No one is surprised by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell lying about the league's findings during the random halftime inspections throughout the season. With the league still mired in the court systems (there will be another meeting in March!), any sort of admittance that the football pressure data could vindicate New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is completely out of the question.
Goodell and the NFL have leaked false information for the past year to try and paint Brady and the Patriots in a negative light, and they're hoping that general fatigue of the story will ultimately prevail (it will). Goodell is finally attaching his name to the misinformation, so at least that's a step forward.
"We're pleased that we haven't had any violations," Goodell said in a statement via the NFL Network's Rich Eisen. "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."
The integrity of the game is important and that's why all of these false statements have done more to perpetuate distrust in the league than anything the Patriots have done or not done. There's a reason why there was a universal scoff when Pro Football Talk noted that there would be an update summary from the league before the Super Bowl. No one trusts the league anymore.
There's no point in rehashing all of the evidence that supports the Patriots because it's not going to help (see? that's the general fatigue). On one side you have every single reputable scientist in the world trying to explain that the Patriots didn't do anything wrong.
On the other you have Goodell and paid corporate "scientists" that are hired to prove whatever their employer desires, whether it's tobacco companies trying to disprove the connection of smoking and cancer, oil companies trying to justify dumping oil waste in the rain forest, or the NFL trying to disprove the laws of physics.
But let's present some facts.
2) It's literally impossible for footballs to remain within the 12.5-13.5 PSI range under those conditions, with the expectation that the footballs would reach the near-single digits of pressure.
So either the league is admitting that temperatures can affect the football pressures, and that the Vikings and Seahawks footballs were within the expected range below the allowed the limit, or the league is saying that the laws of physics don't apply.
The league's decision to swap out the Vikings and Seahawks footballs at halftime due to concerns "about footballs going under 12 PSI" points to the former.
And if the league is admitting that the ideal gas law is a thing, then that tacitly clears the Patriots of any wrongdoing.
But if that's not enough, here's a list of the 43 games from the 2015 that definitely should have raised red flags with regards to ball pressure (kick off temperatures via Pro Football Reference):
Over 90 degrees at kick off
Below 45 degrees at kick off in October
Below 45 degrees at kick off in November
Packers at Vikings, 30 degrees.
Broncos at Bears, 29 degrees.
Bills at Patriots, 29 degrees.
Bears at Packers, 39 degrees.
Dolphins at Jets, 45 degrees.
Rams at Bengals, 41 degrees.
Steelers at Seahawks, 38 degrees.
Bills at Chiefs, 35 degrees.
Patriots at Broncos, 23 degrees.
Ravens at Browns, 45 degrees.
Below 45 degrees at kick off in December
Bengals at Browns, 45 degrees.
Seahawks at Vikings, 37 degrees.
Colts at Steelers, 37 degrees.
Cowboys at Washington, 41 degrees.
Raiders at Broncos, 45 degrees.
Bills at Washington, 43 degrees.
Panthers at Giants, 41 degrees.
Broncos at Steelers, 41 degrees.
Chiefs at Ravens, 41 degrees.
Titans at Patriots, 40 degrees.
Cardinals at Eagles, 37 degrees.
Bears at Vikings, 36 degrees.
Cowboys at Bills, 39 degrees.
Rams at Seahawks, 37 degrees.
Browns at Chiefs, 36 degrees.
Giants at Vikings, 13 degrees.
Bengals at Broncos, 16 degrees.
Below 45 degrees at kick off in January
Eagles at Giants, 45 degrees.
Raiders at Chiefs, 37 degrees.
Jets at Bills, 35 degrees.
Ravens at Bengals, 35 degrees.
Steelers at Browns, 34 degrees.
Lions at Bears, 31 degrees.
Vikings at Packers, 24 degrees.
Seahawks at Vikings, -6 degrees.
Chiefs at Patriots, 38 degrees.
Seahawks at Panthers, 43 degrees.
Steelers at Broncos, 43 degrees.
Cardinals at Panthers, 39 degrees.
And, yes, that's a definite red flag because the temperatures noted are 1) taken prior to the game, so some other games likely dropped into red flag territory; 2) with regards to maximum difference, so the temperatures below 45 degrees are measured against a football at 13.5 PSI, while the temperature above 90 degrees is measured against a football at 12.5 PSI. A 12.5 PSI football would be below the limit if it were just 60 degrees outside.
So if the NFL is claiming that there were no violations after every one of the above games should have raised the same red flag as the Patriots' footballs in the AFC Championship Game, then they are now believers in the ideal gas law.
The Patriots have been railroaded at every step of the process and the widespread distrust in the league is much deserved. Everyone knows it and the fatigue will soon be too much overcome as we all sit down on the couch to watch another Super Bowl.
Make sure you wipe the integrity of the game off your shoes before you come inside.