Outrageous Experiments

Myth Database – Deflategate

posted: 01/14/17
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Watch a clip of the Deflategate Myth and Scroll Down for the Breakdown!

MYTH: Under-inflating a football makes it easier to grip and throw, and in cold conditions, it inhibits fumbling.


To help out with "deflategate," as the myth is popularly known, the producers turned to Steve Calhoun, a quarterback coaching guru with more than 34 years of professional experience.

To test whether a deflated ball is easier to catch, Steve used a throwing machine to fire 20 balls (10 inflated to NFL standards and 10 deflated) in a randomized and blind sequence at each of the 10 contestants. Though all received coaching from Steve on how to catch a football, individual performance was less important than cumulative stats. The resulting data set would be a sizable 200 catches or attempted catches -- more than enough data to draw a conclusion.

As a whole, the group fumbled or missed 41 of the footballs. Eighteen of those balls were inflated and 23 were deflated, showing that there's no advantage to catching a deflated football.

But is there a competitive advantage to THROWING a deflated ball? Nope. Steve was able to throw 24 regularly inflated and 25 deflated footballs through a target, which means effectively there's no difference there either.

Deflategate was therefore declared busted.

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