How the NFL Can Solve Deflate Gate in 30 Seconds — And Why the NFL Should Address Data Privacy

by Colette Shotton on January 30, 2015

Media is abuzz reporting on the NFL’s deflated football scandal – and when it comes to deflate-gate scandals, the NFL is not alone. Harkening back to 2012, JJ Stankevitz reminded us of a similar allegation leveled against USC by Oregon 1.

Rather than offering complicated solutions to prevent future ball pressure scandals, like suggesting these two premiere sports organizations split the cost of a Medium to channel Archimedes – there is actually a practical solution. After each score, check the pounds per square inch (PSI), also known as the ball pressure – it takes about 30 seconds 2.

Measuring equipment pre-game as well as after a score isn’t a new concept. The NCAA, for example, already requires both forms of checks in Women’s Lacrosse. As soon as an official whistles the goal, the scoring player is required to immediately drop her stick or hand it to the official. The official takes about 30 seconds to examine the crosse and confirm the strings meet NCAA depth regulations 3. If the crosse fails, no score.

After taking a look at how NFL officials check ball PSI, pre-game 4, it’s about as low tech as checking the crosse in Women’s Lacrosse after a score. There’s a gauge listed on, the Tachikara GAUGE Ball Pressure Gauge, retailing for about $15.99. The Tachikara gauge looks a lot like the one the NFL officials used in a YouTube video from a 2013 interview by Peter King 5.

Maybe the NFL should investigate higher tech options to track PSI in real-time. About six months ago, the League announced the deployment of Zebra Technologies’ analytics technology. A radio-frequency identification (RFID) transmitter is placed inside the shoulder pads of each player to capture his position, speed and distance during the game – in real-time. These transmitters communicate with receivers, pre-installed and positioned throughout a stadium. Each player’s data is collected, registered and analyzed 6. With technology designed to capture and analyze the movements of 22 men on the field, tracking ball pressure shouldn’t tax the imagination.

Back to that player data analyzed using the Zebra technology. Who owns the outputted data? Who has access to the analyzed? Is it shared with owners, GMs and coaches? Could these analytics factor into a player’s salary during contract renewal negotiations? The NFL’s press release was vague, at best, on the use of this valuable data, aside from stating: “This data can then be outputted to generate new experiences built around this additional data. 7”

Solving ball deflation scandals suddenly got a lot less interesting.

1. About College Football:
2, 4, 5. How Officials Check Game Ball Pressure:
3. NCAA 2014-2015 Women’s Lacrosse Rules and Interpretations:
6. and 7. NFL Press Releases:

Colette Shotton

Colette Shotton

Principal & Managing Attorney at Transactions Counsel 360
colette shotton is a transactional attorney based in washington, dc. she handles technology, intellectual property, software and business deals and data privacy issues. colette is principal and managing attorney at transactions counsel 360.
Colette Shotton

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