Deflated Footballs: Mother Nature Didn’t Do It


Unless you are Rip van Winkle, you are well aware that the footballs in the game in New England were underinflated. There is talk that the weather is to blame. If you run the numbers, the equation looks like this:

To do the calculation, let’s assume that the pressure before the game is 13 psi (P1), that the temperature of the locker room is 70 degrees Fahrenheit (T1), and that the game was played on an unseasonably warm January day at 49 degrees Fahrenheit (T2). Then, the trick is to solve for the pressure of the ball when on the field (P2).

So does this drop in temperature account for the missing two pounds of pressure?

After some mathematical wrangling, the answer is no. This temperature difference between the locker room and the temperature of the field does not account for the change. You get a value of 12.5 psi, which is within the limits for the football pressure of 12.5 and 13.5 psi as set by NFL Rule 2 Section 1. (Note about the math: You can’t just plug in these numbers directly, they need to be converted to Newton/meter2 and Kelvin and then converted back to units —> Read More Here


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