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NFL should inflate all balls to 13.0 PSI before kickoff

The NFL’s rules regarding football inflation amount to the ultimate “it was like that when I got here” proposition, with the required range of 12.5 to 13.5 PSI something that has passed through the generations, with no clear understanding as to why the footballs should be within that specific limit.

For the first time ever, a league that ordinarily obsesses over shoe color and whether a guy’s knees are visible under his pants has tweaked the rules regarding air pressure. The NFL needs to tweak them even more.

The new rule still allows teams to submit the 12 balls they’ll use on offense at either end of the spectrum -- even though it’s now known that the footballs at 12.5 PSI on cold day and footballs at 13.5 PSI on a hot day will move beyond compliance. The gamble teams will now face is that, if the balls they submit go beyond the range, the officials will re-calibrate the balls not to the team’s preferred number but to 13.0 PSI.

So why not just put all balls at 13.0 PSI in the first place? if this is such an important rule (as #DeflateGate would have everyone believe), the footballs need to be within the 12.5-to-13.5 range not just at kickoff but throughout the entire game. Putting them at 13.0 gives them room to move in either direction based on the elements.

It also could be argued that the balls should be set higher than 13.0 on a cold day and lower than 13.0 on a warm day, to fully account for the operation of the Ideal Gas Law. Even better, the footballs should be recalibrated to the kickoff number at halftime, to ensure compliance for 60 minutes with such a supposedly critical rule.

Just how critical is the rule? If it were as critical as the league’s handling of #DeflateGate would have anyone believe, the new procedures wouldn’t allow footballs at the high end of the range to be used under warm conditions or footballs at the low end to be used under cold conditions. In either case, the footballs will quickly be beyond the required limits.