Bill Nye Slams Bill Belichick: “What He Said Didn’t Make Any Sense”

Let me start by saying, I don’t know anything about football. I’m from Los Angeles. We don’t have a football team. I went to NYU where the most popular sporting event is the Spring production of Damn Yankees. Up until very recently I thought football was soccer but with players who didn’t have feet, instead their legs ended with sort of rounded nubs—”balls,” if you will—and I thought it was so awful that millions of Americans get together every Sunday—which is the Lord’s day, by the way—to force disabled folk to compete in some sort of blood sport. It’s not that though. It turns out it’s the real life version of NFL Blitz, which it turns out isn’t just a video game. It’s based on a real thing. Anyway, what am I talking about?

Oh yeah! #Deflategate! The Patriots! (Why are they called “the Patriots”? I get that it’s about the American Revolution and Massachusetts played a key role in that but come on, we’re all patriots here, FOX News. Even the Bengals fans.) I don’t like the Patriots because they’re from Boston and Boston is the home of the worst NBA team in the whole wide world, the Celtics, who had the audacity to beat my Los Angeles Lakers a couple of times in the 1980s. Also, the Red Sox! They’re pretty awful! And Boston is a very cold city, at least in the winter. A not-so-long ago history of racism, Boston also has, let’s not forget. And New England clam chowder is garbage compared to Manhattan clam chowder. So, I say this just to be transparent. I don’t think I personally want the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. Maybe I do. The Seahawks don’t sound great. Pete Carroll is apparently a 9/11 truther, which is a turnoff.

Let’s veer this ramble towards the news: #Deflategate! Bill Belichick says he didn’t do it. It wasn’t him. It was Mr Blue in the Library with the piano wire. Or, something. He has a scientific explanation for why the balls were tested to be under-inflated.

“We simulated a game-day situation, in terms of the preparation of the footballs, and where the footballs were at various points in time during the day or night. … I would say that our preparation process for the footballs is what we do —I can’t speak for anybody else — and that process raises the PSI approximately one pound,” Belichick said. “That process of creating a tackiness, a texture — a right feel, whatever that feel is, whatever that feel is. It’s a sensation for the quarterback. What’s the right feel — that process elevates the PSI one pound, based on what our study showed. Which was multiple balls, multiple examples in the process, as we would do for a game.”

I don’t know what any of that really means. It reads like gibberish to me. I, like so many Republican politicians, am not a scientist. Bill Nye is though and he says it’s gibberish too:

“What he said didn’t make any sense…Rubbing the football, I don’t think, can change the pressure.”

And that’s the news. Goodnight and good luck.

P.S. One of the things I was confused about was how deflated balls would give an advantage to a football team, because presumably it would make them less aerodynamic, but as my colleague Tim McDonnell notes, it’s about “grippiness.”


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  • Ben Dreyfuss is Mother Jones' editorial director for growth and strategy. He's done some other stuff, too. You can email him at But you don't have to. But you can. But you really don't have to.