By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Last year around this time, the NFL was in the midst of launching an intense campaign to condemn the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady because the footballs during halftime of the AFC Championship Game were measured to be below the league's limit of 12.5 PSI.
As part of the net effect of the saga known as "DeflateGate," the league decided to "randomly" test footballs at halftime throughout the season. This was a tacit admission from the NFL that the league never once considered atmospheric conditions as a reason for the drop in air pressure inside footballs. That was an actual admission from the NFL during Brady's appeal hearing, too.
The thought -- at least in New England, where people actually care about these things -- was that the NFL would find in their studies that footballs inflated in a warm room and then brought out to a cold field would indeed show a drop in PSI when measured at halftime. And in fact, when news broke that the NFL might be releasing some PSI data, the idea was that science would win the day.
But according to comments made by Roger Goodell on Tuesday, that simply won't be happening.
The NFL commissioner joined the Rich Eisen Show, and he was asked about the testing done this year.
"What the league did this year was what we do with a lot of rules and policies designed to protect the integrity of the game, and that's to create a deterrent effect," Goodell told Eisen. "We do spot checks to prevent and make sure the clubs understand that we're watching these issues. It wasn't a research study. They simply were spot checks. There were no violations this year. We're pleased that we haven't had any violations and we continue the work, obviously, to consistently and importantly enforce the integrity of the game and the rules that are designed to protect it."
What Goodell is saying here is that all of the work of scientists and physicists who are familiar with a very basic principle known as the Ideal Gas Law? These people are all making it up, because there were "no violations" found this year.
For the record, when the NFL announced these new "random" checks of footballs, the league noted that measurements would be taken at halftime and after the game, and that all measurements would be recorded in the referee's report. The announcement said nothing of "spot checks," and the clear language of measurements being recorded and submitted to the league indicated that the league would be in possession of all of this data. Yet the commissioner said it was not a research study, and there's no interesting data for the world to see.
Goodell, who relentlessly pursued punishment for Tom Brady and eventually lied about Brady's testimony at his appeal hearing, then said this to Eisen when asked if he's been in contact with the Patriots' quarterback:
"I have great admiration for Tom. I know him personally. Obviously I respect his playing ability – he's an extraordinary player – a sure Hall of Famer and I have nothing but admiration for him. But I have to make sure that we continue to do the things that are necessary to protect the integrity of the game and I will do that without compromise."
It's remarkable, truly, for Goodell to still bang the "integrity of the game" drum after he and his entire operation have been exposed for running a bloodthirsty crusade that ignored facts in an effort to advance a "scandal." But don't expect to hear too much of that this week in San Francisco, and don't expect to ever see the results of those "spot checks."
The NFL always has a way of finding what it wants to find and curiously overlooking anything it might not want to discover.
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