and the reputation of Tom Brady and the organization took major hits, even as the Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl two weeks after the story initially broke.
Although the NFL could not definitively say the Patriots or Brady were guilty of deflating the balls, both the team and he were punished severely — a massive fine, the loss of a first-round draft pick and Brady being suspended for the first four games this season.
Steelers president Art Rooney II said he was “surprised” when Brady initially was allowed to play against the Steelers in the 2015 opener when it appeared he might be suspended the first four games of last season. Giants owner John Mara took an active role in the deflate-gate case, including settlement talks between Brady and the league.
It was a giant saga that lasted more than a year and a half and cost tens of millions of dollars for the NFL.
These are two of the most respected and historic franchise in NFL history whose owners have strong ties to Roger Goodell and the league offices. The franchises also, fascinatingly, are tied together by marriage. Actresses Kate Mara and Rooney Mara are the great-granddaughters of both Giants founder Tim Mara and Steelers founder Art Rooney.
Will this amount to anything? Our gut says no. Except among Patriots fans who feel like the NFL went way above and beyond to make an example of their favorite team.
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