ABC7 Sports anchor explains advantage of deflated footballs

CUPERTINO, Calif. (KGO) -- ABC7 Sports anchor and former 49ers receiver Mike Shumann, who played eight years of pro football and played in Super Bowl XVI, weighs in on this controversy.

Is there really an advantage in having a deflated football?
Shumann says: The argument can go both ways. Game day footballs are brand new, hard as rocks and slick. A football with a normal amount of pressure is tough to grip, especially if you have smaller hands.

If you add cold conditions, like rain or snow, yes it would be an advantage if there was less pressure in the ball, as a quarterback or could grip the ball at the top a lot easier. That way you couldn't cause a fumble, the ball travels a lot easier, and it's easier for wide receivers to catch it.

READ MORE: How easy is it to deflate a football?


Sports anchor and producer Colin Resch and I had the chance to throw a deflated ball around and I'd say yes, the team's ball with less pressure is easier to throw and catch. While on the other hand, fumbles can be created with a ball that is harder, due to grip pressure.

But once the game begins, and you don't know the pressure has been altered, as a wide receiver, you catch anything thrown your way.



Is this a new trend in the NFL or has this sort of thing always been going on?
Shumann says: I have to imagine this has been going on since Day 1 of the NFL. Equipment managers I've talked with said you can deflate a ball in two seconds and after officials check them, it has never been an issue. Most wide receivers wear gloves now due to the fact the balls are so rigid, add velocity like on a Colin Kaepernick throw, and it is tough to catch.

So is it cheating?
Shumann says: The issue here is integrity. Belichick claims he had no idea and if so, then does it comes down to Brady asking to deflate the footballs? A former Oakland Raider once said if you aren't cheating you aren't trying hard enough. Regardless, there is a gage from 11.5 to 13.5 pounds per square inch you have to adhere to.

Could the NFL reverse the outcome of Sunday's game?
Shumann says: No, but if coach Belichick did in fact know, with his background of cheating, this could warrant a suspension next year because a fine does nothing to these franchises. A loss of a draft choice could also be a deterrent, but for now, it's something to talk about in the dead week of the Super Bowl. With the patriots beating the Colts 45-7, I don't think it made a difference in this particular game.

Maybe a rule change is in order to keep officials in charge of the footballs throughout the entire game and don't turn it back over to the team.
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