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Random PSI checks apparently are more about “the rules” than science

It started as a press conference. It ended like a Cartman dream sequence. Sort of.

The final topic for Commissioner Roger Goodell during his end-of-ownership-meeting media Q&A focused on the NFL’s new practice of randomly checking football air pressure at halftime of games this year. Some thought the NFL is doing it in order to better understand the science of PSI. Instead, it’s all about the rules.

“I think the most important thing we’re trying to ascertain is that the balls in play are within the regulations that were established,” Goodell said. “That’s the core of the issue: Protecting the integrity of the game and making sure the game is played within the rules. We’re a game of rules, the rules need to be followed by everyone and the objective there is to make sure the rules are being followed.”

So will the information randomly collected by the NFL during these random checks be shared with the public?

“I don’t know,” Goodell said. “The most important thing to us is making sure the rules are followed.”

He’s right, but it’s also important to know whether any perceived deviations from the rules are the result of cheating or science. The possibility of the operation of the Ideal Gas Law never entered into the NFL’s thinking when the Patriots’ footballs were being measured at halftime of the AFC title game.

Now, instead of worrying about the rules, the NFL should be using every game as an opportunity to gather data regarding the expansion and contraction of air pressure under various weather conditions.

Or maybe they’ll just assume if the footballs aren’t within 12.5 and 13.5 PSI that there has been another violation of the rules.