Besides being the opposite of shocked to see that Deflategate remains a conversation in the year 2023, it's a bit less surprising to see another underinflated football scandal break out this season, with the NFL being the ones responsible for it.
Unfortunately, the situation (once again) occurred during a Patriots game, but this time, they are not being blamed or scapegoated as the culprits for the league infraction.
Despite this being an instant blockbuster story back in 2014, this time, it's severely under the radar, likely because it's looking like a mistake made by the officials and not by a team that Roger Goodell wants to punish for accomplishing too much over a long period.
However, local reporters have jumped on the story led by MassLive's Mark Daniels, who published an article revealing the details that have led to the latest controversy.
Other than being upset about adding another loss to the season, reporters stated that special teams players were more noticeably bothered about the game than anyone else. Upon questioning, sources said the kicking footballs were underinflated by around two PSI in the first half of the game. The legal limit for a football's inflation in the NFL is 13.5 PSI, and these kicking footballs measured at 11.
Both teams had noticed it early on in the game, especially after kickers Harrison Butker and Chad Ryland each missed field goals in the first quarter. New England later felt their suspicions were further proven accurate when Butker's opening kickoff landed at the 3-yard line when almost every one of his kicks this season has resulted in a touchback.
Both teams brought the issue to the attention of the officials, who confirmed they were underinflated during halftime and brought them to their legal PSI for the remainder of the game.
"They were all sitting around at 11 PSI. The threshold is usually 13.5. (The Patriots) told the refs they were a little under inflated or they felt that way. At halftime, they confirmed and obviously put air in them."
Because of the error, the officials' pregame handling of the footballs comes into question once again, as they are the only ones allowed to touch them before the start of the game. They are supposed to take every football provided and weigh them "no later than two hours and 15 minutes before the start of the game," yet something was off leading up to the Week 15 matchup.
That's what has become the most confusing part of the entire situation, as according to a source who spoke to Daniels, they don't believe the footballs were leaking air, so there's no understanding of what possibly could have been missed in the pregame process.
And it appears the NFL are not prepared to make any sort of statement on the matter, as many media outlets have indicated they reached out to league sources and are yet to hear back. Hopefully, they will respond in some manner and take responsibility for the flub rather than allow speculation to continue, especially since it involves the Patriots.
But fortunately, team reporters are already ensuring to be ahead of any possible allegation made against the team, as noted here by The Sports Hub's Alex Barth.
Ensuring this bit of information is out there for the public to see is critical with this type of situation unfolding and happens to involve the Patriots. It may not matter in the long run since the NFL didn't care the first time.
But they certainly can't claim the ideal gas law this time around. If they do, it's an admittance of a gigantic mistake by the league when punishing New England and Tom Brady for the original Deflategate scandal.
How they go about explaining this will be incredibly entertaining and should hold every Patriots fan's attention because of the hypocrisy that may be revealed in short order.