Saturday, May 9, 2015

Investigation Reveals Patriots' QB Brady, Two Employees Engaged in Conspiracy to Deflate Footballs

The last few days, I had the opportunity to read the Wells reports titled "Investigative Report Concerning Footballs used During the AFC Championship Game on January 18, 2015."  Actually the Report consists of 139 pages, with the balance of the 243 pages, consisting of a lengthy a report by Exponent, a company that the NFL engaged in to do extensive scientific testing relating to the allegations and the proffered explanations for the Patriots' footballs being below the minimum allowed PSI.

Here are some observations about the report:
  • The report detailed the activities of three people Jim McNally, the officials locker room attendant, John Jastremski, equipment assistant for the Patriots, and Tom Brady, the Patriots' 
    Tom Brady, Quarterback for
    the New England Patriots
    star quarterback.
  • Jastremski was essentially the intermediary between Brady and McNally, a lower level seasonal employee.  
  • Jastremski and McNally exchanges scores of text messages discussing Brady's constant complaints about the condition of the footballs, including excessive air pressure, and using a needle to deflate those balls.
  • McNally's dislike for Brady came through in the text messages in which he mocked Brady.  Jastremski meanwhile had a closer relationship to Brady.
  • McNally referred to himself as a "The Deflator" in texts to Jastremski and joked about getting back at Brady by inflating instead of deflating the footballs.
  • McNally joked about going to ESPN about his activities deflating the footballs and suggested he better receive some good memorabilia from Brady to keep quiet.
  • Jastremski agreed that McNally was owed valuable memorabilia, such as shoes and apparel, from Brady due to the stress he was under to deflate the ball.
  • Brady in fact provided Jastremski and McNally with autographed memorabilia.
  • Pursuant to NFL rules, the balls were to be inflated between 12.5 psi and 13.5 psi. 
  • Two air pressure gauges were used to measure the PSI of the footballs at halftime.  All 12 of the Patriots footballs measured below 12.5 psi on both gauges, some as low as 10.5, while all 4 of the Colts' balls tested above 12.5 on at least one gauge.
  • Exponent considered the scores of innocent explanations for the decreased air pressure offered by the Patriots and others, including the Ideal Gas Law (which says air pressure changes in response to temperature changes).  Exponent found that none of them could explain the degree of decrease in air pressure in the Patriots footballs.
  • McNally had apparently previously deflated footballs in an isolated portion of the officials' locker room when they had left alone in the room when the officials left for on field exercises.  But because it was the AFC Championship Game, additional individuals were in the locker room.
  • Instead McNally took the footballs with him to the field.  He was caught by security cameras taking the footballs with him into a small restroom close to the field.
  • The head referee reacted with alarm when he found the footballs had been removed from the officials' locker room, without his permission.  The officials were frantically searching for the Patriot's footballs minutes before the game.  They eventually learned McNally had taken the footballs to the field.  The head official said he had never had anyone remove footballs from the officials locker room without permission in his 19 year career.
  • When Brady was interviewed, he claimed to have never heard of McNally, a claim that was contradicted by his personally giving McNally signed memorabilia, an act witnessed by others.
  • Brady refused to cooperate by providing investigators electronic communications relating to the deflation investigation.
  • After a very early interview, the Patriots did not make McNally available for a critical followup interview that would have allowed the investigators to question "The Deflator" about the evidence that had been obtained during the investigation.
  • It doesn't appear that anyone else in the Patriot organization was involved in the conspiracy to deflate the footballs. 
  • The allegations of Patriots deflating footballs was not new.  The Colts had taken great pains to warn the NFL that the Patriots were deflating footballs before the AFC Championship Game, yet the NFL took no action to ensure it wouldn't happen during the game.  Even after the mysterious removal of the footballs by McNally, game officials took no steps to check the balls before the game started.  It is not clear, however,that the NFL actually communicated the Colts' concerns to the game officials.
  • It was not until the Colts alerted game officials that they had tested an intercepted football that had low air pressure, that game officials took action testing all the Patriots' footballs at half time.  
  • Upon testing the footballs at half-time and finding they were all low, the head official ordered the Patriots' footballs reinflated to 13.0 psi.
Given Brady was almost certainly involved in the conspiracy to deflate the footballs, and given his and the Patriots' failure to fully cooperate with NFL investigators, and,finally ,given the Patriots' records of rules violations,  I think a lengthy suspension of Brady is in order.  I'm guessing 6 games plus an addition 2 games tacked on for a lack of cooperation with investigators.  I also believe the Patriots will lose at least a first round draft choice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So what you've got there is a pretty good case against McNally. In the real world, you'd charge him with as much as you could, and if the prescribed penalty was high enough, you'd hope you'd get a "Brady told me to," out of him. In the world of the NFL however, there's no standard for what you have to prove, and the penalties are whatever you make up on the fly, at least as long as it's just an NFL thing. If it gets out of the NFL's hands, which seems to only happen when the folks receiving the penalties couldn't live with them, probably gets a bit more complicated.