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MIT Professor creates online lesson to show the science behind Deflategate

by: Sarah Wroblewski Updated:

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - An MIT professor has created a free interactive online lesson through MIT Blossoms for high school teachers and students that teaches science through Deflategate.

“The goal is to give students the tools so they can be the scientists, so they can make their own decisions. To get more young people excited about math and science," says MIT engineer professor John Leonard. 

It has been two years since the New England Patriots were accused of tampering with the pressure of footballs. The drama ultimately forced Tom Brady to serve a four-game suspension.

"The physics is pretty simple...I can't believe no one explained this to Roger Goodell," he said. 

Deflategate may be behind us now, but Professor Leonard is making sure kids around the world learn the science behind it.

"I started to investigate it to make a lecture for my students and as I dug into more and more I felt that something didn't add up. And I got a little obsessed with it," he said.

He made an interactive video lesson so students can make their own decisions whether there was tampering or not at the 2015 Patriots NFC Championship game.

Using simple math and science in, Leonard demonstrates in his online lesson how temperature and pressure are related by using the Ideal gas law with respect to the air pressure of footballs in different temperature environments. He simulates real game time conditions from the coldest conditions to the hottest.

"This football happens to be 11.7 PSI, now a little while ago, about 10 minutes, in my office it was 12.5 PSI… so the pressure is dropping because it is cooling. So why would the Patriots engage in an elaborate scheme, to remove less than 1 percent of the air from the footballs, when going outside in winter, creates a much bigger change in pressure," he said. 

>>RELATED: DEFLATEGATE: NFL finds it probable that Pats deliberately deflated balls, Brady was aware

Leonard is not even a Patriots Fan, but he still wants Tom Brady to win the Super Bowl.

"I think Tom Brady did not get a fair deal in this. If he can't get a fair hearing, what hope does the rest of us have?  It would be a victory for science if the patriots won the Super Bowl," he said. 

To download the lesson Temperature, Pressure and American Football: Introduction to Gay-Lussac’s Gas Law
created by Professor John Leonard through MIT BLOSSOMS, click here.

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Super Bowl 2017: What to tell your kids about 'Deflategate'