The Raiders Were Caught Heating Up Footballs on the Sidelines but There's Nothing to See Here


PFTWith 1:07 left in Monday night’s game between the Raiders and Eagles and the contest tied at 10, Oakland got the ball back. ESPN then paid tribute to Raiders long snapper Jon Condo for his work with veterans, cycling through several photos of Condo with veterans. Then, after the last one, the cameras showed a live shot of Condo.

Condo was standing with punter Marquette King. And Condo was heating up a football, while arguably looking around to see if anyone noticed. …

Unless the league allows long snappers, holders, and kickers to prepare on the sideline for a field goal attempt by using the actual K balls, the football being warmed up by Condo wasn’t the ball that the custodian of the K balls would be putting in the game for an eventually field-goal try. It’s a far different situation if someone is warming up the footballs that a team’s offense is using during the normal course of play.

So, for now, it’s premature to presume cheating. But it’s further evidence that those who are rightfully still salty about the bungling of the overblown football-deflation controversy are paying close attention to any and every possible hint of cheating by any and every other team.

Speaking on behalf of everyone who isn’t still salty about the bungling of the overblown football-deflation controversy, let me be clear we are not mad at John Condo for using the blast heater to give the footballs 40,000 BTUs of goodness in the middle of a game. We don’t mind in the least that they ducked behind a detail cop and kept looking around to see if anyone from the league was watching. Just because you’re using using the propane heater soften up the ball, make it easier to snap and lighter to kick with its warm, glowing, warming glow doesn’t mean you’re cheating.

It’s not cheating any more than it was when the Panthers were putting the balls in front of the heater in Minnesota in 2014, and all the game officials did was tell them to please stop. Which they did. It’s not cheating any more than when the Chargers covered the footballs with Stickum towels, got caught and then destroyed the towels. For that, the team was fined. And later the fine was reduced to the low, low bargain price of $0.00. It’s not cheating any more than Brad Johnson saying he tipped the ball boys $7,500 to doctor up the footballs to his liking at Super Bowl XXXVII.

I do just have one small question for the NFL though. If it’s not too much to ask, does anyone at the league really give a shit about the condition of the game balls?

I mean, I know we’ve been over this. But two years and $10 million in billable hours ago, I assumed that by now you’d be guarding those things like the Crown Jewels. That they’d be brought out to the field by a Brink’s truck and surrounded by armed guards. But in 2015 your own officials left them and the pressure gauges back at their hotel in Boston, then had to have a concierge get them out of the room and get them to Gillette with a State Trooper escort. And last December the Giants accused the Steelers of playing with under-inflated footballs, but I don’t remember anything coming out of that. So when do you decide when fucking around with the footballs doesn’t matter and when it’s the most important issue in the universe?

Never mind. I withdraw the question because I already know the answer. So let me ask this one instead: When do we get to see the psi data you were supposed to be collecting the last three seasons?