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Goodell: NFL won't review, analyze ball-deflation data

SAN FRANCISCO — The NFL had a season’s worth of opportunities to collect scientific data and compare it to the findings from last year’s Deflategate PSI measurements.

By doing so, regardless of the outcome of the PSI measurements in 2015, the NFL could have proven the follow-up to its investigation should be construed as fair and unbiased.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday he decided against such a plan. The league randomly tested PSI levels at various games this season and also required its officials to inspect each football’s air pressure and log the data, but Goodell didn’t want to study the information.

“What the league did this year was what we do with a lot of rules and policies designed to protect the integrity of the game, and that’s to create a deterrent effect,” Goodell said on Fox Sports’ “Rich Eisen Show.” “We do spot checks to prevent and make sure the clubs understand that we’re watching these issues. It wasn’t a research study. They simply were spot checks. There were no violations this year. We’re pleased that we haven’t had any violations, and we continue the work, obviously, to consistently and importantly enforce the integrity of the game and the rules that are designed to protect it.”

The NFL accused the Patriots of intentionally deflating footballs during last year’s AFC Championship Game victory against the Colts and spent millions of dollars on Ted Wells’ investigation into the matter. It’s been easy for outsiders to attack the credibility of that investigation, as well as Goodell’s subsequent letter that banished Tom Brady for four games.

Brady won his appeal to overturn the suspension in court, but the NFL’s appeal of that decision will be heard next month. The Patriots were also docked a first-round draft pick and fined $1 million.

The Patriots have argued the science behind the ideal gas law would prove their innocence, as the pressure of the footballs would have fallen under natural circumstances. And with the tools to confirm or dispute that claim, which would have validated the integrity of the investigation, the NFL instead chose to punt.

“I have great admiration for Tom,” Goodell said. “I know him personally. Obviously I respect his playing ability. He’s an extraordinary player, a sure Hall of Famer, and I have nothing but admiration for him. But I have to make sure that we continue to do the things that are necessary to protect the integrity of the game, and I will do that without compromise.”


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