Computer Simulations Show Patriots Footballs Provide A Negligible Advantage
Jake ODonnell 10:02 am, January 30th, 2015
Now that we're all kinda/sorta over the whole Deflate-gate thing, let's put the final nail in the coffin with some cold, hard science debunking any notions that a football deflated to 10.5 psi -- two psi less than the league minimum -- gave Tom Brady or the Patriots running game any distinct advantage.
Popular Science paired up with computer simulation specialists, ANSYS, to see how a particular grip would be affected by decreased air pressure inside the ball. The conclusion, long story short, was that it doesn't matter enough to affect the outcome of a football game. Though not rock solid, because a minimal decrease in pressure can be the difference between a smaller hand holding a football firmly and not, the takeaway was that "the onus is on the quarterback to make sure the ball flies right." Given Tom Brady's similarly stellar performance in the latter half of the AFC Championship, when the balls were re-inflated to legal levels, it can be safely assumed that a football at 10.5 psi has almost no tangible impact on catching, holding or throwing.
Here's what it looks like through the eyes of a science-laboratory computer-machine.
The subsequent deformation of the surface of a football inflated at 12.5 pounds per square inch:
The subsequent deformation of the surface of a football inflated at 10.5 pounds per square inch
See, no difference. “Based on this simulation," the experiment's chief nerd said. "It really doesn’t give the Patriots much of an advantage. The gripping ability of the quarterback is going to be roughly the same.”