Deflategate Sports Science Fair Project Abstract

Deflategate Sports Science Fair Project Abstract

Logan Bush
15 years old
Georgia, USA


The purpose of my project is to see if air pressure really affects the performance of footballs. Among kids, junior, youth, and pro footballs, I wanted to find out which travels the farthest and the fastest when thrown. Also, if each football was deflated, how much would it affect the distance and speed.

My hypothesis was that the youth football would travel the farthest because it is small enough to get a good grip, and the pro football would travel the fastest because its weight will keep the momentum going. A second hypothesis was that when the footballs are under inflated they will travel farther, but will be slower.

For this experiment, I went to the local football field and threw each size football, at their standard size, five times each from the one yard line. I took the average the five throws. Second, each ball was thrown in a straight line five times. I averaged the times.

Then I deflated each football by a kilogram and repeated the same procedure throwing the football for distance. After that I did the football speed test.

After these tests were completed I compared the averages of the deflated footballs to the regular size times and distances.

The experiment showed that my first hypothesis was wrong and my second hypothesis was partially correct. In my first hypothesis, I said the youth football would travel the farthest and the pro football the fastest. Actually, the youth football traveled the farthest by about three meters each throw. The fastest was the junior by around .65 seconds each throw. In my second hypothesis, I said the deflated footballs would travel farther but slower. I was correct in the latter. The footballs traveled a combined 32 meters farther when fully inflated. The footballs did travel a combined .83 seconds slower when deflated.

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