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Kirsch Kronicles VII - 1/30/2015

Just when we thought it was safe to talk football...

I'd say overall this has been a pretty smooth Super Bowl week through Thursday. No outrageous statements from either team, no off-field incidents, no logistical nightmares in or around Phoenix where most of the NFL activities are taking place. Other than maybe too little sun, there's not much to ask for.

Thursday was the last day of access for both teams. On Friday, both head coaches will be on stage at the NFL Media Center in Phoenix and that will be it. All will go dark until postgame in terms of access.

There was some news generated yesterday. Dean Blandino, the league's VP of Officiating addressed the media and offered some more information about what happened before and at halftime of the AFC Championship as it pertains to the Patriots footballs. "Walt gauged the footballs himself. It's something he has done throughout his career," explained Blandino about how referee Walt Anderson determined the balls were good to go pregame. What Blandino failed to specify and no one asked was DID HE USE A PRESSURE GAUGE? Saying he "gauged the footballs himself" can mean anything. It can mean with an actual gauge or it can mean in any other method he has ever used to judge if a ball is fit for play. For example, we know from a Chicago Bears equipment manager who was interviewed by NBC, gauging footballs by referees often means by eye and feel.

Further muddying the waters of this mess is the revelation by Blandino that Anderson did not log the PSI of each football he "gauged." To me, that's not that big a deal unless this thing goes to a court of law. In the court of Goodell circumstantial evidence might be enough. It also tells me that either this wasn't a sting on the Patriots or that it was a very poorly executed sting. This gets back to whether or not Anderson used a device for psi measurement other than one of his five senses, and, was there a witness to this. We now have hundreds of tests in the wild documenting that the difference between 12.5 psi and, say, 11.5 psi is virtually imperceptible to the human hand. It's possible the balls were never inflated properly to begin with and Blandino approved them. It's possible the balls were inflated to exactly 12.5 psi and that outside forces like how the balls were prepared or atmosphere decreased the psi by halftime.

All of this seems like it should have been sorted out extremely quickly if, in fact, a mechanical pressure gauge was used pregame and someone other than Anderson saw it being used. I don't think it was and I think the leaks coming from league sources have been brinksmanship to scare someone out of the bushes -- or the bathroom -- with a confession who simply has nothing to confess.

Friends and family arrived on the scene today. That always livens things up. They were treated to a reception party at Rawhide, a western themed park in Chandler, Ariz. It was pretty authentic, right down to the mud in the unpaved streets. Wall to wall carpeting would definitely not have held up back then.

Friday is a big league day. Roger Goodell will give us the state of the league address and then take questions from the media. I wonder what they'll ask...

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