The 10 things that still bother me about #DeflateGate

Nearly 20 months after the football-following world became aware of the phenomenon known as #DeflateGate, the most tangible effect arrives tonight, when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady misses a game because of it. He’ll eventually miss three more, which you probably already know but, hey, I need to be complete.

Speaking of complete, here’s a list of not one or four but 10 things about the #DeflateGate situation that still make me feel incomplete.

Patriots fans likely experience a different feeling than that. One that makes them feel something like the notorious courtroom sketch of Brady looks.

1. The NFL disregarded the concerns expressed by the Colts.

This all got started when the Colts informed the league office of concerns about the inflation (or lack thereof) in Patriots footballs. This prompted some to believe that New England ended up being the subject of a sting operation, with the Colts and the NFL laying a trap for the home team in the AFC championship game.

But that’s not what happened. The league office regarded the complaints as an example of the gamesmanship that commonly occurs in football, with teams pissing and/or moaning about other teams’ tactics so frequently that it becomes background noise for the NFL.

This one, however, shouldn’t have simply been ignored — if, as the NFL would later claim, messing with air pressure represents a serious affront to the integrity of the game. It should have been taken seriously, with plans made either for putting the Patriots on notice that the league will be paying attention (which is what some think Commissioner Paul Tagliabue would have done) or for truly catching the Patriots in the act, with the right plan for creating clear, unmistakable evidence that someone had taken air out of the footballs.

Instead, a Keystone Cops clusterfudge emerged after linebacker D’Qwell Jackson intercepted a Brady pass and the Colts renewed a complaint that, while initially disregarded, suddenly was treated like a capital crime.

2. The NFL didn’t understand the operation of the Ideal Gas Law.

Instantly suspicious of the Patriots, a small army of league officials convened in the officials’ locker room to measure the air pressure of the footballs used by New England’s offense. The suspicions heightened as the numbers emerging from the pressure gauges fell under the mandatory minimum of 12.5 PSI.

Those suspicions quickly became a presumption of cheating, which some (including me) believe culminated in an effort to work backward to prove it.

The presumption of cheating trumped common sense and science. Anyone who owns a car and lives in a cold climate knows that the air pressure in the tires drops during the winter months. Some, depending on education and the retention thereof, know about the Ideal Gas Law.

The equation is PV = nrT, where the P means pressure and the T connotes temperature. When the other three variables (volume, molecules of gas, and the universal gas constant) are unchanged, a reduction in temperature necessarily means a reduction in volume.

As PFT surmised a week after the Ted Wells report was released, NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent admitted during the internal appeal hearing in Brady’s case that Vincent didn’t know air pressure drops as the temperature does. With Vincent being the top non-Commissioner football executive in the league and, when the balls were being checked, in the room, that’s a problem for the league — the kind of problem that should have resulted in a quick decision to declare the evidence to be inconclusive, to warn all teams going forward that attention will be paid to this issue, and to move on.

Indeed, if there had been cheating, the combined effects of intentional removal of air plus the operation of the Ideal Gas Law would have resulted in PSI measurements much lower than the numbers that actually were detected. Once the data was released as numbers buried in the lengthy Ted Wells report, the league never acknowledged the common-sense reality that, if Jim McNally had removed air from the balls while in the bathroom on the way to the playing field for 90 seconds, tampering plus temperature drop would have created numbers much lower than those that were measured.

3. The NFL’s two pressure gauges were badly out of sync.

The NFL’s lack of scientific knowledge was matched by the NFL’s lack of scientific method. Apart from the absence of the kind of laboratory standards that would reliably and accurately measure air pressure in relation to outdoor temperature, duration of exposure, and amount of time in a warmer environment prior to testing, the tools used for the determination of PSI displayed dramatically different readings.

As to most of the measures, the two gauges had a variance of 0.3 to 0.45 PSI. Those discrepancies, coupled with an assumption regarding the pregame use of the gauges that required the league’s second-hand-smoke-doesn’t-cause-cancer scientific experts to disregard the best recollection of referee Walt Anderson, should have resulted in a scientifically responsible finding that the evidence that cheating occurred in connection with the AFC title game is inconclusive, at best.

4. The NFL leaked false information to the media.

The most egregious and problematic aspect of #DeflateGate continues to be the reality that someone at the league office leaked false information to Chris Mortensen of ESPN and, separately, Peter King of regarding the air-pressure measurements taken at halftime of the AFC championship game. The news that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs were at least two pounds below the 12.5 PSI minimum turned a curiosity into a collective conclusion that someone cheated — with the only remaining questions being who did it, and who knew about it.

Even if the league didn’t deliberately spread false data in an effort to justify the multi-million-dollar fishing expedition that eventually proved cheating (even if it didn’t), the NFL failed to correct the misinformation, validating the falsehood and setting the stage for the latest, and likely final, appearance of Ted Wells in an NFL investigation.

It wasn’t as if an effort didn’t occur to get the real numbers. When NFL Media reported PSI measurements that conflicted with ESPN’s during the Super Bowl XLIX pregame show, I called multiple sources who presumably were in position to set the record straight, explaining that NBC currently was on the air with a five-hour pregame show and that this was the best opportunity to get the truth out to the public. Every source who presumably was in position to share the real measurements claimed to not have immediate access to the numbers. None of them ever hinted that Mortensen’s numbers were anything other than 100 percent correct.

5. Ted Wells failed to secure an admission from Jastremski or McNally.

If, as Ted Wells concluded, John Jastremski and Jim McNally were engaged in a scheme to deflate footballs, Ted Wells should have found a way to get one of them to crack. Wells failed to do so, robbing the case of the smoking gun it so badly needed.

The most egregious error came when the Wells team interviewed McNally without having noticed the text message in which he calls himself “the Deflator,” even though the Wells team had the text message in its possession. That’s the kind of oversight that gets experienced lawyers sued for malpractice and young lawyers fired from their jobs.

If Wells had known about “the Deflator” text message, it would have been much easier to grill McNally to the point at which he broke — especially if, for example, Wells had finagled a way to take McNally’s statement under oath, allowing the possibility of a perjury prosecution to pressure him into giving Wells the admission the case so badly needed.

There was still one more chance to put Jastremski and McNally under oath. Inexplicably, however, Commissioner Roger Goodell decided not to require testimony from either of them at the internal appeal hearing regarding Brady’s suspension.

6. Don Yee gave Tom Brady bad advice. (Or Brady ignored good advice.)

Throughout his playing career, Tom Brady has accepted below-market offers from the Patriots, presumably against the advice of agent/lawyer Don Yee. In #DeflateGate, Brady either ignored Yee’s advice again, or Yee simply provided bad advice.

First, Ted Wells offered at one point to simply accept a collection of potentially relevant text messages and emails sent by Brady on his phone in lieu of examining the actual device. Instead of accepting the offer and giving Wells a limited slice of the information Brady had sent and received (which, obviously, would have allowed Brady and Yee to conceal any incriminating messages, if they so desired), Brady persisted in his refusal to give Wells anything — and that decision greased the skids for the four-game suspension.

Second, Brady stubbornly refused to admit the obvious fact when testifying during his appeal hearing that he prefers footballs to be inflated at the low end of the permissible range. By coming off as evasive on this important foundational subject, Brady created the impression that he was trying to conceal guilt by obscuring his motivation to arrange for footballs to be inflated below the minimum limits. It was a blow to his credibility that did nearly as much harm as the missing cell phone.

7. Roger Goodell delegated the decision to Troy Vincent.

In an effort to massage the optics that would have emerged from Commissioner Roger Goodell making the decision to suspend Brady and then presiding over the appeal of it, Goodell delegated the initial decision to Troy Vincent. But does anyone really think Vincent did anything other than what Goodell wanted him to do?

The effort to wash Goodell’s hands of the initial decision so that he could credibly handle the appeal comes off as  contrived. Surely, Vincent knew that Goodell approved of the four-game suspension on which he ultimately would rule.

By making Brady’s missing cell phone the centerpiece of the ruling on appeal (even though Goodell should have sent the matter back to Vincent for possibly enhanced discipline based on new evidence of wrongdoing), Goodell was able to gloss over the potential P.R. problems that would have come from Goodell upholding the suspension based on the same facts that supported his top lieutenant’s decision. Regardless, Goodell should have put his name on the initial ruling.

So why didn’t he? If he had, Goodell may have found himself pressured to delegate the appeal process beyond the league office. Four years ago, Goodell learned the hard way the perils of entrusting the decision to someone not currently employed at 345 Park Avenue, when he asked former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to resolve the appeals of the player suspensions in the Saints bounty scandal.

Tagliabue overturned Goodell’s decision.

8. Roger Goodell distorted a key portion of Brady’s testimony.

Goodell’s rejection of Brady’s denial of cheating hinged in part on a conclusion that Brady claimed that an increase in communications with John Jastremski after the January 2015 AFC title game occurred only because of the upcoming task of preparing footballs for the Super Bowl, and that Brady did not talk to Jastremski about the allegations of tampering with football air pressure. But that’s not what Brady said.

Brady testified that he spoke to Jastremski for both reasons, rendering not credible one of the primary bases for the attack on Brady’s credibility.

It’s a subtle yet important sign of the lengths to which the league office went to, when necessary, overlook the truth in order to support a conclusion reached at halftime of the Colts-Patriots game, when the PSI readings were coming in under 12.5 PSI, when know one bothered to notice the low-tech scientific explanation for that phenomenon, and when everyone connected to the league office decided that the Patriots had been caught with their hand pressed to the bottom of the cookie jar.

9. Roger Goodell failed to treat this as an equipment violation.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association have negotiated a fine schedule that applies when players engage in an equipment violation. The list of equipment violations includes the use of Stickum, a foreign substance that makes it easier to grip a football.

If guilty as charged, Brady was involved in a scheme aimed at making it easier to grip a football. So why wasn’t this treated as an equipment violation? Neither the league nor Goodell ever have supplied a plausible explanation to that straightforward and simple question.

Disagreeing with the decision of two colleagues who, like him, had been randomly assigned to hear the federal appeal of the Brady case, the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit hammered away at the point that Brady, if guilty, should have been slapped at worst with a fine in the amount of $8,268.

10. The NFL still refuses to disclose the results of PSI spot checks.

Given that the NFL had never previously considered the behavior of air pressure inside footballs during actual game conditions, the league had an opportunity in 2015 to devote the entire season to studying exactly what happens when footballs are exposed to a wide range of circumstances. With a total of 333 preseason, regular season, and postseason games, the league could have compiled enough data to either reinforce, or debunk, the convoluted, assumption-driven assessment from the Ted Wells report that the Patriots must have cheated in the AFC title game.

Instead, the league opted to engage in a series of spot checks. Despite the plain terms of the policy applicable to the measurement of PSI levels at specific games, NFL Security intervened in the process, harvesting the numbers and whisking them away from view. The NFL also declined to ever make any of the measurements available for public scrutiny.

Why the lack of transparency? Because, surely, multiple games were played last year with footballs that deviated from the 12.5 PSI minimum, especially on very cold days. By releasing that information along with a finding that no violations had occurred, the decision to punish the Patriots and Brady based on PSI numbers falling within the range that the Ideal Gas Law would have predicted would have become even more glaring.

Based on the 10 factors outlined above, the league’s failure to prove cheating in connection with the 2015 AFC title game remains very glaring. While the evidence suggests that something fishy was generally happening, Ted Wells failed to prove that it happened on the day in question, which is ultimately what the Patriots and Brady were punished for.

Even if it did happen that day, the NFL has failed to adequately explain how an apparent technicality influenced by atmospheric forces the league previously didn’t comprehend triggers the level of scrutiny and punishment the Patriots and Brady endured, especially when catching Brady blatantly using Stickum to better grip the ball would have resulted in a fine of less than $10,000 for a first offense.

Patriots fans continue to care deeply about this outcome, as they should. Fans of every other team should care about it because, in time, their favorite team could find itself on the wrong end of a sloppy, clumsy, incomplete, results-driven investigation, too.

115 responses to “The 10 things that still bother me about #DeflateGate

  1. Well the appeals court upheld the suspension so it doesn’t much matter what you or anyone else thinks. And thank goodness for that!

  2. As a fan of football, I will never forgive the NFL for this one:

    4. The NFL leaked false information to the media.

    The NFL could have corrected those numbers at any time. They were asked to correct those numbers multiple times by the Patriots. They chose not to. Nothing could be more corrupt than spreading (or choosing not to correct) misinformation about one of your teams. To me, this one tells you absolutely everything you need to know about deflategate, “integrity,” and Roger Goodell.

  3. Give it a rest already!! Is there not something else you could write about on opening Sunday? No, not you. Instead, you follow around a cow with a shovel so you can serve up a steaming pile. Move on!!

  4. This is a good summary that clearly points out the fact that, in the end, this was more an example of Goodell and the NFL screwing this up than anything Tom Brady did or did not do. It could have been handled better many times along the way. Brady’s reputation will forever be unfairly tarnished. The Patriots will continue to be hated for nothing more than winning which, hopefully, they will continue to do for a long time.

  5. This was the nfls way of saying to NE – no more cheating. And we’re watching everything you do. From
    Now on. Enough

    You know it and everybody knows it.

  6. Yep. Patriots got screwed on this one. I’m a Bills fan so I wanted Brady to be exposed as a lying cheat but after the facts came out, it was obvious that there was nothing to see here and it was time to move on. And yes, everyone should be worried about it for the reasons given by the author. Any of our teams could be the victim of some ham fisted BS perpetrated by the league office at any time now.

  7. You hit the nail on the head except you neglect to mention the role ex-NY Jet executives played in the obvious witchhunt.

    The sad thing is even though you so eloquently laid this out PFT will still have a “Brady is a proven cheater” contingent that refuses to acknowledge fact or truth.

  8. The ridiculous and real tyranny that the commissioner displayed should have been enought to make every warm blooded American throw air punches and whip their NFL teams hat into the dirt. An allegiance to another team is understandable, but this was bigger than that. The pitchfork-torch bearing and blood thirsty 31 team nation felt absolved from losing to the Patriots with Tom Bradys sentence. Meanwhile they sold the Patriotic souls that they will bask under the shadows of the American flag today. Cheating was never a question in America, nor justice. This tyrannical cancer will spread if gone unchecked. Thanks for opening the door Brady haters.

  9. The one thing that bothers me about this entire article: You fail to mention that Brady destroyed his phone and only lightly dismiss it as a “missing phone”.

    Anyone that goes to such lengths to avoid transparency is guilty. It’s so easy to not be proven guilty when the key evidence gets destroyed.

  10. Nine out of the ten items listed were things the NFL didn’t do or did wrong. Only one was attributable to Brady. Yet Brady and the Patriots are punished and the NFL skates. It seems more likely than not that the NFL contributed heavily to the outcome either through gross incompetence at best or outright conspiracy at worst. There should have been/should still be consequences for Roger and the league.

  11. Let’s not forget that the league is a form of entertainment. People enjoy drama and drama does not happen without CONFLICT.

    The league is intentionally creating conflict and drama.

  12. 9. Roger Goodell failed to treat this as an equipment violation.


    come on…..

    the reason this is so much more serious than an equipment violation is that it wasn’t just one guy using stickum…. it was a conspiracy among at least 3 Patriots, and probably numerous others, to intentionally bias the game, circumvent officials, and provide arguably a MAJOR advantage in pass accuracy to a team who has already been caught numerous times cheating

    the Patriots cheat period… they are almost certainly still doing it in yet to be discovered ways, and overall they have gotten off light over the years

    the asterisk will always be there

  13. The best lawyer available couldn’t prove OJ was guilty of in a blatantly obvious slam dunk murder case.

    The Patriots also got away with cheating once before. Football fans aren’t lawyers, we don’t need Ted Wells to tell us the Pats over-inflated footballs. Let Pats fans delude themselves, the majority of the rest of us will never stop believing they cheated.

  14. Non-Patriots fans are gonna still treat this like Hillary supporters against Trump. No matter what information comes out they’re never gonna change their minds.

  15. “Well, the Pats are my favorite team, so they must be guilty”. Mike, you’ve made all the same arguments before, and the reasonable people listen/agree, and the unreasonable/stupid don’t. Everyone here loves football, but to be so blind because its a rival team is damaging to the sport. Although I will admit when the phony salary cap and bounty punishments were handed out, i didn’t really pay attention.

  16. Another point of contention is that if at the time of the halftime measurements, the league was NOT taking into account the Ideal Gas Law and simply looking at the PSI measurement, then why were the Colts NOT punished when 3 out of 4 of their footballs came in under 12.5? If you can stick a needle in 12 footballs in 90 seconds as the haters claim, then the whole excuse that they ran out of time to check all of the Colts’ footballs is hogwash. The NFLs sting went to hell when the Colts balls were measured, so they stopped and excluded it from their narrative further promoting their bias and ineptitude.

  17. I appreciate the effort Mike, but those that believe they cheated will always believe it, even if God himself came down from heaven and explained it.

  18. Al Capone was busted on tax evasion charges even though it is widely known that his violations of the law were much broader. The Patriots only got busted on underinflated balls and video taping other teams from the wrong spot even though their cheating goes much deeper than what most of the public is aware of.

  19. “Inexplicably, however, Commissioner Roger Goodell decided not to require testimony from either of them at the internal appeal hearing regarding Brady’s suspension.”

    Inexplicable? I don’t think so.

    At the appeal hearing, both sides called people whose testimony would help their cases. Neither side called people whose testimony would hurt their cases. So, it’s easy to explain why Goodell did not required JJ or JM to testify.

    JJ and JM had been interviewed multiple times … by NFL Security and by Ted Wells. Every time, they denied that there was a scheme to deflate footballs after they were inspected by game officials. Goodell realized that they would not change their testimony at the hearing. So if you’re committed to affirming the suspension, it’s clearly better not to make those denials part of the hearing record.

  20. This is the best, most balanced summary of DeflateGate that I’ve seen. Unfortunately, because this is America circa 2016, logic and common sense are quickly rendered moot when acknowledgement of said logic and common sense will cause someone to reconsider a belief unsupported by fact. The only other element to this entire affair that wasn’t addressed is the assumption that if purposeful deflation did occur, it would result in a competitive advantage. What Brady has done since half-time of the Colts game would seem to be impossible if he was reliant on under inflated footballs. Hell, even in the game in question, his 2nd half performance was better than the first half by a wide margin.

  21. I can’t believe they paid so much for that joke of an investigation. I remember someone asked Ted wells about the Ideal Gas Law and he had no clue what they were talking about. I’m a Texans fan but I thought it was head hunting the second I found out it wasn’t going to be treated as an equipment violation. And the fact that the NFL spread false info and still won’t show us the spot check results is telling in itself. Goodell needs to go he’s not fair or consistent in anything he does. He takes things to personally and can’t seem to follow his own policy’s and procedures. Fire Goodell

  22. Goodell lied
    Pash lied
    Grigson lied
    Wells lied
    Ravens lied
    Only TB12 took an oath to tell the truth.

    The NFL is a corrupt organization and 31 teams that have failed to beat NE on the field felt the need to manufacture an outcome to weaken the Team of the New Millennium.

    When you break it down, an NFL game is essentially 100+ marketing opportunities with a sprinkling of action

  23. My thoughts…
    1. Roger just doing what he needs to do to stay in favor with the majority of the owners. If the majority of the owners weren’t convinced the pats cheated and/or got off lightly for Spygate then Roger probably wouldn’t have felt the need to drop a hammer. 2. Brady did have the balls deflated. Under inflated? Most likely not. Just deflated to the lowest level possible. Not cheating but the way it was done was stupid. 3. All these experts in physics and the ideal gas law are morons. Scientists like things to be wrapped up all nice and pretty. Gas does not follow nice little man made rules. Hence it why it called ideal. Air trapped in a football is not ideal. 4. If your life revolves around a sport team and you are concerned about your favorite multi millionaire player being suspended on 9/11 you need to seek professional help. Open up your eyes and go take a look at some real life threatening issues going on. I pinky promise you…your favorite multi millionaire player will be just fine.

  24. Sure this may all be correct. But he lied and destroyed evidence in the course of an investigation by his employer. If you allow your employees to do this without punishment then you can no longer effectively run your operation.

  25. Not only did the NFL leak false information about the amount of amount under 12.5 PSI, when they told the Patriots’ team executives the truth, they made them sign an NDA ( non-disclosure agreement) so they couldn’t dispute the League’s lies….

  26. What’s this all about? I haven’t really paid attention. We’re the balls actually deflated or not? That’s the one thing I wanted to know the article didn’t say.

  27. 11) at the end of the day, it’s still a game. the only thing criminal about this whole thing was the fact this crap tied up the judicial system for as long as it did.

  28. The league office accepted zero responsibility in the procedures they have set up to make sure the game is being played by their standards. When the league said that air pressure in football’s is basically the most important part of the game, they should be making that information available to the media & fans prior to kickoff, halftime and post game. There is so much money involved in each game and the fans still don’t know if the league is playing games with the proper equipment in 2016.

    The league could have had all this go away by just saying from the first moment that they made the mistakes and they won’t allow the game to be played by any other way than the rules that have been established…you know to uphold the integrity of the Shield.

  29. The 21 scientists said it best in their brief to the court. ” It is not tampering. It is science”. As the article states if air had been removed from the footballs in the bathroom the PSI levels “would have been much lower than they were measured.”. It’s not rocket science but rather 7th grade science.
    There was no tampering!!

  30. How can a lawyer not be bothered by behavior that the Court of Appeal cited as being enough, by itself, to give the league just cause under the CBA for suspension? Here’s a lesson, boys and girls. When you destroy evidence, like a phone, which a reasonable person would forsee as being pertinent to an ongoing dispute, you better be able to come up with a good reason why the evidence was destroyed, beyond a ridiculously transparent lie, which can be refuted in less than a minute. Otherwise, whomever is adjuducating the dispute may simply decide, quite reasonably, that your evidence destruction was a attempt to evade beingclearly implicated, and decide to drop the hammer on you.

    If you are going to say the dog ate your homework, you better have video, taken for years, of a large canine regularly munching on your homework.

  31. You forget to mention the background of Spygate. I think the Patriots probably broke the rules by deflating balls. But I think the punishment (which was out of line) was the result of the NFL trying to bury Spygate quickly (even destroying the evidence!), and telling the Pats to behave themselves. Other teams may do similar things in an effort to gain a small advantage, but other teams haven’t been previously penalized by the League for cheating.

  32. This is a make up call. The punishment should have been a fine. Spy gate should have resulted in loss of championships. Now they are making up for the inferior punishment dished out so many years ago.

  33. Aaron Rodgers at the time said he likes his footballs over-inflated, so therefore he admitted to cheating and should be serving the same 4 game suspension IF the NFL and Goodell plays fair.

  34. The Colts are a worthless franchise that won’t win a Super Bowl for fifty years as punishment for their perfidy.

  35. The only thing that bothers me is the amount of money Kraft pays you to keep rehashing these bogus arguments. he cheated and got busted

  36. If I hear one more ignorant person use the ideal gas law as an explanation I am going to send them back to HS! You skip a key part of it – that the measurements are taken in a constant volume of space – I.e., that the container does not react to the changes in temperature. Guess what? Leather shrinks in cold wet conditions!!!! That’s one of the reasons it is used for balls in sports – because it reacts similarly to air – expanding under heat and shrinking in the cold!!! So the vessel shrinks like the air volume does which means they negate each other and the internal pressure remains the same!!!!

  37. What bothers me is the Colts checked the Pats game ball without the knowledge of the game officials. They then handed the ball over to said officials claiming the ball was short on air. NO team is allowed to check another teams equipment during the game. The officials are supposed to do that. Then the league acts like the Colts did nothing. The league therefore allowed equipment tampering by one team to prove there may have been equipment tampering by another

  38. Not only did the NFL leak false info via Mort, but they made the Patriots sign an NDA before they could get the real PSI numbers, meaning they couldn’t even defend themselves with the facts.

  39. I think Brady got hosed, but this is far from an impartial reflection of events.

    See point 5. It was Brady’s appeal which affords him opportunity to rely on whatever evidence he wished to show the decision against which he appealed was wrong.

    The NFL would have had provided the evidence they used to support their decision in order for Bray to prepare his appeal. If the NFL had produced more evidence, or gone on a fishing expedition looking for more evidence, it would have been unfair and an abuse of process.

    Any half competent lawyer or advocate knows that, and that is just one of a few flaws in this article. Again, Brady was hosed (and should not be suspended), but let’s not make stuff up to just to vent on behalf of Brady, Kraft and Pats fans.

  40. After of over a year of reading about this stuff, here’s my conclusions:

    1. Tom Brady definitely preferred deflated footballs. Only Pats homers will argue against that. Heck, he’s been quoted saying exactly that in the past. The equipment guy was nicknamed “the deflator” for pete’s sake, and even joked about over-inflating balls when he was irritated with Brady. It is what it is.

    2. Where the NFL went wrong is that they never took ball pressure seriously until now. They should’ve changed the rules before the season and sent a memo to all teams. Instead, it looks – as usual – like Goodell is making things up as he goes along. Ultimately, Brady should’ve been fined $8,268 for an equipment violation. Then the NFL could’ve made new rules in the offseason to make deflation a more serious penalty.

    3. What the “ideal gas law” argument leaves out is that the Colts’ footballs were fine in the same exact conditions. Either way, even if those footballs somehow weren’t deflated (they probably were… what about the equipment guy taking them to the bathroom), it’s pretty obvious that Brady has done this numerous times in the past.

  41. We can’t forget that 3 out of the 4 Colt’s footballs were illegally low too. Mike Kensil ordered a panicked halt to further testing when he realized that.

  42. I have never agreed with your equating deflategate with stickum as an equipment violation. I may not be able to define why, but someone sneaking off to a closed bathroom and sticking an air needle in a ball to intentionally deflate it (if that is indeed what happened), feels more like a nefarious cheating incident. As a fan, I feel like a team rigged a game. More like point shaving than an equipment violation.

    And ultimately, I’m losing no sleep that a QB of a team I care little about is out for a month. And I don’t worry that “My team might be next.” It’s just a game.

  43. What makes the least sense to me is that the League went out of its way to defame its biggest star. How on earth does that make sense? Granted, there have been times when other sports got tough with stars to some degree, but never like this and never so single-mindedly.

  44. Brady threw an interception with the “deflated” ball. After halftime he threw 4 td passes with the inflated regulation balls. Brady did not cheat to beat the colts. What more was there to talk about? He should have been warned or fined at most. Where is the integrity of the game when the best qb in the league is missing the first 4 games for no good reason. The nfl wasted a lot of time and money on this garbage and now the league office has lost what little integrity it had left after the concussion and Ray Rice fiascos

  45. 11) there were owners pushing Godell to move forward with a stiff punishment no matter what the facts were. This was evidenced when Kraft went before the owners and was figuratively spit upon.

    as for Capone being sent to prison for tax evasion, true, and they had proof he evaded paying his taxes.

  46. Rotten in Denmark.

    I hope this COSTS the NFL OWNERSHIP right in the pocketbook in the next negotiation. The Players Union should negotiate relentlessly. The fans will have their back. Everyone says they can’t stand Goodell, but he’s a mouthpiece for the NFL ownership.

  47. What worries me the most is that the NFL could have avoided the entire episode instead opted to make it a huge public mess that went on forever.
    That’s not good for the NFL.

  48. We can’t forget that 3 out of the 4 Colt’s footballs were illegally low too. Mike Kensil ordered a panicked halt to further testing when he realized that.

    That’s another part of the lies and disinformation spread by the league, that the officials “ran out of time” when measuring the Colts footballs. The officials measuring the footballs were not working the game. They had nowhere important to be at the end of halftime.

    There were also 12 backup footballs prepared for each time prior to the game. The game officials could have used those for the Colts in the second half while the other officials could have finished measuring the footballs used in the first half. That was an easy and obvious solution. The opted not to do that and went with the “out of time” fabrication.

  49. The witch hunt was a success and Brady is smeared for all time. Let’s not forget his owner hung him out to dry when he accepted the punishment instead of fighting it to the end like an innocent person or team would, like Brady did!

  50. It seems obvious to me that the nfl does not want the public to know about the actual cheating that went on.. thus the gag order on the deflator and yaz…. its not in the nfl best interest for the public to call the superbowl tainted.. so the cheating that went on is deflected by ball pressure ect ect.. but hopefully the ball boys will speak one day.

  51. Dudes the equipment guy dragged a ball of 12 footballs in the cold weather into a bathroom for 90 seconds. How someone could empty a bag, deflate footballs to the desired level and re-emerged in 90 seconds and beyond me. My Dolphin fan in-law suggested the Patriots had an employee waiting in every stall, each assigned to deflate one football. You hate the team, I get that, this serves you well, I get that, but no reasonable person when presented with all the facts believes an unbiased investigation took place where the logical answer was they were guilty, took place. From the very beginning they wanted to stick it to them (guilty or not). That’s exactly what they did and the collective bargaining agreement gives them the right to do it!

  52. PFT loves the Steelers says:
    Sep 11, 2016 10:01 AM
    After of over a year of reading about this stuff, here’s my conclusions:

    1. Tom Brady definitely preferred deflated footballs. Only Pats homers will argue against that. Heck, he’s been quoted saying exactly that in the past. The equipment guy was nicknamed “the deflator” for pete’s sake, and even joked about over-inflating balls when he was irritated with Brady. It is what it is.

    2. Where the NFL went wrong is that they never took ball pressure seriously until now. They should’ve changed the rules before the season and sent a memo to all teams. Instead, it looks – as usual – like Goodell is making things up as he goes along. Ultimately, Brady should’ve been fined $8,268 for an equipment violation. Then the NFL could’ve made new rules in the offseason to make deflation a more serious penalty.

    3. What the “ideal gas law” argument leaves out is that the Colts’ footballs were fine in the same exact conditions. Either way, even if those footballs somehow weren’t deflated (they probably were… what about the equipment guy taking them to the bathroom), it’s pretty obvious that Brady has done this numerous times in the past
    Brady likes his footballs inflated to the lowest possible legal limit. Big deal. Nothing wrong with that. The word “deflator” was used once. Once. And not even in the same season.

    Sorry, the Colts’s balls were low. Kensil began testing the Indy footballs, but ordered a halt to the testing when 3 out of the 4 balls tested were illegally low.

    There are only 2 possible conclusions:

    Either both teams cheated, which is unlikely since the Colts were in on the fix. They even began the lie that Jackson’ “knew instantly that something was wrong with the football.) He denied that. Plus 3 out of 4 Colt’s balls were low.

    The other conclusion is the one that science, nature, the Well$ Report, all the evidence, 2 court hearings, and common sense leads us to. The balls deflated naturally just like tires and basketballs do.

    There were 2 violations that occurred that night that were admitted to. Both by Indy. The Colts had an inflation needle on the sidelines. They also tested the psi in that intercepted ball. That’s tampering.

    The Colts were the only team that did anything wrong that night.

  53. dasboat says:
    Sep 11, 2016 10:16 AM
    I have never agreed with your equating deflategate with stickum as an equipment violation…
    You’re wrong. Stickum/grip is indeed a good analogy, but how about this better one: Jets were merely (and correctly) given a small team fine when their kicker got caught for improperly manipulating k-balls. Ball manipulation is a team equipment violation, as that team fine showed. Nothing happened to the kicker. And no proof was even found that the Pats balls were categorically artificially deflated anyway.

  54. Also…after a year and a half of this crap, can anyone definitively say what the competitive advantage of playing with an under-inflated/deflated ball even is?

    Brady’s stats all went up last year. More yards. More touchdowns. Fewer team fumbles. If it’s a slam dunk that balls under 12.5 are easier to play with, why did this happen?

    Plus, if playing with a ball that’s 12.0 – 12.3 is such an advantage, why would anyone ever play with a ball that’s more than 12.5? Aaron Rodgers likes balls that are more than 13.5. Does anyone actually believe that he’s putting the Packers at a disadvantage with his preference?

  55. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

    Those that still think Brady is a cheater, never liked Brady to start and will always hold onto the belief that Goodell and Wells we’re 100% correct. Nothing will ever change their mind.

    More than likely Brady has picked apart their sorry excuse for a team for the last 15 years.

  56. purplepeople1 says:
    Sep 11, 2016 9:08 AM
    He’s guilty as hell who cares let it go move on to 2016. Only if you live in Boston you think he didn’t cheat.

    50 127
    I live in So Cal and don’t think Brady cheated so your entire premise is wrong.

    The PFT community seems to think on about a 10-1 ratio that the NFL was biased and WRONG in the way they handled this “Investigation”. Belichick has had 15 years of picking in the 28-32 slot in the first round yet always seems to find talent to fit his roster. Simply a better flexible system, knowledge of the game, hard work and practice. That’s a tough team to face which is why they have the best overall record for 15 years. Yeah….cheating is the only possible out for the losers.

  57. Science denying sheeple don’t want actual facts Mike, that should have long ago been obvious to you as it is to Pats, Saints, Dallas, Washington and Miami fans.

    Facts have zero to do with anything once Goodell decides to knock a team down a notch.

  58. #11…if this was a years long or year long practice of deflation why were the Patriots balls at 16psi for the Jet game? The one and only time actual measurements were used.

  59. 11. The Colts balls tested were low too. McNally was supposedly able to take out, release air and then put the balls back in the bag in 90 seconds but 15 minutes wasn’t enough time for 2 officials to gauge the game balls?

  60. “Brady testified that he spoke to Jastremski for both reasons, rendering not credible one of the primary bases for the attack on Brady’s credibility.

    It’s a subtle yet important sign of the lengths to which the league office went to, when necessary, overlook the truth in order to support a conclusion reached at halftime of the Colts-Patriots game”

    Without anything else here is the smoking gun proving the league’s disingenuous duplicity. Goodell’s own statement made when he thought the transcript would never see the light of day lying about Brady’s testimony. All anyone needs to show them the league’s intent. This was about getting the legal precedent and they could care less how.

  61. HDTV exposed the Officiating, now they’re balking at adding more camera angles due to cost? Laughable in a League that can burn it’s profits.
    Why Roger?
    Can’t manipulate the ‘Human Element’ known as Officials if extra cameras are there to provide a better view?
    Yeh, Blandino will cover that from the NY Control Tower.
    Got it.
    Scam artists.
    Cuban has it right.
    Pigs get fat.
    Hogs get slaughtered.

  62. 11. The fact some people actually believe the nickname ‘The Deflator’ was because someone was trying to lose weight.

    – Everybody knows this text message was sent in MAY correct? … Like when there isn’t football being played…. so what is the relevancy to actual games with this?

    — If you love that text message so much, how can you disregard the text message that said “the refs screwed us last night by over inflating the balls” … This was for a HOME game against the Jets… So wouldn’t the deflator have been deflating if there were a scheme to deflate footballs?

    Is everyone taking crazy pills? Or just dumb?

  63. Excellent article and proof that Mr. Goodell needs to step down from being commissioner. His head has gotten too big and his decisions are no longer helping the game of football.

  64. This might be the single biggest example of a wasted column by Florio ever.
    Who cares about deflategate? Brady is suspended because the Commissioner tried to make an example out of him to save face for messing up the Ray Rice incident so badly, and lying about it too.
    On a day when we all should remember what happened 15 years ago, I would have preferred Florio would have written a column stating that the NFL players should show respect for our Anthem and our flag out of respect for those men and women of all nationalities who lost their lives on that horrible day. Especially the brave firemen and policemen who risked and lost their lives trying to help others.
    If Kaepernick and his sheep can’t put aside their personal agendas on this day, it shows just how ignorant they really are.

  65. fact:

    goodell has been looking to lie and cheat the pats since he was hired in 2006

    plain and simple

    this is consumer fraud

    arrest, try and convict roger goodell

  66. ohand16 says:
    Sep 11, 2016 8:40 AM
    Give it up dude. It’s the opening weekend

    Translation: I don’t really care about the truth behind the matter and how the league screwed Brady and the Pats. I just want to get drunk and watch big men run into each other until my team is out of the playoffs.

  67. radiosavage says:
    Sep 11, 2016 11:09 AM

    Also…after a year and a half of this crap, can anyone definitively say what the competitive advantage of playing with an under-inflated/deflated ball even is?

    It’s actually pretty easy to demonstrate to people who believe that the Pats had been deflating football for years that it produces no competitive advantage.

    Ball attendants are employees of the home team. So when a team is on the road, there is no way to deflate footballs (short of bribing someone who works for the opponent, that is). It has been suggested that there is a competitive advantage because a deflated football is harder to fumble and easier to catch. So, if the Pats gained a competitive advantage by deflating footballs, they would have fumbled fewer times at home and more on the road. In addition, Brady would have completed a higher percentage of passes at home and a lower percentage on the road.

    What do the home versus road fumble and passing stats look like? They are essentially identical. In fact, the Pats were marginally (very marginally) better on the road than they were at home.

    This allows for two possible conclusions. Either no one was deflating with the footballs, or (for those convinced that there was tampering) deflating footballs provides no competitive advantage.

  68. Tellmeaboutitbaby might be the dumbest anti-Patriot person here. They use leather because it shrinks and the air pressure won’t change. I guess he has never left a basketball or a football in his garage over a winter or he has never had a new car with the new science of tire pressure getting read by the car itself. 2x this past winter, I needed to inflate my tires a little as the psi dropped on nights where it got real cold. Guess what tells, I have not had to put any air in them for 8 months now….almost 30K miles….how does that happen? And this Spring, both the balls in my garage needed to be re-inflated along with my bike tires.

  69. And #10 Says it all. If you go back and listen to Goodell talk about the spot checking of air pressure and the reasoning behind it, you will see it was just a sluff off spot check….They wanted documentation to disprove the gas law and when that didn’t happen, he changed his tune and said the tests were just to keeep an eye on teams and not for the study.

  70. In all, it has been hilarious. I’m a Patriots fan, so have followed every bit of Deflategate from hour one. The bumbling NFL lying over and over, the media being used by a bumbling NFL to push its story-making it even more of a joke, and uninformed people-many fans who hate the Patriots- who scream “Cheaters!” while buying the NFL’s lies, has made it a lot of fun. You can’t care what idiot hater fans think because fanatics will believe anything. I know what happened and that’s all that matters. At the same time, the “They definitely cheated!” people who don’t know the facts and believe the NFL, add the comedy needed. Missing the greatest quarterback to ever play quarterback in the NFL for four games and draft picks being taken was just the unfortunate cost.

  71. We understand NE fans opinion it is a give. My little question is why did they fire the ball boys and no one heard of them again and why would any ball boy having the type of job jeopardize it and mess with the ball….. unless someone told them. common sense for all but again understanding the fans of Brady blindness.

  72. melikefootball, they were men and 1 of them was reinstated. And I believe I heard they were first suspended because the NFL asked, but unlike the NFL, I won’t say that as a fact. It was so long ago, I can not remember exactly.
    Look at this way, even if it was done, it is an equipment violation. Even if it was more, there was no indisputable proof. And there were maybe 3 or 4 things iffy on the Pat’s side. There were 3X as many discrepancies or lies from the NFL. In life, do you believe the straight A student that said his dog ate his homework or the kid with 4 F’s and 3 D’s that never does his homework that said his dog ate his homework?

  73. I find it interesting that Mike Florio is still beating the dead horse over this thing!!

    Tom Brady is doing his time now, he is paying his fine, he is being suspended for the 4 games..

    What more @Mr. Florio do you want from him???

    I find that there are more important issues that Goodall and the NFL should pay attention to. Like Domestic Violence, the Drug Culture, the Players Health..

    I didn’t know that deflated footballs were more important than, say, the Violence against Women and Children.. Or the Concussion situation of the Players, or the fact that they get caught up in the Drug Culture!!

    This was nothing but a witch hunt to begin with!!

  74. Here are a few problems…

    —- Confirmation Bias – the conclusion was pre-determined. Evidenced by the report that at the beginning of the halftime break NFL employee Mike Kensil told Patriots ‘you’re in big f—ing trouble’.
    —- Selection Bias – selecting only 4 Colts footballs and not alternating the measurements between footballs of both teams.
    —- Measurement Bias – using 2 different pressure gauges and not keeping track of which gauge was used with accurate notes. Allowing some footballs of one team to warm up while measuring the other team’s footballs.
    —- Systematic Error – the testing was flawed because the indoor and outdoor temperatures were not even considered.
    —-Scientific Method – is usually defined as a 6 step sequential process. The NFL did not follow scientific process, instead the NFL quickly performed 2 steps out of order. The NFL started with their conclusion and then did a hasty experiment where they ran out of time and didn’t measure all 24 footballs. Accurate notes were not taken.
    —- Control Group – there was no control group because the NFL was not being scientific. They used the Colts footballs as the control group but they did not account for the fact that the Colts were the visiting team so their footballs were transported to the game and were previously exposed to outdoor temperatures. Those footballs were also not treated the same as the Patriots footballs during the game. This was due to time of possession and keeping them in a bag.

    The NFL subsequently collected PSI measurements during NFL games played during the 2015 season. But is keeping that information secret because it exonerates Tom Brady.

    The next best thing to a control group was the idea of independent after the fact PSI testing of footballs in similar weather conditions. PSI information was obtained during the 2015 season. That information still has not been made public.

    The Colts used the bureaucracy and ignorance of the NFL to get the snowball rolling down the hill. Then Roger Goodell pushed the snowball once it got to the bottom of the hill.

  75. And what about NFL senior vice president of football operations Dave Gardi sent a letter to the Patriots informing them that 11 of the 12 game balls they used were below the legal limit at halftime? He also wrote that one of New England’s balls measured at 10.1 psi and that none of the Colts balls were under. When none of the pressures for the Patriots 11 bowls – that the league office wrote down – were as low as 10.1 So once again the League office lies, makes things up, or is just total dysfunction. Run by Troy Vincent.

  76. My biggest disappointment in all of this is knowing how jealousy and envy among NE rivals lead to them being OK with the following three things … (1) a lack solid evidence against NE, (2) a lack of transparency from the NFL, and (3) a lack honesty from those NE rivals (including rival media) in assessing (1) and (2).

    But trolls (you know who you are) will be trolls and they don’t care about honesty anyway.

  77. Only two facts that matter that decisively point to innocence. 🙂

    1. #10 in Florio’s list

    2. Instead of #LyinRoger getting testimony from the two equipment guys at the appeal hearing…. which would have shed a lot of light on what did or didn’t happen that night… he ordered them to stay away.

    All intelligent fans in existence know that there’s only one reason why the NFL would do either of these. And Patriot Hater won’t like it.


  78. For everyone who says “move on,Deflategate is history”,you are wrong. It won’t be history until the fourth game of this ridiculous suspension is over and Brady can play again. This whole thing has been a joke. Guys who have done drugs and hit women have had lesser punishments. Goodell can pat himself on the back all he wants…his determination to nail Tom Brady and the Patriots will be a part of his “legacy”.

  79. tellmeaboutitbaby says:
    Sep 11, 2016 9:43 AM
    If I hear one more ignorant person use the ideal gas law as an explanation I am going to send them back to HS!
    Even the crooked firm hired to help frame the Pats acknowledged the science accounted for most of the deflation. In fact it was said the science probably would have cleared them if not for the circumstantial evidence that looked bad (of course it was spun so it would look bad )

  80. I am an expert on pressure and temperature. I have designed over a dozen hardware devices that measure pressure and temperature, among other parameters. For details, google search my company “gw instruments”. However, I am not here to sell my gear. Instead, I am here to make a simple point, which is one can use math to see that the balls were not tampered with January 18, 2015. Even if ten patriots employees stated “I tampered”, the math and measurements by officials would show they did not (at least in this case). The patriots did a terrible job explaining the math. they should have published a spreadsheet showing the average temperature measured by officials at half-time and correcting for a little air removed by officials at the beginning of the game (to get balls to 12.5psi with a gage off 0.35psi), correcting for half-time field temperature, and correcting for several minutes of warming that occurred when the balls were brought indoors at half time. The math would show the measurements to be very similar to what one would expect. The patriot attorneys, public relations people, and sports people must have been briefed on the math/science; yet did not understand how they can defend themselves given the “complexity”. The answer is one simple word. Spreadsheet. After publishing a spreadsheet, others can check it and look for a bug. One could even make a lesson plan out of this case for high school and college physics and chemistry students. Readers must be thinking, “what about the wells report?”. very good point. it is buggy. a spreadsheet can be used to show this as well. it states there is a 0.4% chance there was no tampering (99.6% chance of tampering). in a spreadsheet one could show how they calculated this 0.4% number, and then list the bugs in their calculations. are they showing colts balls warming for 15min more than patriot balls at halftime? are they showing 12.5 psi balls being lowered a bit before the game with an official’s gage off by 0.35psi? I am not sure where they get the 0.4%, yet with some digging, I would think someone could figure it out. In summary, I give the patriots an F in math ! tom brady should look out the window of his boston condo for math help (mit), look out the window in the other direct for communications help (bu); combine the two, and relax.

  81. These should be #11 and #12

    Colts tampered with the intercepted ball by inserting a needle gauge into it yet NFL didn’t seem to care.

    After promising the Patriots that Wells would investigate the false leaks (ie the ones reported by Mortensen and Kelly Naqi) , there are exactly zero mentions of it in the Wells Report.

  82. The nfl’s independent investagation and draft for roger to have edited cost $5 mil, I wonder how much the independent “2nd hand smoke doesn’t cause cancer” report that Wells did, cost the tobacco giants….Who says a sleaze bag lawyer can’t make millions, just ask roger & ted.

  83. The NFL and Goodell and the owners would lie and distort things for PR? No. I don’t believe it. The NFL has a fair process of doling out punishment for personal conduct violations that were just witnessed with Tyreek Hill.

    Nobody can question the integrity of the NFL. They wouldn’t try and get back at the Patriots for Spygate and appease segments of their fanbase even though the truth may be compromised. No. Don’t believe it at all. You can trust the heads of a multi billionaire dollar corporation. See Enron. See World Com. These guys are more than just money, envy and politics. They are the guardians of truth and justice and would never stomp over the rights of an individual player for media and fan approval.

    I am appalled at any suggestion that Goodell wouldn’t do what’s right and not be a stooge for the owners.

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