Fear not: NFL will hold the balls until just before the Super Bowl starts on Sunday

Fear not: NFL will hold the balls until just before the Super Bowl starts on Sunday

[Ed. – One of these times I’ll have to break down and crack one of those jokes begging to get out.]

NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino says…the process of checking the footballs and security surrounding the inspections will be enhanced for Sunday’s Super Bowl. …

Super Bowl referee Bill Vinovich and his staff will be looking over a lot more footballs this week.

Normally, 12 balls per team are brought to the officials’ locker room before a game, where they are tested and marked by the referee. This week, each team gets 54 footballs — many are given to charity after brief game usage — and all of them will be taken into custody by the NFL on Friday after the Seahawks and Patriots have prepared them.

The footballs will be inspected by Vinovich three hours before kickoff, and Blandino said there will be “added security because of the environment we are in for this game.”

“It will not quite be like (protecting) the Stanley Cup, but there will be added security,” he said.

Bears head equipment manager Tony Medlin will be charged with guarding the footballs from Friday until he brings them to the stadium for Vinovich to inspect.

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