Investigators call on Columbia dept.

Sport Science: Deflategate (2:29)

As the Deflategate debate rages on, we turn to John Brenkus and the "Sport Science" team for some scientific perspective. (2:29)

Bill Belichick admittedly isn't a scientist, so an independent investigator hired by the NFL reportedly has attempted to contact someone who actually is in its attempt to get to the bottom of Deflategate.

According to The New York Times, the team investigating why balls used by the New England Patriots in their AFC Championship Game win were underinflated has asked the physics department at Columbia University in New York for help learning how weather conditions can affect ball pressure.

The Times, in a story published Tuesday that cited notes from an administrative manager, reported that a partner at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison made the call to the physics department Monday. Ted Wells, who along with NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash is leading the investigation, is co-chair of the litigation department at the law firm.

"He would like to consult with a physicist on matters relating to gas physics," the notes said, according to the newspaper, referring to the partner, Lorin L. Reisner, who initiated the contact with the Ivy League university.

Records obtained by the Times showed that Reisner also emailed Columbia's physics department.

"Just to confirm our call, we represent the N.F.L. in connection with the investigation into the footballs used during the A.F.C. championship game and would like to discuss engaging a professor of physics to consult on matters relating to gas physics and environmental impacts on inflated footballs," Reisner said. "Please let me know whether there is a Columbia professor who may be interested in and appropriate for this assignment."

Owner Robert Kraft, quarterback Tom Brady and Belichick are among those on the Patriots who adamantly have denied that the team altered the air pressure in footballs prior to its AFC title game win.

On Saturday, Belichick said the Patriots "followed every rule" in preparing their footballs for the game, before detailing the organization's preparation process and suggesting that weather conditions may have affected the air pressure. Heavy rain and strong wind were in Foxborough the night of the Colts matchup, and temperatures were in the low 50s and high 40s.

Belichick also reiterated that he's "not a scientist," but some who are professionally have chimed in on Deflategate.

Bill Nye, more commonly known as the "Science Guy," told "Good Morning America" this weekend that "what [Belichick] said didn't make any sense."

Others agreed with the Patriots coach.

James Bird, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Boston University, told the Boston Globe: "Everything they said doesn't seem impossible to me. Based on simple ideal-gas-law calculations, I would not be surprised if the Patriots are vindicated. That said, there are many unknowns that can make small differences. ..."

The league said Friday that its investigation is ongoing.

Fox Sports reported earlier this week that the NFL has zeroed in on a Patriots locker room attendant who allegedly took the balls from the officials' locker room to another area on the way to the field. The location in question was a bathroom in which the attendant can be seen in a video entering and exiting in 90 seconds with the 24 footballs provided by both teams, Pro Football Talk reported.