Two weeks ago, Pro Football Talk reported that the NFL could release a summary of the PSI numbers collected during the 2015 NFL season. Naturally, the hope in New England was that the data would once and for all show the league office that footballs can in fact deflate due to atmospheric conditions.
Alas, we are talking about the NFL; masters of spinning the narrative to put themselves in the best possible light while simultaneously throwing mud at the league's most successful franchise.
Today, the leader of the self-promoting propaganda machine known as the NFL front office once again proved this. Commissioner Roger Goodell was a guest on Rich Eisen's podcast and was asked about the NFL's pressure testing process throughout the 2015 season. In true Goodell-form, the commissioner answered the following (via Mark Daniels):
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. 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.
Ah, the integrity of the game. Often mentioned, yet as vague a term as there could possibly be – especially considering that it basically has more to do with the integrity of the league office, its "independent" investigation and trying to paint the Patriots in a bad light, than it has to do with the actual game of football.
Goodell's latest comments again illustrate this – just like the league's constant willingness to change the narrative. In August 2015, the league announced that it would randomly collect footballs at halftime to measure and record pressure data. Yet, according to Goodell, this was not done in the name of research but just to make sure every team knows that thou shalt not mess with the rules.
What does it mean? That the league potentially has the data – at least if it acutally did what it said it would do back in August – but does not think it is important. After all, the measurements were only "spot checks" and no actual scientific research project to show the influence of natural conditions on ball pressure.
As Goodell said, there were no violations which more probably than not means two things: a) the league finally recognizes that a football's air pressure level drops when exposed to a non-regulated environment (otherwise, there would have been violations, courtesy of the Ideal Gas Law), and b) the league still does not think that this exonerates the Patriots, despite scientific evidence showing it does.
Once again, the NFL's story spinning machine is running at full force.