Deflategate Report Suggests ‘Deliberate Effort to Circumvent the Rules’
After months of accusations, deliberations, investigations, a science lesson from Bill Nye, and a presidential burn, investigator Ted Wells released his report on the New England Patriots’ alleged deflation of footballs in last season’s AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts, suggesting “inappropriate activities” by two Patriots employees and quarterback Tom Brady having knowledge of it.
“For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules,” the report reads.
The lengthy report concludes that because no set of physical or environmental factors can fully account for the drop in air pressure in the Patriots’ footballs, human intervention may have been a factor. It singles out two humans in particular: officials locker room attendant Jim McNally and Patriots equipment assistant John Jastremski:
Based on the evidence developed in connection with the investigation and summarized in this Report, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the NFL Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate attempt to circumvent those rules. In particular, we conclude that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally and John Jastremski participated in a deliberate plan to circumvent the rules by releasing air from Patriots game balls after the examination of the footballs by NFL game officials at the AFC Championship Game. We believe that McNally and Jastremski were aware that the inflation level of the Patriots game balls following pre-game inspection by the game officials would be approximately 12.5 psi and planned for McNally to deflate the balls below that level following the pre-game inspection using a needle provided by Jastremski. Based on the evidence, we also have concluded that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft issued a scathing statement on the team’s site, casting all sorts of shade on the investigation, as well as the Colts. From the statement:
What is not highlighted in the text of the report is that three of the Colts’ four footballs measured by at least one official were under the required psi level. As far as we are aware, there is no comparable data available from any other game because, in the history of the NFL, psi levels of footballs have never been measured at halftime, in any climate. If they had been, based on what we now know, it is safe to assume that every cold-weather game was played with under inflated footballs. As compelling a case as the Wells Report may try to make, I am going to rely on the factual evidence of numerous scientists and engineers rather than inferences from circumstantial evidence.
“Throughout the process of this nearly four-month investigation, we have cooperated and patiently awaited its outcome. To say we are disappointed in its findings, which do not include any incontrovertible or hard evidence of deliberate deflation of footballs at the AFC Championship game, would be a gross understatement. In addition, given our level of cooperation throughout the process, I was offended by the comments made in the Wells Report in reference to not making an individual available for a follow-up interview. What the report fails to mention is that he had already been interviewed four times and we felt the fifth request for access was excessive for a part-time game day employee who has a full-time job with another employer.
Fix yourself something strong and read the full Wells Report here.