Question: Why the NFL rule that allows teams to BYOB?

Of course, in this case, BYOB means Bring Your Own Balls

Yesterday, I posed the question: Why didn’t the NFL take the deflategate opportunity to ditch its wacky rule that allows each team to bring & use it’s own balls.


My argument, simply stated: The rule is nuts.

MLB pitchers don’t bring their own balls.

NBA shooters don’t call for their favorite balls when they step to the line.

The NFL rule is what nuns call an occasion to sin.

Put mere mortals in those situations, and guess what they’re gonna do.

You got it: SIN.

So, eliminate the temptation, right?

I got curious and searched for some background on the BYOB rule …


A couple of weeks ago, the Boston Globe ran an interview with a former NFL ref supervisor.

Some highlights …

Up until about 12 years ago, the league did provide all of the game balls,

The balls were shipped directly to the refs and it was their job to scuff them up a bit so they’d be easiest to grip … kinda like what baseball umpires do when they prep game balls.

But, the officials didn’t like doing that job (say, what?) … and in a show of apparent passive aggressive behavior, they didn’t do a very good job of it.

The prima donna QBs complained.

So, the league started shipping a couple of dozen of new balls to each team every week.

The QBs were allowed to “work them in a bit”.

Then the refs would inspect the balls to make sure that the balls weren’t too scuffed up – mostly because scuffed balls wouldn’t show well on TV – and the refs were supposed to stick each ball with an air gauge to be sure that it was within inflation tolerances.

Apparently, when the Patriots started their shell game, some or all of their balls missed the inspection step.


Interestingly, a couple of years ago, the NFL got concerned that kickers were “doing weird stuff” to the balls designated for kicking.

So, the league cracked down.

Now, kicking balls are shipped new to officials who who maintain a chain-of-custody over them throughout the game.

No more hanky-panky from kickers is allowed.

But, prima donna QBs … that’s different.


So again, I ask: Why not take this opportunity to get rid of the wacky rule.

If the officials think the scrubbing job is beneath their dignity, can ‘em.

I’m sure there’s a line of candidates for those phat jobs.




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One Response to “Question: Why the NFL rule that allows teams to BYOB?”

  1. Rob Marshall Says:

    I agree 100%. On a related note, you should do a Google Image search for the Coors Field humidor.

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