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The digital gauge can deflate a football in just seconds.
The digital gauge can deflate a football in just seconds.

The NFL sent a clear message to its teams and players on Monday: Don’t deflate footballs.

The league handed a serious punishment to the New England Patriots following a report released last week which found it was “more probable than not” that the Patriots purposefully took air out of footballs during last season’s playoffs.

Pats quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of next season while New England was fined $1 million and lost a first-round draft pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017.

The league found that Brady was “at least generally aware of the actions of the Patriots’ employees involved in the deflation of the footballs and that it was unlikely that their actions were done without your knowledge.”

Last week’s report revealed that the Patriots’ game balls were all under the minimum PSI (pounds per square inch of pressure) levels at halftime of last season’s AFC Championship. It also notes that the two team employees used a “needle” to deflate the footballs.

GeekWire saw one of these “needles” in action back in February when we visited Baden Sports to learn more about ball pressure and why a quarterback may like a “softer” ball — it allows fingers to depress the leather more easily and allows quarterbacks to throw the ball farther, for example.

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