On Monday, July 20th, the referee website Football Zebras noted that officials had not been made aware of any changes to the football protocols. The news was understandably met with outrage. The obvious implication was that the league didn't understand that they were at fault for their mishandling of the footballs and their measurements. If everyone could agree on one aspect of the DeflateGate nonsense, it's that the officials didn't do their job.
Surprise, surprise, in the wake of that public reaction, the NFL has notified officials this weekend that there will now be changes to how footballs are protected and measured over the course of a game. The league has also made a special point to not change any verbiage that could implicate their lack of understanding of football pressures.
Footballs will now be measured, numbered, and recorded by two officials and will be inflated to 13.0 PSI if the balls presented are outside of the 12.5-13.5 PSI range. The league will also randomly select games to measure footballs at halftime.
The report, from Fox's Mike Pereira, avoids mentioning what will be the response to natural changes in pressure due to outdoor temperatures. If the league had made any change to address that point, Tom Brady and his lawyers would be able to use that change to show that the league was pulling everything out of their behinds during this process.
A possible implication of this protocol change is that the league trying to obtain more information surrounding football pressures before issuing a decision on Brady. The absolute worst possible scenario for the league would be to suspend Brady and penalize the Patriots, only to find out that the footballs acted exactly as they were supposed to.
Perhaps this is the first domino in the line of commissioner Roger Goodell delaying a penalty decision until after the 2015 season so the NFL can make a more informed decision. Should the Patriots be found in the wrong, then the league can still dock the Patriots of their draft picks, and Brady can be suspended for time in 2016. If the Patriots are found in the right (as all of the current information supports), then no one will be unnecessarily penalized.