I am a Patriots fan, I admit. Otherwise, I wouldn’t care much about it. I wouldn’t really now, except for the arbitrary and capricious nature of how NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Ted Wells handled the investigation of whether or not the Patriots deflated footballs to below the league standard before the AFC Championship Game with the Colts.
The New England Patriots today issued a rebuttal which positively destroys the amateurish and biased “report” which seems even more like an NFL sting operation incompetently sprung. The rebuttal includes what the report conveniently ignores, like the context for the much-publicized text messages between Patriots employees, the fact that the Colts, not the Patriots, admitted to violating league rules by tampering with a game ball during play, the failure of the league and its officials to document evidence they knew well might be used in an investigation, and much more. But the most damning piece of the rebuttal is the clubbing the Patriots deliver to the skulls of the NFL League Office with the league’s own data:
The average of the Prioleau (Logo gauge) measurements — and using an average makes sense given the non-repeatability of even a single gauge — is 11.49 psi, precisely what would have been predicted by the Ideal Gas Law. According to the League’s consultants, the Ideal Gas Law predicted the Patriots footballs which started at 12.5 would have measured between 11.32 and 11.52 psi at the end of the first half (pg. 113). The average of these 11 footballs is within or above that range, as are the actual psi of 8 of the 11 footballs. If air had been intentionally released from each football before the game, these numbers would be significantly lower.
Further, note that the differences between the two gauges vary from .3 to .45 — if the gauges were in fact repeatable, the difference between the two gauges would remain the same on every football gauged.
Mr. Blakeman and Mr. Prioleau apparently switched which gauges they were using when they switched which team’s footballs they were gauging. The investigators never consider that Mr. Anderson did the same thing in his pre-game measurements. If Mr. Anderson, pre-game, used the Logo gauge on the Patriots footballs and the non-Logo gauge on the Colts footballs, this helps explain the difference in psi drop between the Patriots footballs and the Colts footballs.
And here is the real and irrefutable dagger:
If scientific evidence explains the drop in psi of the Patriots footballs, it is definitive there was no tampering. Rather than engage in that analysis, this investigation made certain assumptions about gauge usage and then speculated about the meaning of texts taken out of context. The report rejects the simple and fully supported scientific explanation for the psi drop and instead builds adverse inference upon adverse inference from speculative and circumstantial evidence in order to develop even the soft conclusions it reaches.
Yup. Roger Goodell should be ashamed of himself. Someone’s half-baked scheme to finger the Patriots went south, and this imbecilic “Wells Report” that I would not accept from a Second Lieutenant to send someone to NJP turns up (after more than 100 days!!!), and the league suspends the best quarterback ever to play the game, fines the team a million bucks, and takes two draft picks away based on that pile of nonsense.
The penalties should be immediately revoked, and the owners should send Goodell his walking papers. Less competent stewardship of a multi-billion dollar sports league would be hard to imagine.
Oh, AFTER the footballs were re-inflated at halftime? The Patriots outscored the Colts 28-0.