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NFL still hasn’t distributed pressure gauges to equipment managers

Baden Sports researcher director Hugh Tompkins shows an air pressure gauge reading for a football used in a demonstration in Renton, Wash., Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. Former NFL quarterback Hugh Millen, who now helps design footballs for Baden, says quarterbacks prefer footballs with less air because of better grip and faster throws. (AP Photos/Manuel Valdes)


As part of the fallout from Deflategate, the NFL has created new rules for ensuring that all footballs are properly inflated. But the league is taking its sweet old time about making sure the 32 teams’ equipment managers have the tools they need to do their jobs properly.

NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino sent an email to all of the league’s equipment managers today, apologizing for not getting them the air pressure gauges they need.

“I apologize for the delay in delivering the new gauges to each of you. Wilson has assured us that they will go out this week,” Blandino wrote in an email obtained by PFT.

Considering what a big deal the proper inflation of footballs has become this offseason, you’d think that the league would have made sure every equipment manager had proper air pressure gauges well in advance of the start of the preseason. But that hasn’t been the case, and Blandino’s email showed that the league is still working through its new football-preparation procedures, which may take longer in the pre-game process than the league initially anticipated.

“We reviewed the pregame inspection process over the first 17 games of the preseason, and would like to ask if the game balls could be brought to the officials’ locker room no later than two hours and 30 minutes prior to kickoff. This will allow the crews ample time to inspect, gauge, and log before they have to move on to other duties. We appreciate your assistance with this. Please let me know if you have any questions,” Blandino wrote to the equipment managers.

One obvious question is why the NFL didn’t handle this months ago. The league now has only three weeks to figure out its new football-preparation procedures before the season starts.