Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Ben McAdoo confirms Giants concerns about Steelers footballs

Mike Florio explains why the recent report about deflated balls in Pittsburgh could put the NFL in a bind if the league's reaction is different from how they treated the situation with the Patriots.

In one breath, Giants coach Ben McAdoo said he doesn’t know anything about DeflateGate II. In the next breath, McAdoo made it clear he does.

I don’t really know anything about it,” McAdoo said after Sunday night’s 10-7 win over the Cowboys, via Art Stapleton of “I just know that they said that they felt a little. . . . I don’t know, the PSIs were a little low, so they checked them, and they just let me know they checked them.”

In other words, McAdoo knows everything he needs to know. First, McAdoo knows the Giants suspected the Steelers footballs were underinflated. Second, McAdoo knows the Giants measured the PSIs in the footballs (even though teams aren’t authorized to do that). Third, McAdoo knows the Giants thought enough of the outcome of the measuring process to alert him to it.

The only thing McAdoo didn’t say is that the Giants alerted the league office to the situation, which they most definitely did. The NFL continues to cling to the absence of a “formal complaint” to avoid having to say anything substantive about the situation because there’s no way to do that without acknowledging that, yes, PSI levels naturally drop below 12.5 on cold days.

For more than a year, the NFL has stickhandled its way around disclosing the reality that, yes, PSI levels naturally drop below 12.5 on cold days by treating the measurement taking during air-pressure spot checks as state secrets. By communicating to the league office the fact that two Steelers footballs were below 12.5 PSI on a cold day in Pittsburgh, the Giants have put the NFL in an awkward position.

The NFL has dealt with that awkward position by awkwardly attempting to play the “nothing to see here” card. Which, frankly, is smart, because the combination of the original report from Jay Glazer of FOX with the league’s true-but-misleading statement that there was no “formal complaint” will cause a certain segment of the audience to dismiss Glazer’s report as “fake news.”

It wasn’t fake news. It isn’t fake news. Glazer’s report is entirely accurate, entirely true. The Giants, still lacking a basic understanding of science, noticed that a pair of footballs seemed a little squishy on a cold day in December and they didn’t bother to think that maybe the cold weather had something to do with it. So they took matters into their own hands, and they made a potential mess by sharing that information with the league office.

With this story quickly reaching the point where there likely will be few new developments, the league will move on. Before that happens, however, one more Week 14 game will be played. It’s a Week 14 game hosted by the team most keenly interested in the NFL’s decision to ignore a concern regarding air pressure in footballs.

How much will ESPN say about DeflateGate II during Monday night’s Ravens-Patriots game? How much will people like Tom Brady and Bill Belichick say after the game? If nothing else, the wrinkle makes an otherwise compelling contest even more compelling.