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What Is Ballghazi? A Primer For Non-Sports Fans

The NFL’s not great year continues to be not great, as it’s getting rocked by a new scandal. No, this one doesn’t have to do with gross abuse of women as much as it has to do with football itself—like, the actual ball. When the New England Patriots really and thoroughly thumped the Indianapolis Colts in a 45-7 blowout, it seems they had a little help from under-inflated footballs. According to ESPN, 11 of the Patriots’ 12 game balls were inflated two pounds per square inch under the League requirements, making them easier to throw and catch in inclement weather (who knew?). The NFL claims to be “disappointed …angry …distraught,” but probably not particularly surprised, because scandals are becoming as much a part of the game as cheerleaders and instant replays.

Does it matter? Barely. Several quarterbacks have admitted that doctoring footballs is to them what sneaking candy bars into a movie theater is to you, and the Colts are being treated like the kid who snitches to the teacher and ruins the fun for everyone. In any case, it’s not totally clear how the under-inflated footballs even got on the field, since officials are supposed to inspect every ball hours before the game. Moreover, a few squishy footballs are hardly the biggest problem on the NFL’s plate right now …

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