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If you didn't take the time to read through the whole Wells report, don't worry. You're not alone. Fortunately for those of us who didn't, Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston did, and he posted his thoughts on it this morning. And there were a number of inconsistencies, at least according to him.

1.) The sample size of supposedly deflated footballs from each team:

In rejecting Bill Belichick's explanation about the science of how PSI in footballs will naturally drop in certain conditions, the Wells report concluded that the average rate of drop in 11 Patriots footballs was significantly more than the average rate of drop in four Colts footballs. Why 11 to four? Because officials measured only four Colts footballs, as they were running out of time before the second half began. This simply isn't fair to take a larger sample size and compare it to a smaller sample size. For example, I could just as easily pick the initial four Patriots PSI measurements (a drop from 12.5 to 11.80, 11.20, 11.50 and 11.00 from alternate official Dyrol Prioleau), match them up with the four Colts measurements (a drop from an estimated 13.0/13.1 to 12.35, 12.30, 12.95 and 12.15 from Prioleau), and come to a different conclusion that the drop rates of PSI between the two teams were close. Also, it's clear when matching the PSI readings between the two alternate officials that there is margin for error in the readings. Thus, I reject the Wells report explanation for dismissing the role of science based on their usage of this uneven data between teams.

I'm with Mike here. If you're gonna bring the scientific part into this, you have to pull an even sample size from both sides, which would have meant either pulling a few more balls from the COlts to test or pulling less from the Patriots. More than likely, though, it would have meant the former if Wells had done it right. The intial report when the story broke said 11 Patriots footballs were underinflated, so that should've been the number to go by.

2.) Using Tom Brady's autographs:

In building their case against the Patriots and Tom Brady, the Wells report focused in part on autographs/memorabilia that Brady provided McNally. It was framed in the context that he was giving him things in exchange for a favor. I personally find that hard to believe -- or should I say "more not than probable." First, Brady has been extremely generous with many Patriots staffers in this area over the last 14-15 years; it is also widely understood in NFL circles that equipment managers work at extremely low wages and it is commonplace for quarterbacks/players to tip them and/or provide them with things as a show of appreciation (in addition to others in similar roles). Thus, I rejected the Wells report framing Brady's autographs/memorabilia as anything outside of normal procedure, and it made me question whether the investigators understood the workplace they were investigating.

I didn't know myself that it was common practice for players to give these locker room attendants things to show appreciation, but it doesn't surprise me, but apparently Ted Wells couldn't find a better explanation then "Brady gave these guys signed footballs for a favor." Seems flimsy to me.

3.) Manipulating public perception:

At the March owners meeting, commissioner Roger Goodell said, "If there was anything that we as a league did incorrectly, we'll know about it in that report.” I didn't see much of that in the report, if anything at all. Specifically, I was curious whether there would be any mention of reputation-damaging leaks from the league office that helped manipulate public opinion, ultimately setting the stage for the release of the Wells report. Thus, I came away from parts of the report questioning whether this was more about serving a pro-NFL agenda than getting to the truth.

Again, Mike makes sense. I don't want to believe that the NFL set up a sting operation, but the above mentioned holes in the report are all legit critiscms and they overshadow the whole report, in my mind. We'll just have to see where this goes and what disclinary action the league takes.

Conor Frederick 5/07/2015 12:50:00 PM Edit
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