The Ted Wells report should have resulted, in the opinion of PFT and not necessarily anyone else, in a finding that the results of the investigation were inconclusive as to whether the Patriots had tampered with footballs prior to the AFC title game.
Inconclusive, because the NFL had (as former NFL official and supervisor of officials Jim Daopoulos has told PFT) never regarded the inflation of footballs as a science.
Inconclusive, because the NFL had never even checked air pressure in footballs during or after any game in the 95-year history of the league.
Inconclusive, because of the significant gap between the two gauges made available to the officials responsible for setting the air pressure in the footballs used for the AFC Championship Game.
Inconclusive, because the measurements generated by the Patriots footballs (the real ones, not the false ones leaked to ESPN) on one of those gauges — the one the referee specifically recalled using before kickoff to set the air in the Patriots footballs — fell within the range expected by the Ideal Gas Law.
Inconclusive, because one of the gauges showed three of four Colts footballs to be under the 12.5 PSI minimum at halftime, even though they started at 13.0 or 13.1 PSI.
Inconclusive, because a $1,000-an-hour lawyer wasn’t able to parlay troubling Beavis-and-Butthead text messages into a pants-pissing confession from a day-of-game employee who carries around a bag of footballs on Sundays.
And, now, inconclusive, because a current NFL supervisor of officials has acknowledged that some footballs are defective, when it comes to keeping air inside them.
“These are man-made products,” Central Region supervisor of officials Gary Slaughter said during a via to the Steelers, via Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “There is a bladder and a valve. We have all checked them for many years. Sometimes when you check the ball in the locker room right out of the box, there could be a problem. They could have a slow leak, and you wouldn’t even know it at the time.”
The possibility of a slow leak doesn’t exonerate the Patriots. But it’s another reason for concluding based on the information available to Ted Wells that the evidence of cheating prior to the AFC Championship Game is inconclusive.
The sheer volume of the evidence generated by Ted Wells allows for a 243-page decision supporting any outcome Wells wanted to reach. Whatever outcome he wanted to reach, the end result should have been that the evidence is inconclusive.