May 6, 2015

The New England Patriots probably deflated their A.F.C. championship game footballs intentionally.

"The investigation, which was conducted by Theodore V. Wells Jr. and the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, concluded that it was probable that Patriots personnel were 'involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules.'"

62 comments:

The Bergall said...

And in other news..........

Rocketeer said...

You mean "AFC Championship balls," not Super Bowl balls.

lgv said...

Oh, sure, everyone knows Paul, Weiss is filled with nothing but Giant and Jets fans.

Kraft bellyaching about a lack of hard evidence. What was he expecting? Maybe someone found the missing air in Brady's locker?

BarrySanders20 said...

Deflated balls. Althouse theme?

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Rocketeer.

Fixed.

Virgil Hilts said...

My guess is that most teams are guilty of something similar to this. http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2015/03/18/nfl-cheaters-technology-owners-meetings/24951103/
- artifical sound noise
- use of illegal gloves
- use of stickum
- illegal electronic communications
- systematic injury faking
Kind of explains Joe Montana laughing off deflate gate.

traditionalguy said...

But where is the smoking deflation needle? This is just more hot air.

garage mahal said...

The Patriots love free speech.

madAsHell said...

Probably and intentionally in the same sentence. What a bunch of weasel words!!

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

What's important is that Tom Brady would never cheat on Gisele Bündchen.

Birches said...

Strip them of the Superbowl! No winner for 2015.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So, from the report we know that:

The officials don't know what the pressure in the footballs was before the game, because they didn't bother to record it.

The officials don't know what the pressure was when they measured it at halftime. Even knowing that they were investigating a possible rules violation, when they knew the pressure was a significant issue, the two officials who measured the balls at halftime came up with measurements that differed by three-tenths of a PSI or more.

They know the temperature change would cause the footballs to lose pressure, don't know how much, but know that it must be less than the difference between the unknown pressure before the game and the unknown pressure at halftime.

Glad we got this all straightened out.

rhhardin said...

It's more likely on purpose than intentionally.

Brando said...

The Patriots never did anything knowingly inappropriate. They deflated their balls when they were dead broke, and have to continue to do so to pay the bills.

Let's get used to the legal and moral standard of our new overlords.

exhelodrvr1 said...

They did not knowingly do anything inappropriate.

Eric said...

problem resolved at half-time. game wasn't close. Bunch of crybabies.

Alex said...

Why oh why didn't the Seahawks run Lynch?

JSD said...

Tom Brady refused to turnover emails and text messages (really). Meanwhile, he invited everybody to see the Super Bowl trophy.

Michael The Magnificent said...

Riiiight. Because up until that game, the Patriots played the entire season fairly, honestly, and without cheating. /deluded_patriots_fan

Or, as is more likely, they've been cheating all along (they've certainly got a history), only now getting caught. Which means they might not have belonged in an AFC championship game, having cheated their way into it by winning games during the regular season that they might not have had they not been cheating.

What makes you Patriots fans any different than Hillary fans?

campy said...

Here's a free clue, Michael the Magnificently Naive: Every team cheats.

Big Mike said...

So are they going to replay the Super Bowl with the Colts against the Seahawks?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Let's say the Patriots broke the rules, was it cheating?

Here's an interesting email sent to NFL officials by the Coltsbefore the game:

"As far as the gameballs are concerned it is well known around the league that after the Patriots gameballs are checked by the officials and brought out for game usage the ballboys for the patriots will let out some air with a ball needle because their quarterback likes a smaller football so he can grip it better, it would be great if someone would be able to check the air in the game balls as the game goes on so that they don’t get an illegal advantage."

The deflated ball story was put out into the media as an accidental discovery, but in fact it was a preexisting narrative. Does that make the Colts liars?

Tom from Virginia said...

This just in - Tom Brady threw four fully inflated footballs for touchdowns in the Super Bowl.

CWJ said...

Birches wrote -

"Strip them of the Superbowl! No winner for 2015."

My preferred result. Title would then devolve to the only team that beat them both: the Kansas City Chiefs. No special pleading on my part mind you, it's just science.

Mingus Jerry said...

Lance Armstrong can give Tom Brady tips before his interview with Oprah.

Be said...

I'm Deeply Sorry For Your Loss.

Real American said...

Also, it probably made no difference in the outcome of the game.

Rick said...

Investigators inferred a likelihood of complicity based on various circumstantial factors. The report notes Brady and the two suspected employees were interviewed, but nowhere does it record their response to being asked "did you deflate the footballs?". I think how they explained the various evidences is key to evaluating the chances they were involved, why omit it?

khesanh0802 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
khesanh0802 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wilbur said...

While I don't condone it, this kind of stuff has gone for years.

I once heard an old Chicago sportswriter relate how George Halas used to keep a little dog on the field, inconspicuous in a corner with his leash holder, some Bear flunky.

When he would need an extra timeout late in a game Papa Bear would give the signal to the flunky who give the dog a swat in the ass and let him go. The dog would run on the field and the refs would wave for the clock to stop.

The 1960's White Sox used to keep the in-game baseballs in a refrigerator to deaden them as much as they could.

Some competitors will look to gain an edge illicitly and always have.

Achilles said...

Brady was clearly giving the equipment guy autographed memorabilia to deflate the balls. The guys nickname was "the deflator."

Blow jobs in the white house weren't a big deal either. It was the lying afterward. If it wasn't a big deal fess up and be a man. They are all doing something to get an edge but he got caught. Brady is just a lying cheat and that is his legacy same as bill.

clint said...

"campy said...
Here's a free clue, Michael the Magnificently Naive: Every team cheats."

You mean every team has been suspected/accused of cheating. Among other things, that site dings the Indianapolis Colts for framing the Patriots in Deflategate.

But take it as written -- every team has cheated to some extent. What's the conclusion? Does that mean there should be no punishment when someone actually gets caught cheating?

Because that would change the game *a lot*. If there is no penalty for cheating, it could be argued that the coach has an obligation to the team to cheat -- just like lawyers have a moral obligation to zealously represent their clients.

geokstr said...

Lawyers, rejoice!

A new evidentiary standard has been established: "probably cause". Somebody call Chisolm...

averagejoe said...

Witch Hunt. Why were only 4 Colts balls neasured? Why was the measuring of the Colts footballs stopped after all 4 balls tested were found to be under-inflated? This was a frame-up and a bogus sting perpetrated by former and current Jet and Colt employees affiliated with the NFL offices in New York, in particular, Mike Kensil, former Jet employee, Bill Polian, former Colt employee, and Ryan Grigson, current Colt GM.

"The unapproved kicking ball that sources told Outside the Lines a Gillette Stadium officials' locker room attendant tried to introduce into the AFC Championship Game was handed to the man by an NFL employee, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Wednesday.The source said one of the "K balls," which are used for only special-teams play, went missing, and an NFL employee in charge of collecting balls for charity gave another ball to Jim McNally, who works the officials' locker room at New England Patriots games. McNally then gave it to Greg Yette, an alternate official who was in charge of putting the K balls into play. When Yette saw that ball did not have the pregame marking that referee Walt Anderson had put on the ball, he became suspicious and alerted NFL officials in the press box, a source told Outside The Lines. The man in charge of collecting balls for charity in previous games has been fired by the league for selling the footballs meant for charity for a profit over a period of time, a source told Schefter. The source said that a different NFL official also handed a ball to an equipment manager to be passed along to Yette later in the game."

NFL league office and commissioner Roger Goodell are as corrupt and dishonest as the democrat party committees and affiliates.

khesanh0802 said...

I will grudgingly apologize to Maybee for my response to his/her comments about Tom Brady.

I will also say that after reading the report coming to the conclusion that Brady colluded with "the locker room guy" is based on some pretty thin stuff. I am not impressed with the conclusions that were drawn about Brady's phone conversations prior to the Super Bowl. It seems natural to me that he would talk with the equipment manager about ball prep at that time. I refer everybody to this NYT article about the preparation of Eli Manning's game balls to add some perspective.

One of the interesting numbers in the report is the check of post-Colts game ball pressure (pg 73). All balls were well over 13 lbs. and one was overinflated. During the second half the Patriots scored 28 points, and gained 199 yards. The Colts only managed 244 yards and 7 points for the whole game. It's obvious that under inflated or over inflated the Pats dominated the Colts.

Wells could have saved everyone a lot of money and heartache if he admitted in January that it was the locker room guy!

HoodlumDoodlum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Cheaters should never prosper.

This is one of those games that is American, like pie. My children are raised on football. We live in a football town. Their friends are all into football. They all pay attention to this stuff. My kids think its funny I'm a San Diego Chargers fan when we live in Seattle.

Its tough to explain to them that the winners are also cheaters.

We shouldn't teach children that cheaters prosper.

David said...

Thin evidence indeed, at least as summarized in the article. Do I care enough to read the whole report? I do not.

Lucien said...

Overblown. You have to cut some slack for anybody whose job is taking care of Tom Brady's ball sack.

Also,if your name is close enough to Yastrzemski you can can away with almost anything in Boston.

Mark said...

Judging from the executive summary, there is very little evidence at all. Mostly just a lot of "hey, look over there" distraction and rampant speculation.

The only evidence going directly to the issue is that the bags containing the game balls were outside of observation for a total of 100 seconds when the equipment guy took them into the restroom. That means that in that short space of time, the guy would have had to pull a dozen balls out of the bags, stick a needle in to just the right point to be visually undetected, and then put the balls back in the bags and then leave out of the restroom. That's less than 8 seconds per ball.

That would be incredibly fast work. Too fast.

That might amount to reasonable suspicion, but it hardly amounts to a preponderance of the evidence that he spent that time deflating the balls rather than taking a leak.

It is the investigation itself, and the specious conclusion based on rank supposition and speculation, that is the cheat. Why bother following basic rules of adjudication when you have a pre-determined outcome?

Matt said...

Mark

Really, you're going to play the naïve game? It's clear the balls were tainted. It's clear Brady knew. It's very clear the ball and locker room guy knew. The only people defending them are Patriot fans.

I'm just hoping you're this open minded when the House tries to impeach Obama or Hillary.

Mark said...

In fact, why does the report make any conclusions at all? What are these guys -- investigators, prosecutors and jurors all wrapped in one?

I'll tell you why they made a conclusion -- because the evidence is so thin. If they presented "just the facts" and let people make their own conclusions, no rational person could say with any degree of certainty that there was intentional deflation. And since the evidence itself does not supply the desired outcome, those hired to obtain that desired outcome provided it themselves with their own "conclusions."

HoodlumDoodlum said...

You can't PROVE anyone broke any rules, and even if they did you can't PROVE they broke the rules intentionally, so leave poor Mrs. Clinton alone. Wait, what's this post about? Do we really know more about the state of football inflation in an AFC championship game than we do about, say Lois Lerner's shenanigans (by which I mean illegal, partisan activities)? I know they're not mutually exclusive, but that's one hell of a double standard for digging--thanks, Media (and audience).

Gusty Winds said...

Who thought any differently? The cheated before filming opposing teams from the stands. It's an MO.

Not the same team that upset the Rams.

It's like pretending the Clinton's are honest, John Doe isn't unconstitutional, and judges are impartial.

khesanh0802 said...

@Mark
Thanks. You made several points that have become clearer as I think about this RR job.

Achilles said...

Mark said...

" In fact, why does the report make any conclusions at all? What are these guys -- investigators, prosecutors and jurors all wrapped in one?"

Stop being retarded. The locker room guy's nickname was "the deflator." The text conversations he had with the other locker room attendant discussed not only Tom's requests but the signed memorabilia and "kicks" he got from Tom to do it.

It is pretty fucking clear that Brady made a specific request for this guy to deflate the balls, was doing it for quite some time, and gave the guy stuff that he could sell or keep. In civil court this would easily win in a standard wrongful death civil suit. Tom might get off on reasonable doubt in a criminal suit if there was a patriot fan on the jury.

Is it the end of the world? No, but neither was a blow job in the oval office. The question is whether or not you have standards or if cheating is OK. It seems Patriots fans have none. To be flatly honest I am going to teach my kids the Tom Brady way. We can discuss right and wrong over victory dinner it seems.

Achilles said...

David said...

"Thin evidence indeed, at least as summarized in the article. Do I care enough to read the whole report? I do not."

Skip to the texts between the locker room employees. Page 73ish. Obviously Tom didn't cooperate so we don't see any of his communications. It is pretty conclusive to everyone but the massholes who are also selectively illiterate in this circumstance.

averagejoe said...

The texts that Achilles and other dipshit Patriot haters are referring to occurred in mid-October after the referees had inflated New England's footballs to almost 3 PSI ABOVE the league maximum. New England should have filed a complaint with the league office, but in lieu of that, Brady insisted to the equipment men responsible for the balls that he didn't want to be given over-inflated footballs again, and it was their job to make sure that it didn't happen. As for the rest, the league has no record of the PSI of the game balls before the game, so to make an after-the-fact measurement, then accuse someone of deflating the balls is absolute BS.

J Lee said...

Nate Silver's 538 blog at ESPN reminds us the effect of the deflated footballs -- if this has been done over an extended period -- may not have been so much in giving Brady an advantage in passing as it was giving all of the Patriots' skill position players an advantage in not fumbling.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

J Lee, the selective data and stats used in the "not fumbling" meme has been discredited in a number of subsequent articles. It's just more cherry-picked information used to support a biased conclusion.

gadfly said...

Brady didn't throw illegal spitballs or grease-balls nor did he scratch the ball cover to make his throwing more effective. He didn't illegally warm the ball to keep it from slipping nor did he fake a reception like every wide-out in the league does.

So cheating in the NFL and in Major League Baseball and in all professional and college sports is either successful because you didn't get caught or it causes a stink in the few instances where the cheater is exposed.

In the AFL championship, the Colts got mauled badly. Brady could have won throwing passes left-handed. Get a life people!

The ball inflation problem cannot be traced to anyone with anything but circumstantial evidence. After we indict Hill and Bill we should go after Brady or the equipment managers.

tim in vermont said...

It is a little sad, I admit. But hat interception at the last second! I will take the joy of that moment to my grave.

tim in vermont said...

With the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox tied for first in the American League East at the end of the 1978 season, the stage was set for a one-game playoff between the two rivals on October 2, 1978.

It is of course a painful memory for Sox fans. "When I hit the ball," Bucky Dent recalled, "I knew that I had hit it high enough to hit the wall. But there were shadows on the net behind the wall and I didn't see the ball land there. I didn't know I had hit a homer until I saw the umpire at first signaling home run with his hand. I couldn't believe it."


Bucky Dent later said he thought everybody knew the bat was corked. Yankees went on to win the WS. I bet you Yankee Fans feel just *terrible* about winning that series. Just terrible.

What about Green Bay? It is well known that Aaron Rodgers likes the ball over-inflated, and gets a little mad when officials let air out of the ball.

Larry J said...

At this point, what difference does it make?

Wilbur said...

"Is it the end of the world? No, but neither was a blow job in the oval office."

Don't underplay the danger to this country from such a reckless act. When you do something like that as POTUS you expose yourself to blackmail. What if "that woman - Miss Lewinsky" had in fact been an agent for a foreign country?

THAT'S why it was a big deal, not the fact that a sterile man in a sterile marriage felt the need to stray. It's the fact that as POTUS you can't do that crap. Can't control yourself? Don't run for or remain in the office. It's disqualifying.

Anonymous said...

Mark, as usual, is full of baloney. I've read the entire report and supplements; the time it would take to deflate the 13 footballs was tested scientifically and it was discovered that even someone who was new to the task could do it in well under the 100 seconds required.
Those of you who condone cheating make me sick.
Play by the rules. Be honorable. Admit your mistakes.
Are those things a healthy society can do without?

khesanh0802 said...

After a day to think, write about and digest the report and others comments I am convinced that it is a sloppy, inadequate and incorrect piece of work. The "facts" could be arranged in any sequence to reach any conclusion. I hope that Brady has grounds for some kind of civil suit because I believe this shoddy report would be laughed out even a court in NYC.

khesanh0802 said...

@averagejoeExcellent point. I am convinced (have been right from the start) that the refs screwed this up badly and should be viewed as the primary offenders. If the ref had not lost track of the sacred game balls the locker room guy would never have been put in the unhappy position that the league has put him in.

Mountain Maven said...

Achilles said.
"To be flatly honest I am going to teach my kids the Tom Brady way."

When my kid catches your kid cheating he'll fire him and visit him in jail.

Henry said...

Sounds like Brady is a cheating putz. I wouldn't dispute that.

But there are some really odd things in the report.

First, is the the way the NFL does business. On game days the game balls might have 16 psi; they might have 12. No one knows!

Second are the claims that the broken game ball process in the AFC championship game was unique and had never happened before.

How does that square with the conceit that this was an ongoing operation? The NFL used electronic evidence from the equipment yahoos over time to establish their probables. Simultaneously they claim that the game ball manipulations in the AFC championship game were a unique event. So which one is it?

There's some serious referee ass-covering in that report.

SF said...

Yeah, I can't say whether the Pats cheated or not, but I checked the numbers on the fumbling stats articles back in January and they were full of it. The big thing was they removed the dome teams from the comparisons because they "obviously" wouldn't fumble as often, yet looking at the actual numbers showed that dome teams' fumble stats showed no signs of being anything special. (And if you really thought domes were an advantage, you'd look at how many games each team played in a dome, not which teams had domes!) Because the #2-#5 teams ranked by fewest fumbles played in domes, removing them made it look like the Pats had an impossibly good fumble record, when in fact they were just a bit better than the #2 team.