Here's how they pulled it off.
1. Choose a foil that will easily be believed to be corrupt
Bill Belichick will never be mentioned without the term "Spygate" being tossed into the discussion. An easy choice for the NFL to frame for the ratings plot.
2. Create a situation that has enough gray area to keep themselves from getting blamed
NFL teams each provide 12 balls for each game that are inspected 2.5 hours before kickoff.
While the referees are supposed to check the pressure, there's no way to know if they did or did not. It's widely assumed that they check the balls by manually handling them (quick pause to chuckle) and there's no known report to state whether or not they meet league standards.
3. Make an issue out of something silly
The pressure that the Patriots balls are being accused of is so minuscule compared to regualtion balls that in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't effect the outcome of the game.
It's not like the tried to have the Patriots get extra timeouts or additional chances to accumulate third down conversions.
This issue won't have actual football fans thinking the game is not being played fairly, just the liberal wimps that think everyone deserves a trophy who they know will get sucked into this kind of thing.
4. Have their media associates (ESPN) play along
The talking heads in Bristol, along with the usual lineup of Belichick and Patriots haters, have been tearing into the Patriots while conveniently ignoring the list of former and current NFL quarterbacks that admit to "doctoring" footballs to their liking as well as the statements from Colts players dismissing this ludicrous allegation that the pressure of the balls made a difference in their 45-7 loss to the Pats.
According to the anti-Patriot media folks, Belichick should be fired, Brady suspended for the game, and both should never be trusted again.
5. Reveal that there was no intentional wrongdoing as the team's get to Arizona on Monday to start Super Bowl preparations
This will be over by the time the Patriots embark for Arizona on Monday.
The NFL will issue a statement saying there is no evidence of intentional tampering by the Patriots and 20 years from now, referee Walt Coleman will admit he never officially measured the pressure before the game.
Well done Goodell. You kept the attention of the country on your league during Pro Bowl week at the cost of nothing more than the legacies of the greatest coach, quarterback, and franchise of the last 25 years.
The real victims will be the Seahawks, who are destined to lose 41-20 to the Patriots next Sunday.