American Football: Super Bowl game balls will be under tight security

January 30, 2015 3:27 pm
You can place bets on any number of
unlikely potential occurrences during Sunday’s Super Bowl, but there’s
one absolute lock going into the game – no team employee will be allowed
to take a bag of footballs into a restroom for 90 seconds this time
around.

As Deflate-gate continues to grip the national
consciousness, the security around the footballs the New England
Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks will use during the game figures to be
tighter than ever.
NFL vice president of officiating Dean
Blandino acknowledged as much in a Thursday press conference, though he
was vague about specific measures that might be taken.
“There will be some added security just because of the environment that we’re in for this game,” he said.
In
regular-season and playoff games heading up to the Super Bowl, each
team prepares 12 footballs to be used during play and gives them to game
officials for inspection two hours and 15 minutes before kickoff.
Many
more footballs are used during the Super Bowl, with balls taken out of
play quickly so they can be auctioned off for charity and other uses.
With that in mind, each team will submit 54 footballs on Friday to an
NFL team led by Chicago Bears equipment manager Tony Medlin – ensuring a
much more secure chain of custody than in previous games.
“We
have them in our control, and then they’re brought to the officials’
locker room three hours before kickoff Sunday,” Blandino said. “We
inspect them, we gauge them and then basically approve or disapprove of
the football.”
Blandino demurred when asked if there will half-time inflation checks of the footballs Sunday.
“We’ll plan accordingly,” he said, “and if a situation comes up, we’ll adjust.”

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