Bill Belichick and the Patriots may have to look for some new explanations as to why many of their game balls were deflated during New England's AFC championship matchup with the Indianapolis Colts. Because according to a few celebrity scientists, the explanations offered by Belichick in a press conference Saturday were bogus.
The beleaguered Patriots coach called an impromptu press conference to reveal the findings of his internal investigation. He bombarded reporters with scientific explanations about "atmospheric pressure" and "equilibrium state," and some in the press even labeled him "Bill Belichick the Science Guy" afterwards.
Well, the real "Science Guy" was asked for his opinion, and he wasn't too impressed with what Belichick had to say.
Bill Nye, who is sometimes known as Bill Nye The Science Guy, went on Good Morning America Sunday to discuss Belichick's claims that rubbing the footballs may have reduced the air pressure.
Here's what Belichick said Saturday:
“Now, we all know that air pressure is a function of the atmospheric conditions. If there is activity in the ball relative to the rubbing process I think that explains why when we gave them to the officials and the officials put them at let’s say 12.5 ... once the ball reached its equilibrium state it’s probably closer to 11.5.”
When he talks about the "rubbing process," Belichick is referring to players rubbing the balls to change their feel. This is a somewhat common practice among football players and it is employed more often in cold conditions. Nye, however, claims that rubbing the balls would not have drastically reduced their air pressure.
"What [Belichick] said didn’t make any sense," Nye says at the 1:50 mark of the video below. "Rubbing the football I don’t think you can change the pressure. To really change the pressure you need one of these, the inflation needle.”
Nye isn't completely unbiased, however, as he has lived in Seattle and admitted that he is rooting for the Seahawks in Sunday's Super Bowl.
As for Belichick's other claim, that "atmospheric conditions" (cold weather) contributed to the deflated footballs, physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson had some doubts about that. The host of the popular radio show "Star Talk" tweeted this message to his more than three million followers:
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
Although one renowned sports physicist is saying the the weather angle is a legitimate factor, the NFL isn't satisfied with Belichick's explanations either. And on Monday a new report indicated that the league is investigating a New England locker room attendant.