It’s still not known what the NFL specifically has found, or will find, in the #DeflateGate investigation. It is known that, when the time comes to assess the evidence, a low threshold will determine the outcome.
Per a league source, the “preponderance of the evidence” standard applies in cases involving allegations of conduct that undermines the integrity of the game. That comes from the league policy manual given to every team.
It’s the standard that applies in civil litigation, a “more-likely-than-not” assessment of the proof that equates to, essentially, a 51-49 test far less stringent than proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which applies in criminal cases.
Although Patriots owner Robert Kraft has insisted on “hard facts as opposed to circumstantial leaked evidence to drive the conclusion of this investigation,” circumstantial evidence could be sufficient to overcome any legal standard — especially a low one like “preponderance of the evidence.”
Depending on the full extent of the evidence obtained during the ongoing investigation, that could be bad news for the Patriots.