How the NFL Could Ensure Total Compliance with Its Football Inflation Inspection Procedures

By Jason Peck on July 27, 2015

If you’re like most NFL fans, you probably are ready to put Deflategate to bed. But it’s back in the news. 

The NFL recently told its officials that it would be implementing new inspection procedures for checking game footballs’ inflation levels, prior to the game and again at random games during halftime. Details below:

  • Each team must supply 24 footballs (12 primary and 12 backup) to the officials locker room, 2 hours and 15 minutes prior to gametime. 
  • The head referee will appoint 2 members of the crew to inspect the inflation levels of the footballs, by checking their PSI levels and recording the number. The allowable range will be 12.5 PSI to 13.5 PSI. Any football that is above or below this level will be deflated or inflated to 13 PSI.
  • The kicking ball coordinator will take possession of all footballs until 10 minutes prior to kickoff. At this point the coordinator, a member of the officiating team and a security representative will bring the footballs onto the field to be distributed to each team’s ball crew. 

Regardless of whether or not you think this is overkill, it’s nice to see that the NFL has a stronger inspection policy in place. 

What we’re wondering though, is how the information will be captured? If it’s on paper or a spreadsheet, this could open up another can of worms if the paper is ever lost, handwriting is hard to read, or if certain key information is missing.  And then what happens to the information after the game? How does it get from the field to a filing cabinet?

With GoCanvas and mobile devices, the NFL could digitize and automate much of its new football inflation inspection process by creating a mobile version. This would ensure compliance, enable the NFL office to get information back in real-time and automatically share it with the right employees, and eliminate the hassles of storing the information in filing cabinets or folders, while keeping this data secure. 

Here are a few ideas for how the NFL could leverage GoCanvas and some of our key features to create a stronger inflation inspection process:

Mandatory Fields

With paper, fields on a form can sometimes be missed, intentionally or accidentally. With GoCanvas, the NFL could make specific fields required, so officials would be unable to get to the next step in the inspection process if they are skipped. 

Photo Capture

As part of the inspection process, the NFL probably wants to take pictures of any footballs (and the PSI readings) that are over- or under-inflated. This would provide evidence in case any questions come up about it. Sure, the NFL could do this separately with digital cameras, but it’s a lot easier and faster to do this with GoCanvas as part of the mobile inspection process. 

Conditional Fields

When there are under- or over-inflated footballs, the workflow of this process should automatically prompt the officals to inflate or deflate the balls and provide proof. Instead of relying on someone to remember to do this, the NFL could automatically drive this behavior using our conditional fields feature. 

Electronic Signatures

At the end of the process, the NFL probably wants the inspecting officials to sign off on the process, stating that all information is accurate and true. This can easily be accomplished within GoCanvas, using our signature capture feature. The NFL may want the kicking ball coordinator to sign off on the process, too. 

If you’re with the NFL, we’d love to chat about how we can improve this process for you. 

If you’re not with the NFL, that’s ok. We still would love to help you improve the way you collect, share and learn from your business data. Get a demo or try us free today!