When the deflategate scandal first broke, Patriots coach Bill Belichick argued that the 2 PSI drop in air pressure was the result of change in temperature and other climatic conditions. The first PSI reading was taken indoors, where it was warm, while the second one was taken after the balls had been outside in the cold wet New England winter.
However, a lot of people dismissed Belichick’s theory when Neil DeGrass Tyson said he was wrong. Because when it comes to science, who you gonna believe, a football coach or a world-famous astrophysicist?
For the Patriots to blame a change in temperature for 15% lower-pressures, requires balls to be inflated with 125-degree air.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) January 26, 2015
Of course, it turned out that Neil DeGrasse Tyson was wrong. And he admitted it. The balls didn’t have to be 125º for there to be a 2 PSI drop in air pressure. They had to be 90º. And that’s only under theoretical conditions. Under real life conditions, the variance could be even greater—which is why nobody should have denounced Belichick’s theory without performing actual experiments.
What happens when you do test Belichick’s theory with actual experiments? That theory is shown to be true.
Last January, an athletic testing lab in Pittsburgh called HeadSmart Labs conducted independent tests. They inflated balls to 12.5 PSI in a 75º setting, then moved them to a 50º setting and got them wet. When they took the pressure readings again, they were down 1.8 PSI, which was about the average level of deflation measured in the 2015 AFC Championship Game ball.
Now even elementary school kids are conducting deflategate experiments. This week, a 12-year-old kid from Lynn, Massachusetts, won his school science fair with an experiment he says proves Belichick is right.
The kid’s name? Are you ready for this? Ben Goodell. Obviously no relation to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Just an awesome coincidence.
Anyway, Ben Goodell won the St. Puis V science fair with an experiment very similar to the one performed by HeadSmart. He started with a “properly inflated” football, exposed it to different weather conditions, then checked the pressure again.
“Every time, it dropped 2 PSI,” Goodell said. “The lowest PSI recorded during deflategate was 2 PSI under proper inflation.”
Does this “prove that Tom Brady wasn’t guilty,” as little Ben Goodell says it does? Not exactly. But it is pretty hilarious that a 12-year-old can make more sense than a team of NFL investigators and a world-renowned astrophysicist.