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NFL snuffs out dumber, more meaningless Deflategate before it can even begin

How stupid would the Steelers have to be to deflate footballs in the preseason?

Pittsburgh Steelers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Do you miss the Deflategate scandal that rocked the NFL, took years to complete, and had no significant impact on the offending team’s success? Do you wish it could have been applied to totally meaningless games instead of the postseason?

If you answered yes to both these questions:

a) seek help.
b) I have some bad news.

The NFL shut down any debate over whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers deflated footballs during their Week 1 preseason showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles. Reports had swirled Thursday night that Steelers rookie quarterback Mason Rudolph was caught tossing a ball that “looked like a marshmallow” on the turf.

The league investigated and dismissed the issue less than a day later.

“All footballs were in compliance with NFL rules following the pregame inspection process and all proper procedures were followed,” NFL vice president of football communications Michael Signora told Mike Garafolo. “In the third quarter, a football that was found to be defective was removed from play and will be sent back to Wilson for review.”

How did we get barely three hours into the preseason before another Deflategate arose?

The scandal began Thursday evening thanks to a tweet from intrepid football watcher Howard Eskin:

Ignoring the fact that marshmallows are plump, the NFL took notice. Officials pulled the ball from play and inserted one of Pittsburgh’s 11 remaining, fully-inflated balls instead. Upon review, the equipment proved defective, absolving the Steelers of any Tom Brady-esque wrongdoing and depriving football fans of months of hand-wringing and ultimately fruitless debates.

Pittsburgh won its preseason opener, 31-14. The Steelers quarterbacks — Landry Jones, Mason Rudolph, and Joshua Dobbs — combined to complete 20 of their 29 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns. All with, according to the NFL, properly inflated footballs.