Rest easy, people of America. Our long, national nightmare is over.
The scourge that was the underinflation of footballs, which had eaten away at the very foundations of our society and threatened to send us into a death spiral of anarchy and lawlessness, has been eradicated at last. NFL executive vice president of football operations and handing out ridiculous punishments Troy Vincent has seen to that.
Vincent has released to an anxious world the guidelines by which footballs will be handled in the 2015 season and beyond. And as you can well imagine, they are magnificent. Here are just some of the highlights:
Two hours and 15 minutes prior to kickoff, both teams will be required to bring 24 footballs (12 primary and 12 back-up) to the Officials’ Locker Room for inspection. Two Game Officials, designated by the Referee, will conduct the inspection and record the PSI measurement of each football. The League’s Security Representative will observe the inspection process. Primary game balls for each team will be numbered one through 12, and any game ball within the allowable range of 12.5 PSI to 13.5 PSI will be approved, and the PSI level will not be altered. …
Once the game balls are approved by the Referee, the K-Ball Coordinator (KBC) will take custody of and remain responsible for the security of the game balls and back-up balls for each club. They will remain in the custody of the KBC until 10 minutes prior to kickoff. …
At designated games, selected at random, the game balls used in the first half will be collected by the KBC at halftime, and the League’s Security Representative will escort the KBC with the footballs to the Officials’ Locker room. During halftime, each game ball for both teams will be inspected in the locker room by designated members of the officiating and security crews. …
All gauges will be certified prior to each season by Wilson Sporting Goods. Each Referee will be provided with a primary and backup gauge. NFL Football Operations will maintain a backup supply as well. The same gauge will be used for pregame, halftime, and postgame testing.
Bravo, Troy Vincent. A hearty “well done” for your iron-willed leadership on this. These rules and regulations are such an upgrade from the guidelines you had in place for the 2014 season:
Prior to the game, in violation of rules set forth in the game operations manual, the officials’ locker room will be filled with league personnel all in there watching the end of the earlier game on TV. The referee will have the duty of inspecting the footballs but not required to jot down the PSI because that’s too much work. The NFL will take his word for it that they all conformed, unless of course his memory is inconsistent with the fact the Patriots cheated, in which case we’ll determine that his otherwise flawless memory was, in this one instance, dead wrong.
The inspected footballs will then be carried to the field in a bag in full view of a dozen or so NFL executives by a per diem employee who’s real name nobody knows but who answers to “Bird” or “Dorito Dink.”
The K-ball will be placed in the sole possession of a league employee who steals them before they can be auctioned off to help underprivileged kids so that he can sell them on Ebay.
When it suits the purposes of the Colts (in collusion with the Ravens), officials from the league office will swoop down on the Patriots sideline, confiscate the footballs and test the PSI using random, haphazard and uncoordinated methods and in complete ignorance of standard middle school physics. An official will then be permitted to tell a low-level equipment man “We weighed footballs. You are in big f***ing trouble.”
All footballs will be measured with $5 Walmart bicycle aisle pressure gauges that register different readings. A set of utterly fictitious numbers will be leaked to a willing media hack, setting off a national excrement storm. A league-appointed investigator will then conduct a witch hunt in which he will use the numbers from whichever gauge makes the case the Patriots cheated, and ignoring the other one.
Of course I could point out that since Vincent decided these guidelines had to be established now, that it would discredit the entire way the league did things before and invalidate this preposterous phony non-scandal. But I won’t. Rules is rules. Even the ones you only enforce retroactively in order to screw over the Patriots.
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