This should be the last word on the deflated-football non-scandal in the NFL, written for The Players’ Tribune by Rams defensive end Chris Long:

As an NFL player, watching Deflategate unfold (maybe explode is the better word) has been all the more surreal. I should have all the answers about how a football is supposed to look and feel. As a defensive end, however, when it comes to possessing the football, I’m just a fan with really good seats. I’ve probably handled the pigskin in a game about five times in seven years. The ball could turn into a small house pet in my hands and I wouldn’t notice. When I’m lucky enough to get the ball, I’m one of those kid-on-Christmas-morning defensive players who’s just trying not to pull a Leon Lett.

You want to know who handles the football more than anyone on the field? The refs. I’m not only talking about the pre-game inspection process. I’m talking about throughout the game, in between every play. Now, I’m not saying that an NFL referee should be a human psi (pounds per square inch) reading machine. (Silicon Valley, get on that.) But if a football feels so obviously different at 11 psi than it does at 13.5 psi — enough to argue that it lends a team a competitive advantage — maybe the best officials on the planet should have noticed something was awry that night at Gillette.

Read Long’s full piece here.

[thanks to Stuart Snyder for the link]