On Tuesday, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will present his appeal to Commissioner Roger Goodell in the #DeflateGate controversy. Late last week, the deadline passed for submitting exhibits.
One key document that should have appeared on the list of materials submitted on Brady’s behalf was generated by the American Enterprise Institute. Apart from the fairly obvious flaw (obvious enough that even we caught it) regarding the respective air pressure reductions in the 11 footballs used by the Patriots and the four footballs used by the Colts, AEI discovered potentially serious flaws with the nuts-and-bolts of the science underpinning the conclusions reached by Ted Wells and company.
Most importantly, AEI has concluded that the “Wells report’s statistical analysis cannot be replicated by performing the analysis as described in the report,” a phenomenon explained more bluntly in the opening paragraph of the AEI report like this: “[O]ur replication of the report’s analysis finds that it relies on an unorthodox statistical procedure at odds with the methodology the report describes.”
One of the authors of the AEI report, Stan Veuger, recently told Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post that AEI was “astonished” by the mistake.
“It was really clumsy. It’s the kind of mistake you’d see in freshman statistics class,” Veuger told Jenkins.
The AEI report also astutely focuses on discrepancies regarding the two pressure gauges available to referee Walt Anderson and his crew. The Wells report disregarded Anderson’s “best recollection” that he used the gauge that measured the footballs at a higher level when inflating them before the game, presumably because that gauge would have translated to a drop in pressure wholly consistent with the operation of the Ideal Gas Law. During the Angry Ted Wells conference call, however, it was explained that it didn’t matter which gauge was used, and that all permutations of pressure-gauge usage resulted in evidence of tampering.