Space & Innovation

School Science Project Claims to Debunk Deflategate

A science project by a 12-year-old named Goodell (no relation) claims to prove that weather deflated Tom Brady's footballs -- naturally.

A Massachusetts seventh grader is making waves through his science project that claims to vindicate NFL quarterback, Tom Brady.

The 12-year-old from Lynn, Mass., ironically named Ben Goodell (no relation to the NFL commissioner, Roger), won his seventh grade science fair with an experiment that he says demonstrates how fluctuating weather can naturally deflate a football.

That's right - naturally - without any assistance from equipment personnel.

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For his experiment, the young Goodell took properly pressurized, official NFL footballs and exposed them to various weather conditions, including cold, humidity, snow and ice, for two hours at a time.

After each one of the exposures, his data showed that the footballs' pressure dropped by 2 PSI (pounds per square inch).

"Every single time I did this test the PSI dropped at least 2 PSI. That means it was scientifically proven that Tom Brady didn't deflate the footballs, and it was just the weather conditions," Goodell told WBZ, Boston's local CBS News station.

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Back in May 2015, Tom Brady, the star quarterback of the New England Patriots, was suspended for four games after an investigator concluded that team staff let air out of footballs before a playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts on a cold day in January. The team was also stripped of its 2016 first- and fourth-round draft picks and fined $1 million.

NFL officials inspected the footballs during half-time of that game and found a ball to be two PSI below the required minimum in air pressure.

On Sept. 3, 2015, a judge vacated the four-game suspension of Brady, due to "legal deficiencies." That ruling came after investigations had produced reports numbering hundreds of pages long about the alleged ball tampering.

Young Goodell's science project was eight pages long.

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Goodell admitted he's a big Brady fan and his feelings about the matter are clear, as he told CBS Boston, "I don't think it was fair for them to just say he's a cheater."

Goodell says he hasn't heard from anyone at the NFL.

The Patriots were accused of deflating balls to a squishier level. A 12-year-old says he proved they didn't.

It's only about a week until the big game -- the Super Bowl! But lately all anyone wants to talk about is the one thing without which the game could not happen: the football. And by football we mean, of course, a properly


football. In keeping with the spirit of these troubled deflationary times, we thought it would be fun to check in on a few animals that have air tricks of their own -- in the opposite direction. These critters can puff up when the need arises -- usually when it's time to find a mate. Here we see a pufferfish, which clearly has no trouble maintaining a regulation size.

Puffed-Up Blowfish Aren't Holding Their Breath

Elephant seals will inflate their noses with air during mating displays. Here two male southern elephant seals clash.

Elephant Seal Calls Tell Rivals Who's Boss

The kori bustard, a bird native to Africa, inflates the upper part of its throat and puffs out its neck feathers when it wants to attract a mate.

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Toads, of course, are no slouches in the inflation department.

Cane Toad Personalities Key to Territorial Takeover

The male frigatebird inflates a bright red pouch on its upper throat when it's time to mate.

The walrus comes standard with an air sac beneath its throat that the animal uses as a kind of flotation device.

Ancient 'Killer Walrus' Not So Deadly After All

The male sage grouse puffs up a sac on its chest during spring mating season -- the better to attract the ladies.

Impressive Bird Flying Formations: Photos