Finally, the halftime PSI numbers are known

One of the most puzzling aspects of the #DeflateGate controversy came from a series of contradictory reports regarding the PSI measurements taken at halftime of the footballs used by the Patriots in the AFC championship game.

Initially, Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported that 11 of the 12 balls were two pounds under the 12.5 PSI minimum. PFT later reported that 10 of the balls were closer to one pound under the minimum than two. Hours before Super Bowl XLIX, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported that “[m]any of [the footballs] were just a few ticks under the minimum.”

The real numbers remained unknown, until the issuance of the Ted Wells report.

As it turns out, two sets of measurements were made, by alternate game officials Dyrol Prioleau and Clete Blakeman.  The measurements involved only 11 Patriots footballs, with the ball that had been intercepted by Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson during the second quarter not included.

Prioleau’s measurements were, in PSI: (1) 11.8; (2) 11.2; (3) 11.5; (4) 11.0; (5) 11.45; (6) 11.95; (7) 12.3; (8) 11.55; (9) 11.35; (10) 10.9; and (11) 11.35.

Blakeman’s measurements were, also in PSI: (1) 11.5; (2) 10.85; (3) 11.15; (4) 10.7; (5) 11.1; (6) 11.6; (7) 11.85; (8) 11.1; (9) 10.95; (10) 10.5; and (11) 10.9.

Based on Prioleau’s numbers, NONE of the footballs were more than 1.6 PSI below the minimum.  One was exactly 1.6 pounds below the minimum. Six were were between 1.0 and 1.5 pounds under the minimum.  Three were between 0.5 and 1.0 pounds under the minimum. One was only 0.2 PSI below the minimum.

In other words, and as PFT reported at the time, 10 of the balls were closer to one pound under the minimum PSI than two.

Based on Blakeman’s numbers, only one ball was 2.0 pounds under the minimum.  Another one was 1.8 pounds under. One was 1.65 under. One was 1.6 under.  One was 1.55 under. Four fell between 1.0 and 1.4 PSI under. One was 0.9 PSI under. One was 0.65 PSI under.

The numbers show only one ball a full 2.0 PSI under — and that was based on a measurement that apparently happened after a different measurement showed that same ball at 1.6 PSI under.  Given that Mortensen’s report was: (1) taken as completely accurate; and (2) pushed the entire scandal to a new level, it’s important to look at those numbers objectively and to assess carefully whether there’s a plausible atmospheric explanation for the loss in air pressure.

Further complicating matters for the NFL is the lack of clear evidence that the starting point for each ball was 12.5 PSI.  Given that the NFL was aware of the issue before the game began, it’s stunning that a record of the measurements wasn’t made.

The problem for the Patriots is that enough other evidence pointed to a violation to allow Ted Wells to conclude that the preponderance of the evidence suggests to deliberate manipulation.  Regardless, the raw numbers aren’t nearly as bad as they were originally portrayed to be.

In the interests of fairness to everyone, that fact can’t be disregarded.

68 responses to “Finally, the halftime PSI numbers are known

  1. Shouldnt you Patsy fans that are complaining about no hard evidence be out with O.J., looking for the real killer??

  2. Agreed.

    This, however, is damning:

    “You good Jonny boy?” – Txt from Brady to Jastremski, after the scandal broke.

    “Still nervous; so far so good though.” – Jastremski txt, in response.

    Ouch. #BlackMarkBrady

  3. How dare you talk about the other side of the story! today is ‘Pat Hate’ day! don’t ruin it…. cuz once the season starts…Pats are back in action…

  4. The balls were measured and found to have been tampered with. They were below the minimum PSI allowed.

    The finding is in and the consequences are left to be seen. Excusing the Pats because the balls were only slightly under the mark, is like saying, she’s only a little pregnant.

    Good try though. Brady’s and Kraft’s defiance didn’t help. They look really stupid now.

  5. rslibertarian says:
    May 6, 2015 3:46 PM
    How dare you talk about the other side of the story! today is ‘Pat Hate’ day! don’t ruin it…. cuz once the season starts…Pats are back in action…
    ====================

    yep, they’ll be right back to their cheatin’ ways!

    good thing boston loves a cheater

  6. LOL, come on Mike, we all know there is only one side to this story. Anything that even sniffs that this isn’t the absolute biggest scandal in the history of the world will be ridiculed heavily by the all knowing PFT commenters. You know, geniuses that cant tell the difference because “then and than”, “your and youre”, “loser and looser”…

  7. Florio, 12.5 was the minimum allowable. 1 psi below 12.5 is substantial in % terms. The Colts balls did not suffer the same loss of pressure.

  8. Yeah. The act of measuring the psi is what did it. Right. And it’s just a coincidence that they were all so close to being too deflated to begin with that that’s what did it. Sorry but the first time it was done would have given a completely accurate measurement. It’s possible that your explanation might apply to the second set of measurements but obviously not the first set.

  9. I’m a huge Pats and Brady fan. I’ve read the Wells report, and there are numerous areas in which it is weak (notably, the failure to consider the impact of moisture on Ball Pressure, which is significant and easily demonstrated at home).

    But on balance, it is difficult not to conclude that a Patriots staffer more likely than not messed with the balls on game day.

    If subsequent information comes to light challenging the report’s intermediate conclusions (for example, that taking the balls to the field without the officials was a significant deviation from standard practice), I reserve the right to change my mind.

    But as of right now, even if there are valid scientific explanations for why the Patriots balls could have been measured at the levels at which they were (and there certainly are), the league has manufactured a powerful circumstantial that the Patriots are actually guilty.

  10. So each time you stick a needle into it it drops 0.3? If start at 12.5, the first time ref check it before the game it would go to 12.2, after fat guys jump on them for half a game it’s 11.5? Where can I go to get a refund for my care?

  11. Finally…..never mind I thought we were going to discuss something important.

  12. There’s only one clear thing.

    For a 103 days investigation, many question, not nearly as much answers.

    Those guys from the Pats, and Brady, did something wrong. Probably. But maybe not.

    A lot of this is based on a exchange of texts that could very well happen between two acquaintances.

    “You good Joony Boy” Could be Brady interested to know if he was well, since the scandal is close to him

    Anyway, this will create a havec, but i wish everything was clearer. There is crap floating over the water here

  13. This is proof that the offseason after the draft is just a miserable time for NFL.

    At least we have the La’el Collins story to keep us entertained. YAY!

  14. Think of it this way, what if you heard the following:
    I only used a little stickum – WR.
    I only used a little teflon on my jersey – olineman.
    I only used a little bit of the crown of my helmet – Strong Safety.
    I only grabbed a little bit of his facemask. Defender
    I only moved early a fraction of a second. Offenive player.
    I only used a little ‘roids, see not even a full steroid!!!
    I only taped the offenses practice & signals. We had no clue what their defense was gonna do!!!

    A little cheating is still cheating.

  15. From the report:

    “…some officiating crews adjust the air pressure in a game ball only if they determine that
    it has been set outside of the permissible range, while others may set the pressure of each football
    to 13.0 psi, regardless of where the balls are initially set by the team, to provide consistency.”

    I can see how a QB would be mad if the refs added air pressure to the ball.

  16. qdog112 says:
    May 6, 2015 3:47 PM
    The balls were measured and found to have been tampered with. They were below the minimum PSI allowed.

    ==================
    WHAT?!?!!
    The fact that the balls were below the standard allowable PSI isn’t proof that the balls were tampered with. Sure they might have been, but that particular fact by itself doesn’t prove anything.

    To go further, the refs tested 4 of the Colts balls before “running out of time”, and 3 of those footballs were below the minimum allowable PSI. Are you suggesting the Colts are also guilty of tampering. After all, less than 12.5 is “proof” that the balls were tampered with

  17. no one in the NFL was measuring relative PSI to the hundredth. To me this means none of the data is valid.

  18. Lol, all psi under league mandated and 200 pages evidence of intent to cheat in numerous games. Yeah let’s worry about whether it was 8% or 17% under the PSI levels.

  19. I’m not going to pardon them for the whole thing because the text messages between the staff are pretty damning and they probably DID do this, but I have to wonder how quickly ONE PSI goes out of a football. Is it really that easy to time it and regulate it PERFECTLY? I’d like to see someone demonstrate that (and how long it would take to deflate 10 balls) on video so we can see how devious (or innocent) they really are.

  20. Also, according to Prioleau’s gauge, three of four Colts’ footballs were under the 12.5 psi threshold at half-time (12.35, 12.30 and 12.15).

  21. Just want to note that the report’s conclusion is based, in part, on the head ref saying that in 19 years of working NFL games he had never lost track of the footballs.

    Say what you will about the AFC championship game, but that actually indicates that if anything fishy happened, it happened once and this was not a consistent and regular occurrence.

  22. “According to both Exponent and Dr. Marlow, (physics experts hired for the report)
    the difference in the average pressure drops BETWEEN the Patriots and Colts footballs is
    statistically significant.

    According to our scientific consultants, the reduction in pressure of the PATRIOTS game balls CANNOT be explained completely by basic scientific principles, such as the Ideal Gas Law, based on the circumstances and conditions likely to have been present on the day of the AFC Championship Game.”

  23. If the intent was to cheat, and the person manipulating the balls simply didn’t do a great job of it, and the timeline on the balls is unbroken, it still all doesn’t matter.

    There is a clear chain of texting evidence that the cheating was willful, known, and pervasive.

    Stop making excuses for the Patriots.

  24. Patriot nation is so shady:: no other organization in the NFL that is as ” decorated ” as they are doesn’t have several dark clouds hanging over head. It’s sad —this league was so much better in the ’70’s & ’80’s when for the most part they all played for the love of the game

  25. If you look at the addendum, they did needle checks on the balls (i.e. they stuck a needle in the balls a bunch of times to see if that resulted in reduced air pressure). According to their tests, testing the air did not measurably reduce the air pressure unless you did it 50+ times. As such, this means that it doesn’t mean that one guy went first which was why his gauge was higher, it means that one gauge was WAY OFF from the other one. Which one is right? Which one was used before the game? No one knows. This is a sloppy investigation. Super sloppy.

  26. Since the balls vary in air and less than 2 lbs, couldn’t that determine that the guy who brought the balls in the john quickly took out air out of each ball. I little release, not measured, would lead to this result

  27. Inserting a pressure gauge in a football does not allow any significant amount of air to escape. You are just making stuff up now.

    Reread the report. The difference was probably due to the temperature of the measuring device itself.

  28. The temperature drop from 72 degrees (when they were inflated) to 48 degrees (halftime) causes a 1.2 psi pressure drop ALL BY ITSELF. The football being soaking wet in the rain can drop it another 0.2-0.3 psi.

    You’s expect footballs to lose as much as 1.5 psi from where they started.

    One FB was exactly 1.6 pounds below the minimum. All of the others were less than that.

    My conclusion: one football either had a small leak or started at 12.3-12.4 psi.

    Then mother nature did everything else.

  29. These numbers, alone, are meaningless. And the analysis — How far below the minimum — is meaningless without knowing the initial state.

    If you want to get meaning out of these numbers you need to know:

    1) What time each measurement was made
    2) What mechanism was each measurement made (i.e. did they use the same scale? or a different one?

    Looking at the two sets of measurements, the second measurement is consistently at a ratio of .025 – .037 lower than the first measure (~.35-.4 PSI lower), there are only two significant deviations (Ball 8 and Ball 11 were closer to .04 lower ~.45 PSI) — That, strongly, suggests that either (1) a different scale was used and the difference is largely due to precision/accuracy of the two scales; or (2) Atmospheric/ Use of the ball caused the difference; or (3) The “deflators” are absurdly accurate in their ability to deflate a very tiny amount between those two measurements.

    There is so much smoke to purposeful deflating of the footballs, that it is very likely that the balls were deflated physically.

    My point is that these two measurements are totally meaningless. And likely have more to do with measurement error than with the actual deflating effort.

  30. Screw that. I want to know what the colts balls were measured and if there’s are all the same I say hammer the patriots

  31. The immediate question that pops into my mind when seeing those numbers is this:

    The whole idea behind the Patriots deflating the balls is that Tom Brady is a perfectionist and wanted the balls set at a PSI bellow what the NFL allows. Ok, I could see that happening.

    However, would someone like that be ok with a system that deflates the balls so unevenly? I mean when you look at those numbers, they are all over the map…. with as much as a 1.6 PSI difference from ball to ball. I couldn’t see a perfectionist being OK with that.

  32. Page 67.
    10.
    Overall, we determined that there was a small window in which it was theoretically possible
    to combine the factors listed in 7a through 7d above to achieve pressure levels that matched
    those recorded for both the Colts and the Patriots on Game Day, regardless of which gauge
    was used to measure the footballs pre-game, test them at halftime, or set them prior to our
    experiments.

    In other words, yes, environment could still have caused the pressure difference.

  33. Read footnote 41 (page 69) for an explanation of the difference between the two readings.

  34. andymannfl says:
    May 6, 2015 3:51 PM

    Florio, 12.5 was the minimum allowable. 1 psi below 12.5 is substantial in % terms. The Colts balls did not suffer the same loss of pressure.

    ——————————————-

    I’ve heard a rumor that four Colt footballs were tested at halftime, and three of the four came below the 12.5 PSI threshold (though not as low as most of the Patriot footballs). So we actually aren’t so sure that the Colts “didn’t suffer the same loss of pressure”.

    Also, 12.5 is the minimum allowable, but that’s only at the time of measurement, 2 hours before the game. As has been discussed ad nauseum, the PSI drop could have been temperature-based. I have no idea which way it goes, but it is correct to assert that these numbers are far less damning than what was initially reported.

  35. And of the two tests done on the 4 Colts balls, one of the gauges showed them to be slightly under-inflated while the other showed they were all properly inflated.

  36. To the guy above who says he read the report and that they didn’t consider the wet ball conditions – did you look at the Addendum from Exponent? They tested that as well based on reported wetness of the balls.

  37. Colts Ball Blakeman Prioleau
    1 12.70 12.35
    2 12.75 12.30
    3 12.50 12.95
    4 12.55 12.15

    Different because two different gauges were used. The gauges themselves were tested and one was found to issue readings 0.3-0.45 higher than the other.

  38. I’m a Patriots fan and I read the report. In my opinion it is likely that the locker room guy let some air out of the footballs in the bathroom on the way to the field.

    The amount of air was minimal and considering the fact that the Patriots balls started at 12.5 and the temp dropped it further, the amount of the deflation was next to nothing. In addition, the Patriot balls have great variations so what was gained and what was the point? it was raining and the balls are switched out BY THE REFs frequently, and the kid handling the balls that are given to the refs on the sideline was not involved.

    The deflation was stupid and poorly accomplished as the PSIs varied greatly but I think the two equipment guys did something based on their texts and tried to do Brady a favor.

    As a Patriots fan I am disappointed and also surprised that the equipment guys may have lied to Belichick and the Krafts.

  39. What I find as damning as anything else is the increased texts that Brady sent the locker room attendant and ballboy. I’m thinking that on a normal day Tom Brady is not hanging out with the locker room attendant or ballboy. That’s where I feel he knew what they were doing. It’s not a lot but it’s still cheating. If you take a quarter out of every role brought into a bank it’s only a quarter. But eventually it will add up. To me a cheater is a cheater. Also there was a fact that Tom gave the locker room attendant and ballboy merchandise autographed by him following the game. Again I am thinking that is not something Tom does on a normal basis. I maybe wrong but again I feel a cheater is a cheater

  40. Last I heard, this was an offense punishable by a fine of about 25k. THAT is because it is not a serious infraction. This is PEANUTS. I wish Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Andrew Luck and Joe fricken’ Montana would now come out and tell everyone that this entire thing is a pile of hooey, and it doesn’t speak ANY ill toward Brady. I have heard ZERO proof that Tom isn’t 100% honest. EVEN if he knew that his guys were deflating balls, it has been PROVEN that NFL officials pumped up the Patriots balls WAY TOO MUCH before. To SIXTEEN POUNDS one time!! Just stop and think about that if you’re Brady!! You’d feel like Rambo at the hands of Brian Dennehy’s character in the jail cell in First Blood. And you’re DAMN RIGHT I’d take some of that air BACK OUT.

  41. Onto the fifth ring next year! Watch out NFL… The pats are gonna be angry. You won’t like them when they’re angry! Then all you haters can hate some more lol! Can’t wait. Here’s to your team being 8-8 next year losers

  42. aingoglia75 says:
    May 6, 2015 5:48 PM

    What I find as damning as anything else is the increased texts that Brady sent the locker room attendant and ballboy. I’m thinking that on a normal day Tom Brady is not hanging out with the locker room attendant or ballboy. That’s where I feel he knew what they were doing. It’s not a lot but it’s still cheating. If you take a quarter out of every role brought into a bank it’s only a quarter. But eventually it will add up. To me a cheater is a cheater. Also there was a fact that Tom gave the locker room attendant and ballboy merchandise autographed by him following the game. Again I am thinking that is not something Tom does on a normal basis. I maybe wrong but again I feel a cheater is a cheater

    ——-

    Brady is a caring guy. He texted Peyton Manning when he was out after his neck surgeries to see how he was doing and check in on him. He did the same with Solder when he had testicular cancer.

    I don’t know the truth here. I see it as very possible that Brady rode the equipment guys hard about making sure the refs kept them as low as possible so they decided to start deflating a bit to keep him happy, possibly without him helping. The difference is not very big or noticeable.

    It’s not surprising that he would check in on a guy being interrogated to see how he’s holding up. And even to ask him what the heck was going on.

  43. Bottom line, 1-2PSI did not effect outcome of Colts game. Superbowl, balls were out of Patriots hands and still won.

  44. Page 198-99 of the report (page 39 Table 10 of the Exponent report). Am I reading this right that they agree that the expected drop in pressure from 70 degrees to 48 is 1.13 for a ball filled to 12.5.

    and on page 7 of their report, Table 4, the average measured drops at halftime between the two testing officials was 1.39 and 1.01.

    So, basically, the numbers were what should have been expected?

  45. I don’t think people realize just how insignificant a difference those measurements actually are. They would literally not be detectable to the touch of an everyday person.

    Not a pats fan, but this story is WAYYYYYY Overblown.

  46. If you look at the report the table where these values are reported it clearly says that Blakeman made the measurement first followed by Prioleau (table 2 on page 6 of the exponent report). So the lower values from Blackeman are not a result of checking the pressure.

    All but three of the Patriots balls had a greater pressure drop than can be expected from the change in temperature (page 111 and 113). What the appears to be more damning is that the Patriots balls experienced a significant pressure drop when compared to the Colts balls which were exposed to the same conditions.

    I don’t think this had any influence on the outcome of the game, but neither did sending a text message or a player wearing the wrong shoes etc. so the NFL will have some sort of punishment for Brady and the Pats.

  47. We know the halftime numbers but not the pregame numbers. We’re still just relying on Walt Anderson’s word that they were roughly 13.0 PSIG for the IND balls and 12.5 PSIG for the NWE balls, and the report makes the somewhat supportable assumption that they were measured with the good gauge, not the bad gauge.

    Without that data, any large punishment gets shredded on appeal.

  48. Wish the NFL had tested MY balls before and after all this nonsense started…

    With that being said…Let’s go Bills…

    Let’s deflate New England’s balls…FOREVER…!!!

  49. I love how nobody expects these guys to account for weather when inflating the balls in the first place. If you’re 1.0 lbs under, it’s still bad as far as I’m concerned. That’s what integrity means.

  50. Still waiting for the measurement of the Colts footballs according to Robert Kraft 3 out of 4 footballs are under pressure as well. I know this is the Pats haters Superbowl (you’ll never get to a real one) but why not post those too.

  51. Here are my issues with the conclusions made by the Wells report.

    I think it’s safe to assume Brady knew that the lockerroom guys were fixing the balls how he wanted them – every team goes through this process, every QB wants the balls a certain way.

    What the Wells report has failed to provide for evidence is that: 1) Brady specifically wanted his footballs at a certain psi that was below regulation, and 2) that any alleged tampering took place after the refs had checked the balls prior to the game.

    The texts of the equipment guys don’t PROVE anything. They don’t say anything about getting the balls below regulation.

    In fact, the texts indicate that the balls were at 16 psi after a Jets game. Doesn’t that muddy the waters a bit? Also, when one guy talks about making the ball like a balloon – are we then assuming that the guy was implying that he’d overinflate the balls *on the sideline during the game*?

    To me, none of it adds up to much. Even the guy calling himself “the deflator”…means that we automatically jump to the conclusion that he’s talking about illegally deflating footballs after they’ve been checked by the refs?

    Too many assumptions must be made to connect the dots in the report for my liking.

  52. New England, forever now known as the land of CHEATERS!!!! Ban the Pat’s from the league for an entire year! And forfeit the SB win they lied and cheated to even gain a SB berth! That would be fair.

  53. “There’s only one clear thing.

    For a 103 days investigation, many question, not nearly as much answers.

    Those guys from the Pats, and Brady, did something wrong. Probably. But maybe not.

    A lot of this is based on a exchange of texts that could very well happen between two acquaintances.

    “You good Joony Boy” Could be Brady interested to know if he was well, since the scandal is close to him

    Anyway, this will create a havec, but i wish everything was clearer. There is crap floating over the water here”
    ——
    You’re not looking at the evidence. Fact: For the first time in 19 years a NFL official has game balls removed from the Referee’s locker by a Pat’s employee, who was in cahoots with Brady. Brady lied about his association. This is what criminals, and LIARS, do to attempt to cover their trail. Then criminals, and LIARS, refuse to cooperate with the investigation, as did Brady.

    There…happy I could clear things up for you! No charge.

  54. Goodell is the worst sports commissioner I have ever seen. Wow. Incredible. Colts state that some unfair practice is going on, alert the league, yet the game is allowed to go on for a full half with the Colts possibly playing at a known disadvantage. A trip to the Super Bowl is on the line. Then he allows the leak of a investigation to mar the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Pays millions to Ted Wells, gives him probably unlimited budget to perform the investigation, releases the report without releasing a definitive yes or no, guilty or not guilty verdict. Effectively asking for the press, the court of public opinion to make the decision for him. Is his incompetence at decision making evident by the two games given to Ray Rice so glaring that he needs first to gauge the sentiment of the public before handing down punishment? What is the play here? Why make a mockery of the league. Why not just execute on your disciplinary powers? Why not just announce that Brady would be suspended, fined, or whatever and release the reports to support the disciplinary action? I don’t see how as the commissioner his job is to flame controversy. I just don’t get how such a man is employed by 32 different billionaires. Ahhhh, and there in lies the conundrum, I’ll never know because I never will be one.

  55. Oh yeah, don’t even mention that Prioleau’s measurements for the Colt’s balls showed that 3/4 were under 12.5.

    Don’t even mention that though…

    Not important…

  56. atahualpaoxford says:
    May 7, 2015 2:20 AM
    Wish the NFL had tested MY balls before and after all this nonsense started…

    With that being said…Let’s go Bills…

    Let’s deflate New England’s balls…FOREVER…!!!
    ______________________________________

    Bills vs. Pats is going to be great this year. Really looking forward to the games. Cassell is going to be better than people are giving him credit for.

    -pats fan.

  57. What were the numbers at the end of the game? Certainly they would have had time to measure all of the PSIs then. And given that the numbers were recorded at the half (as opposed to at the beginning), it would have given them an idea of what happens to PSI during a half of play.

    Then maybe there would be less speculation about whether that much loss of pressure (or not) is normal. The ideal gas law would be less relevant because we could be pointing out that, in the second half, in roughly the same conditions, this is what happened. By the way, does the ideal gas law account for 250+ pound men routinely falling on the ball?

  58. Until the league takes air pressure serious enough to set an actual testing method and a procedure for controlling possession of the balls, I have a hard time considering it an issue. The gauges aren’t even calibrated. All of this tells me that until the Pats were involved, none of this was ever considered a big concern to the league.

  59. There seems to be a common misconception that Brady contacted both McNally and Jastremski. Just for the sake of accuracy – he texted/called Jastremski, but not McNally.

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