Football Physics and the Science of Deflate-gate

One of the cool things about working at Union is that the Communications office gets media requests looking for people to comment on current events, which sometimes get forwarded to me. Yesterday was one of those days, with a request for a scientist to comment on the bizarre sports scandal surrounding the deflated footballs used in the AFC Championship game this past weekend. Which led to me doing an experiment, and writing a short article for The Conversation:

News reports say that 11 of the 12 game balls used by the New England Patriots in their AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts were deflated, showing about 2 pounds per square inch (psi) less pressure than the 13 psi required by the rules, so it seems that the most bizarre sports scandal of recent memory is real. But there are still plenty of questions: why would a team deflate footballs? Could there be another explanation? And most importantly, what does physics tell us about all this?

I'll probably extend this tomorrow with a post here containing more math and data and graphs, but I'm pretty happy with the way this came out, so go over there and read the whole thing.

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