PHILADELPHIA — No investigation or federal case needed this time. The NFL says a bad football used in a preseason game Thursday night was simply defective.
The league said in a statement Friday that a ball was removed from play during the third quarter of the Steelers-Eagles game in Philadelphia and will be sent back to manufacturer Wilson for review.
Questions about an underinflated football flared among fans online after the preseason opener when a sideline radio reporter tweeted that he saw a ball looking “VERY deflated” after an incompletion thrown by Pittsburgh rookie Mason Rudolph.
That immediately brought back reminders of “Deflategate,” the scandal caused when Patriots superstar Tom Brady was accused of using underinflated footballs in the 2015 AFC Championship Game. Brady was ultimately suspended for four games in 2016 for his role in a case that climbed all the way to a federal appeals court.
The saga prompted the NFL to change how it handles footballs before and during games.
NFL officials say all the proper procedures were followed during the game Thursday night.
© 2018 by Associated Press.
The who's-the-better-coach-Bill Belichick-or-Mike Tomlin? debate has been over for a while now -- last December may have been the final nail in that particular coffin -- but James Harrison played for both, he was Skip Bayliss and Shannon Sharpe's guest on FS1's Undisputed, so the question was a natural one:
Mike Tomlin [or] Bill Belichick?
"Belichick" was Harrison's quick, unequivocal answer.
"To me, yes."
Okay, then, Why?
"Mike Tomlin's good as a head coach," said Harrison, the Steelers' long-time linebacker who finished his career with the Patriots last season. "He's a players' coach. I think he needs to be a little bit more disciplined . . .
"The big thing with Belichick is, he's very regimented. He's disciplined. Everyone is going to be on the same page. It's not going to be anything as far as someone doing their own thing. Over there, their whole coaching staff is like that. You're going to know what you're doing. There's meeting after meeting; I ain't never been to so many meetings in my life . . . Man, I seen Tom Brady running to a meeting, scared to be late . . . I don't even know what happens if you're late to a meeting over there.
'Cause everybody gets there on time?
The bottom line, in Harrison's mind, is this:
"Belichick is old school. Like, 'You're going to do it like this or it ain't gonna get done.' Like I said, playing for him is easy if you're used to [regimentation], if you're used to disicipline; (if you're used to it) it's not something that's hard to do. If you're not, then you're going to have some issues until you get in line."
"Belichick's actually funny. He's nothing like the guy that you see on TV."
When Camera Guy Bill "Moose Messina" gave his support to Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, attempting to come back from a serious spinal injury, the gesture was appreciated.
"I really appreciate the support," Shazier told Moose. "I really appreciate the love."
However . . .
"I hate you because you're a Patriots fan," he admitted, to which Moose howled with laughter, "but at the end of the day, man, I really . . . love the NFL and love the people and the fans . . . "
And as for the Pats' offseason soap opera involving Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski?
"I'm worrying about what happens in our facilities," he said, "and you guys can have all the drama this time."
He may hate the Patriots, but he sure talks like one.