NFL initially gave Patriots bad information about PSI readings

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To no surprise, the 274-page report generated by Ted Wells contains plenty of information. And that information includes some bad information that initially was given to the Patriots.

At page 100 of the report, Wells explains that the January 19 letter from NFL senior V.P. David Gardi to Patriots owner Robert Kraft provided two inaccurate facts to the Patriots.

“The inspection, which involved each ball being inspected twice with different gauges, revealed that none of the Patriots’ game balls were inflated to the specifications required under Rule 2, Section 1,” Gardi wrote. “In fact, one of the game balls was inflated to 10.1 psi, far below the requirement of 12-1/2 to 13-1⁄2 psi. In contrast, each of the Colts’ game balls that was inspected met the requirements set forth above.”

The Wells report notes that not a single measurement of any of the New England footballs reflected a PSI reading of 10.1. In fact, only one measurement of one football was as low as 10.5 PSI.

The Wells report also points out that Gardi’s comments about the Colts’ game balls was not accurate. On one of the two gauges used to test the footballs, THREE of the four Colts balls tested were UNDER the limit of 12.5 PSI.

The Wells report essentially shrugs at these arguably significant misstatements of fact, pointing out that Gardi wasn’t personally at the game (they why did he write the letter?) and that the mistakes were “inadvertent.”

But the errors speak to a potential degree of zeal and desire by some in the league office to catch the Patriots in the act. While the Wells report separately concludes that there was no evidence of bias against the Patriots, two clear and obvious misstatements in the first communication on the situation regarding facts that go to the heart of the case — the air pressure in Patriots footballs and the air pressure in Colts footballs — should at least spark healthy curiosity that someone was out to get the Patriots.

Coupled with the fact that multiple league officials knew about the suspicions and that none of them warned the Patriots or relayed the information to someone who possibly would (such as, you know, Commissioner Roger Goodell), it’s hard not to wonder whether one or more people were more concerned about catching the Patriots than dotting all i’s, crossing all t’s, and ultimately acting in the broader best interests of the NFL.

None of this exonerates the Patriots, if as Wells concluded a violation occurred. But if that conclusion arose from a process that involved one or more people who weren’t as concerned about getting it right as they were about getting the Patriots, that’s a problem.

104 responses to “NFL initially gave Patriots bad information about PSI readings

  1. Setup. The fact that Wells actually threw in a footnote that this wasn’t a sting operation isn’t suspicious at all. It is more probable than not that he’s a liar.

  2. I guess what I’m not understanding about this line of thinking is, what would the league have to gain by catching its premiere franchise of the last decade and a half, cheating in the act? Again? Did NFL’s metaphorical stock, or actual real life profits, go up after Spygate? Because I feel like the opposite happened, and it made, not just the Patriots, but the NFL, look bad. Is there any reason to think something different will happen here? What’s the motivation for anyone outside of the Jets organization to want to see the Patriots caught cheating? Until this question is answered, it’s hard to take these types of articles very seriously, even when seemingly valid, yet circumstantial, points are being made.

  3. So, you’re telling me that 75% of the Colts balls were under the specified limit too.

    Where is the investigation into the Colts?

    I’m not a fan of the Colts, Pats or any AFC team.

    There are so many issues with the “testing” and the investigation that I just don’t have any faith in any of the “facts” as put forward by the NFL or the Wells investigation.

    Let “Deflategate” just die a peaceful death…

  4. As a Patriots hater, I’ve had a woody lasting longer than 4 hours after reading the Wells report. Do I call my doctor or the NFL?

  5. No problem at all. The Patriots are guilty as usual. I guess you’re trying to throw their fans a bone but they are fans of proven, habitual cheaters and nothing will ever change that.

  6. I see no problem. If someone would have brought up the subject to the Patriots, Belichick and Kraft would have blown their tops. You saw how Kraft reacted, even after he was caught. They would have called for Goodell’s head. By reading this article, it appears that someone “is out to get” the commissioner.

  7. None of this would matter if Brady just told the truth in the first place. No one believes anything the patriots say at this point.

  8. Glad to see that you are a loyal fan of the Cheatingest team in football.
    How about a little unbiased reporting instead of implausable conjecture?

  9. I still find it funny that all QBs have a PSI preference. Brady works harder off than field than every single QB ever minus 1 or 2.

  10. Maybe the league should actually get a handle of this situation and figure out how to regulate it instead of pointing their finger at the pats. What a f’in joke this is. Did the pats do something wrong? It’s “probable”. Do other teams follow suit. I’d have to say that is “probable” as well but the league sue doesn’t know

  11. Cue the Pats fans screaming that this invalidates the entire investigation………….

  12. Much ado about nothing.

    This is the politics of envy that has sadly become prevalent in America the last 6 years. Losers look at winners with envy and winners look at other winners with inspiration.

  13. The bottom line is the Patriots have history that proves that following rules is optional. Since the league does nothing about it, cheating seems worth it. I just wonder how many times they have NOT been caught!

  14. Am I, or for that matter the NFL, really supposed to have sympathy for a team that secretly lets air out of the football in the bathroom before every game??

    Thats laughable that the NFL should let teams cheat and then give them a private courtesy call when they catch them and tell them to stop.

    If thats how you run the league, cheating would run rampant because the only consequence would be a phone call telling you to please stop!

  15. WHAAAAT? 3 out of 4 Colts Balls were low TOO??

    So where is their penalty?

  16. This whole thing is pathetic. If there is anything other than a $25K fine for this (or maybe $25Kx11) then the Pats are getting screwed. The RULEBOOK says that’s the penalty for tampering with the balls, and there is really no evidence that the balls were tampered with since there is no record of the PSI of the balls before the game.

    And if the Pats are fined $25K, the Colts should be as well. 3/4 of their balls tested below the legal limit.

  17. Just another witch hunt mishandled by the league.

    Can anyone figure out who, FOR SURE, did what and when? Would venture to guess if this went to a civil court, the case would be tossed out, based on everything I read about the Wells report.

    Obviously Wells doesn’t know.

    Another blow against the “shield”.

  18. It’s really sad that the NFL has become a circus sideshow with the actual games on the field almost secondary. I believe the best days of this league are behind us. It’s crumbling before our very eyes. One embarrassment after another, after another, after another. The owners seems to have lost all grasp of reality or PR skills. Goodell should have been fired months ago for, if anything, goodwill towards the players, coaches, and fans.

  19. Yes Brady like every quarterback in history has a preference for the feel of footballs he usus in a game. So he should get a fine of atleast 25000. Which is the puinishment laid out in the rules.
    What I’m curious about is why did they test 11 of the patriots balls at halftime not 12? And more importantly; Why did they only test 4 of the 12 Colts balls at halftime. What was the pressure of the other 8? I’m not saying Brady did nothing wrong, I’m just curious since the “scientific” evidence was based on “incomplete” information to draw an accurate conclusion.

    How motivated do you think Brady and the pats will be this year. Could be an interesting year since in 07 after the “spygate” fiasco they ran the table and lost on a fluke catch in the superbowl.

  20. I don’t understand, all the haters say that Goodell and Kraft are buddies. Goodell would never screw over Kraft.

    Yet here it is, in pretty darn plain writing that they straight out lied to Kraft about what happened.

    There’s a lot more going on here in the backroom political arena of the NFL than just some under-inflated balls.

  21. Prove to me that somebody at the NFL or the Colts manufactured the text messages, and I will agree that the NFL screwed up this investigation.

  22. And we still only have Walt Anderson’s word the pregame measurements were all at least 12.5. The simplest explanation still makes the most sense: the balls submitted were underinflated and were approved. Just like Aaron Rodgers said about how they submit overinflated balls and it’s up to the refs.

  23. I haven’t yet read the entire Wells report, but didn’t Dean Blandino state during a press conference at the Super Bowl that none of the halftime test results were written down?

  24. So essentially what it sounds like is that the investigator reached a specific conclusion (the Pats cheated) and then went about with that bias in mind. They said that none of the Colts balls were under-inflated, shrugging off evidence that they actually were. When you do that it’s no different than prosecutorial misconduct when a DA ignores evidence that exonerates the man or woman he’s put on trial. Not sure how anyone can look at the report as valid given that fact.

  25. Which explains even more so why BB didn’t know. Because one would assume that if the league did send a note on this to Kraft and/or BB that it would have been stopped – or for Patriots haters out there never uncovered thereafter.

  26. As is usually the norm for Goody and his losers, making an mountain out of an ant hill is their folly. How do all concerned disregard the facts as well as the entire Colt’s football pressures and actually impugn Tom Brady and others? It appears that the NFL is attempting to enlarge their chest to show the world just how powerful they can be for the “integrity of the game”, while killers and abusers are hand slapped, cocaine owners and alcoholics are fined, etc. The Colts and the Ravens should be ashamed of themselves for not being men but only A-holes in not facing the problem (if one even existed) directly with Kraft et al. What an unnecessary fiasco this is.

  27. If the Colts balls measured below the standard PSI, it gives credence to Belichick’s theory about weather impacting PSI. It sounds as if Brady liked to have the Patriots close to the low end (the job of those two morons) and the PSI would drop from there. However, Brady should have given the league his cell phone texts. That’s what bothers me here as a Patriots fan. Let the chips fall where they may.

  28. If 3 of the 4 Colts balls were under-inflated, and the NFL doesn’t launch in investigation into that fact, does that not prove they are simply out to get the Patriots?

  29. Tom Brady*, Bill Belichick**, and Rober Kraft*** will never escape a legacy of cheating.

    *Denotes Cheater
    ** Denotes Serial Cheater
    ***Denotes Serial Enabler

  30. Where is the investigation into the shenanigans in the league office? Why wasn’t Mort or Jay Glazer interviewed to track down the sources of the leaks? What about league officials stealing footballs? The NFL continues to flail like a fish out of water under the ginger hammer.

  31. Ted Wells Report Revision 1:

    Patriots balls were deflated. Colts balls were deflated.

    Balance Due: $3,509,029.99

    Ted Wells, Esq.

  32. The first time the Colts balls were tested, they were all 12.50 or above.

    The 2nd time all balls were tested (patriots balls included), there was a slight drop by about .15 psi. Which then put 3 of the Colts balls at just a hair under 12.50.

    All 4 balls by the Colts were at the proper level and were only “deflated” after multiple measurements.

    On the other hand, ALL of the deflated patriots balls were below 12.50 on the first AND second test and several of them less than 11.00.

    The Pats cheated… Stop trying to muddy the waters.

  33. So they Vikings and another team were seen heating balls on national TV to effect pressure. Aaron Rodgers admitted he has his ball attendant mess with the pressure in hopes of getting it by the refs.

    Will they also face punishment ?

  34. Wait, so 3 of the 4 COLTS balls were ALSO underinflated? Then how is this a Patriots problem? This seems like a systemic thing, or an environmental thing, or an improper instrument thing.

    Calling it now. $50K fine for Brady and thats it.

  35. Does anyone believe that they were not deflating foot all after the text messages?

  36. Wait, three of the Colts balls were also below the 12.5 psi minimum?

    As a Pats fan, Brady deserves punishment but what the heck is with the Colts balls being below the threshold and there are no sanctions to be had against Luck or the Colts?

    This whole thing reeks of the usual NFL crap; teams are always looking for an edge. In this regard it is widely known that the QBs mess with the footballs one way or the other, i.e. Rodgers, et al. and to the fact the NFL did indeed set a ‘trap’ of sorts. Call it a sting, trap, whatever it was there.

    But to my earlier point, Brady needs to be punished more for just not coming clean than the actual deed itself.

  37. “THREE of the four Colts balls tested were UNDER the limit of 12.5 PSI.”

    This is nothing more than a witch hunt to burn the Patriots organization. Of course Indianapolis has a history of cheating including pumping crowd noise into the RCA dome but of course nothing to see here.

  38. Anyone else find it weird that Brady pushed for a rule change in 2006 to allow visiting teams to use their own balls and not have to use the home team provided balls. Since that rule change the Pats have been TOP 5 in least fumbles every year but 1. Before the rule change they were not in the top 10 for at least the 5 previous years. That’s one heck of a coincidence.

  39. This is like the old Far Side comic where the dog stands behind the washer as the cat approaches the sign, “CAT FUD,” painted on the open dryer door. “Oh please, oh please…”

    Of course, it also reminds me of the one where the dog actually catches the car it was chasing: now what, it must wonder?

    Then again, this also reminds me of the one where an overconfident dog is driving away in a car, turns to his lowly dog friend on the lawn and says, “Hah, hah, hah Biff. After we go to the drugstore and the post office, I’m going to the vet’s to get tutored.”

    Enjoy the drive while you can, New England.

  40. The one piece of information I would have liked to have read was the return emails to Grigson about how the NFL planned to address these allegations he forwarded. I think it is natural that he would have received a reply.

  41. All this stuff is noise. The texts say everything. Of course Brady was deflating the footballs. That’s all that matters in the end right? I wouldn’t even care that much about it if they weren’t so defiant. I was always taught that when you mess up, admit it & take your lumps. I guess that’s just not the Patriot Way though.

  42. Excellent points, Mr. F.

    Brady having knowledge of “deflating” doesn’t mean he intentionally broke the rules if his intent was to have the balls inflated at the low end of the minimum requirements to make the balls as soft as possible while still being within the rules.

  43. The fact that Wells pointed early in the report to ALL of the PSI readings of the Patriot footballs on 2 gauges, but only stated the PSI readings for the Colts’ balls on 1 gauge is more than a little biased.
    He hid the fact until near the end of the report that the 2nd gauge measured 3 of the 4 COLTS footballs as UNDER 12.5 PSI.
    That’s pathetic and obviously a biased report!
    He could have stated all of the PSI readings, but didn’t want to muddy his already held belief of Patriots guilt.
    Even if Brady is guilty, nothing about this report,
    Gardi or Kensil was unbiased.

  44. Clearly the Colts were cheating and they need to be held to the same standards as the Pats if any discipline is handed down.

  45. “Coupled with the fact that multiple league officials knew about the suspicions and that none of them warned the Patriots or relayed the information to someone who possibly would (such as, you know, Commissioner Roger Goodell), it’s hard not to wonder whether one or more people were more concerned about catching the Patriots than dotting all i’s, crossing all t’s, and ultimately acting in the broader best interests of the NFL.”

    So, are you saying it’s in the best interest of the NFL to allow a team to cheat and warn them to stop only when you know people will be looking for said cheating?

  46. Just read the text messages. Wonder why Brady wouldn’t submit his texts or emails? That is what drove in the more probable than not language that equates to guilty. Brady refused to cooperate so that at least his supporters can point to a lack of smoking gun. But the refusal is pretty damning. Kind of like refusing a field sobriety test and breathalyzer – automatically lose your license for a year in my state.

    Nobody thinks the Colts would have won that game. This report only investigated that AFCC game, but now the question is how long has this been going on?

  47. The proper inflation of the balls was established for the second half of the the AFC title game. They outscored the Colts 28-0. I’m really ticked off at Brady. Blew a chance to beat em’ 56-0 had he just used the regulation psi for the first half. Oh well. Now they can just hang that score on Grigson and the Colts this fall when they head to Indy.

    I realize opposing fans are loving all of this. But none of them actually believe the Patriots have been winning because of one psi below “regulation” in the football. Didn’t seem to bother Tom when he torched the league’s best pass defense for 37-50, 328 yds and 4 TD’s in the Super Bowl. Let’s face it. The cover up is worse than the crime here. Tom should have just come clean at the first press conference.

  48. Let me modify my earlier post just slightly.

    I’m not sure about Ted Wells’ intelligence. It’s possible that he does not know that the comparison is inappropriate.

  49. Players that have never failed a drug test, know when they will be tested. They get the opportunity to ‘get clean’ before the test. Players that have failed drug tests are not afforded the same latitude, they are tested more frequently and with less advance warning.

    The Patriots have been guilty of cheating in the past…using the analogy of players…..subsequent ‘tests’ are random and have measures in place to ‘catch’ attempts to cheat the test.

    The Integrity of the game is bolstered by the act of successfully catching cheaters. Kudos to the NFL officials that had the guts to catch them!

  50. After reading the report it is becoming more apparent that “All of the Above” seems to be the right answer about what happened. Patriots fans have consistently felt like some kind of sting happened and although Wells doesn’t reach that conclusion, the facts in his report certainly support it. Unfortunately, there is also significant evidence of something fishy going on with footballs.

    The one thing I keep mentioning that I don’t think has been highlighted at all is the logical inconsistency in taking a position that Tom Brady and these staffers systemically and repeatedly violated the rules and Walt Anderson’s indication that he had never lost track of game balls before in his 19 year career.

    Walt Anderson has reffed many Patriots games in those 19 years and apparently never saw this happen before, including two other Patriots games last year.

  51. So let me get this straight. The NFL thought the Patriots were cheating, the report shows that indeed they were cheating, and the logical course of action was to tell them please don’t cheat?

  52. That is a HUGE problem. It shows that smearing the pats took precedence over the integrity of the game.

    If several Colts balls were also under inflated then why is there no controversy there?

  53. “On one of the two gauges used to test the footballs, THREE of the four Colts balls tested were UNDER the limit of 12.5 PSI.”

    “While the Wells report separately concludes that there was no evidence of bias against the Patriots, two clear and obvious misstatements in the first communication on the situation regarding facts that go to the heart of the case — the air pressure in Patriots footballs and the air pressure in Colts footballs — should at least spark healthy curiosity that someone was out to get the Patriots.”

    Talk about tainted……

  54. It doesn’t matter what the report says, Brady and the Patriots have already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion long ago. Based on all the circumstantial evidence dug up and presented by Wells, no court in the country would be able to get a conviction, but Roger Goodell won’t let that stop him from levying a huge fine and probably suspending Brady and Belichick for a whole lot of games next season. I just hope that Garoppolo is ready to take the reins and run.

  55. I would say that the “three of four Colts balls were under 12.5 psi” is the smoking gun.

    Then you have to conclude that the atmospheric conditions (as proven by science) do have a significant effect on inflation psi, providing the reasonable doubt to how much, if any the Patriots deflated their footballs, or were the Colts doing the same thing also?

  56. Interesting take. It does sound like like they shrugged off the psi in the Indy footballs and if there was an issue prior to the game why weren’t they re-checked before kickoff. (also why were the colts in the game in first half and Brady had pedestrian numbers and then came out on fire in the second half. You even have the colts players chiming in this morning saying they got their butts kicked no matter what the pressure was.

    You just wonder if it was reversed and NE lost 45-7 (or whatever it was) and claimed the colts used a ball with air pressure below the required amount – would there be collective outrage and media types curled up in the fetal position? Probably no. The NE Patriots would probably get the same fine as Atlanta, Cleveland and the NYJ just received.

  57. Wait a minute, 3 of the 4 Colts balls tested were under limit as well? Just as the texts changed my opinions yesterday, this news changes it back. Why isn’t that a headline somewhere? Certainly gives credence to the science of the temperature changing the pressure and gives Brady the ability to say “I told the guys to keep it on the low side of the limits because I don’t like them over inflated.”

  58. Oh this is going to be fun next season! A pissed off Patriot team ripping apart everyone in their way. The Colts game could go into triple digits. I can’t wait!

  59. Actually, as noted in the past, the Pats found out the refs were looking at the balls, so they HID their balls and started using the Colts’ balls late in the first half. So you can’t blame the Colts for under-inflating their balls when they were in the Pats’ possession!

  60. Why aren’t the Colts being punished? Wells stated that 75% of the Colts’ footballs were illegal so WHY DO THE COLTS GET AWAY SCOTT FREE?

  61. I want to say it’s up to the equipment manager to say “Sorry Tom but we can’t legally inflate the balls any lower than this” when he asks.

    Issue being, it’s Tom Brady. If he insisted the equipment manager deflate to lower levels that legal, and the equipment manager said no, my guess is there would be a new EQM in there the next week. One that WOULD be willing to deflate past legal.

    I can’t help but see both a suspension for Brady and a ban from the NFL for the equipment manager. In spite of all of the specious evidence.

  62. Embarrassing the shield is more profitable than protecting it.

    This is literally a mountain made of a molehill. Different QBs prefer different hardness on their footballs. Its not a big advantage. Are Aaron Rodgers Receivers dropping footballs? When the ref notices that they are over inflated, they deflate them and move on.

    The Bountygate scandal, was so stupid as well. Uh if a guy has a hurt shoulder, Hit him there. DUH, common sense.

    The Ray rice issue and AP issues, the NFL could not have made those any worse.

    I wish that Goodell would get fired for embarrassing the league. But apparently it makes money.

  63. A Senior VP from the NFL writes a letter to the Patriots owner based on information that was not accurate and/or information was conveniently left out…such as, 3 of the Colts balls tested under the NFL limits.

    In his letter to Bob Kraft, this Senior VP, Mr Gardi claimed balls were under-inflated as low as 10.1 psi…when in fact, the lowest recorded psi was 10.5 and only one football was 10.5 psi.

    Does it look like the NFL was eager to make the situation appear to be worse than it actually was?

    The Wells report claims these mistakes were “inadvertent”.

    One mistake, maybe…but two mistakes about the actual PSI of the footballs the NFL tested, pointing out that 3 of the Colts balls were also under-inflated.

    I have a hard time believing the NFL conducted an accurate investigation and the motives of Mr Gardi should be questioned.

  64. Does it concern anyone else that one of the text messages said the refs screwed them because the footballs were at 16? Isn’t that way over the top of the range at 13.5? I can imagine why Tom would be mad at that. The refs are in charge of checking the footballs and inflating them pre-game if they don’t feel right, but gives them ones that aren’t even in the range either? This is all so stupid.

  65. Brady may be one of the best QBs pro football has ever seen, but guess what? Brady and the organization he is a part of lack any sense of character and integrity and that is the most important aspect of their entire resume covering the last decade or more. It outweighs titles and wins.

  66. Why are we talking about the Colts balls being under inflated? It wasn’t just one game that the ball boys were deflating balls for the Patriots. The Patriot balls were going to be deflated regardless of the outside temperature. They were likely deflated dating back to 2006 when Brady wanted control over the home balls.

  67. No question now…Peyton Manning is the best ever.
    Peyton looks great right now. I can’t imagine him lying and cheating. Brady’s power ranking has shifted to between Elvis Grbac and Matt Cassell.

  68. Since most of the idiots in the gotcha media can barely read here’s a summary of the Wells report :we got nothing, balls were all over the map from 10 to 16, Brady doesn’t like 16 and we have NO actual proof Brady did anything.

  69. Cheaters:

    Pete Rose
    Lance Armstrong
    Barry Bonds
    Alex Rodriguez
    Tom Brady
    Bill Bilicheat…….
    Jerry Rice needs to be added to this list TOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! #stickem

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