Deflating Footballs Possible at High School Level

EVEN A SLIGHT BEND IN THE RULES IS CHEATING  -- In Central's book, deflating footballs or any other rule bending is considered cheating.

EVEN A SLIGHT BEND IN THE RULES IS CHEATING -- In Central's book, deflating footballs or any other rule bending is considered cheating.

Andrew Wilson, Staff Writer

The idea of deflating footballs as an advantage to win was made known to the public during the AFC Championship game on January 18, 2015. Since football was first invented, players and coaches have tried bending the rules to find some sort of advantage without technically cheating. Rules have been added and changed at the college and professional levels because of this, but to this day, rules are still fairly lenient in high school football.

“It can have a huge competitive advantage because a football that’s even a little flat has more grip and also decreases your chances of dropping [it], but a coach would have to be pretty savvy to do that at this level,” stated Ryan Mallory, a former football coach at Central.

In high school, no one gives a lot of thought to whether or not a team is cheating by deflating a football. The referees check the balls before every game, but the process of checking them is not as strict as it is at the college and professional levels.

“I believe that it’s not as much [about] deflating balls, but it wouldn’t be hard to maybe put some helium in it. The helium would still make a football the same weight, but it would make it [easier] to be kicked farther, which is a factor that could win a a game,” expressed Chip Strickland, a former University of Tennessee player and Central football coach.

The discussion of deflating game balls had not come up at Central until the incident with Tom Brady in the AFC Championship. Now that this idea is in the spotlight, Central’s head football coach Gary Bloodsaw denies any act of cheating.

“Even bending the rules slightly is cheating. I believe in playing a fair game, and I would never even consider deflating balls to win,” said Bloodsaw.

Central High School is an institution of tradition and integrity, and cheating is not part of its rich history. With more and more incidents like this coming to light, the school of purple and gold will keep succeeding by playing the right way – by the rules.