NFL quickly dismisses deflate-gate controversy with Steelers football

Shalise Manza Young
Yahoo Sports Columnist

The NFL investigated – and very quickly dismissed – whether the Pittsburgh Steelers used a deflated football in their preseason game with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night.

Howard Eskin of sports radio station WIP, who serves as a sideline reporter for the Eagles’ radio broadcasts, tweeted after the game that “at least one” Pittsburgh football was found to be deflated and the league would investigate.

That was at 10:26 p.m. ET.

‘It was like a marshmallow’

Eskin’s tweet said, “During #Eagles #steelers pre season game (there) was at least one Pittsburgh football found that was VERY deflated. The #NFL has the Football and is investigating. I saw the FB after incompletion and it was like a marshmallow.”

The NFL quickly investigated a deflated football in Thursday’s Steelers-Eagles preseason game, saying the ball in question was defective. (AP)

He later followed up that it was found in the third quarter, with rookie Mason Rudolph at quarterback for the Steelers.

Eskin appeared on WIP on Friday morning to give a little more detail to what he saw.

“I was 3 yards away from it,” Eskin said of the deflated football, which had landed out of bounds. “So the ballboy comes over, picks up the football, and he squeezes. I looked like he was squeezing a marshmallow. It was so deflated. This was more than a little deflated. The next thing I knew, the NFL was checking the football.”

League moved on

Less than 12 hours later, the NFL sent a memo to reporters at the league owned network that basically said, “nothing to see here.”

“All footballs were in compliance (with) NFL rules following the pregame inspection process and all proper procedures were followed,” read a tweet from Mike Garafolo and credited to NFL vice president of football communications Michael Signora.

“In the third quarter, a football that was found to be defective was removed from play and will be sent back to [manufacturer] Wilson for review.”

Steelers suspected in 2016

This isn’t the first time the Steelers have had the pressure of their footballs questioned. In 2016, the New York Giants alerted the league that two of Pittsburgh’s footballs were under the league-minimum 12.5 PSI measurement during a Week 13 game.

The Giants had recovered two turnovers and measured the balls on their sideline; they came up at 11.4 PSI and 11.8.

The NFL moved on quickly in that case as well.

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