UPDATE 1/28/15: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson now says he got his Deflategate numbers wrong. Read more about it here.
Original story follows
Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History and all-around scientific badass, said on Monday that New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is full of hot air when it comes to Deflategate.
Belichick claimed “atmospheric conditions” may have caused balls to lose air pressure during his team's AFC Championship win over the Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 18.
But Tyson deflated that theory with a single tweet:
For the Patriots to blame a change in temperature for 15% lower-pressures, requires balls to be inflated with 125-degree air.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) January 26, 2015
Also on Monday, the NFL's official football manufacturer said Belichick's explanation didn't fly.
“That’s BS," Wilson representative Jim Jenkins told Boston.com. "That’s BS, man.”
Jenkins told the website that different environments might cause the PSI inside the ball to change,but "maybe in a year or two." To cause the pressure to change more quickly, Jenkins suggested a ball would have to be placed in a freezer, then thawed.
Tyson and Jenkins aren't alone in dismissing Belichick. Last week, Bill Nye "The Science Guy" poked holes in another explanation floated by Belichick, that the balls could become deflated when they were rubbed before the game.
“Rubbing the football -- I don’t think you can change the pressure,” Nye said. “To really change the pressure, you need one of these, the inflation needle.”
However, four Boston-area scientists told the Boston Globe that temperature changes will cause a football to lose air pressure.
“Based on simple ideal-gas-law calculations, I would not be surprised if the Patriots are vindicated," James Bird, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Boston University, told the newspaper. "That said, there are many unknowns that can make small differences."
ESPN reported last week that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs fell 2 pounds short of NFL standards for inflation, which require between 12.5 and 13.5 pounds per square inch.
Under-inflated footballs are easier to catch, especially in the wet weather during the AFC title game.
All of the footballs used by the Colts met league standards.
On Monday, the Patriots reportedly turned over a surveillance video to the NFL that allegedly shows a locker room attendant taking two bags of balls into a bathroom.