An independent study was released last night by the American Enterprise Institute that pointed out some major flaws in the Wells Report. The study, published on The New York Times' website, supported its own findings with science, and it makes almost too much sense.
They do point out things that we know already, such as 11 of the Patriots balls being tested at the beginning of halftime and only four of the Colts balls being tested towards the end of halftime. They also note that referee Walt Anderson did not remember which pressure gauge he used to measure the balls.
You can read the full report here, but here are some very important snippets:
Our study, written with our colleague Joseph Sullivan, examines the evidence and methodology of the Wells report and concludes that it is deeply flawed. (We have no financial stake in the outcome of Deflategate.)
The Wells report’s main finding is that the Patriots balls declined in pressure more than the Colts balls did in the first half of their game, and that the decline is highly statistically significant. For the sake of argument, let’s grant this finding for now. Even still, it alone does not prove misconduct. There are, after all, two possibilities. The first is that the Patriots balls declined too much. The second — overlooked by the Wells report — is that the Colts balls declined too little.
The latter possibility appears to be more likely. The Wells report notes the expected pressure for the footballs at halftime in the Patriots-Colts game, factoring in the decline in pressure to be expected when a ball, inflated in a warm room, has been moved to a cold outdoor field. If the Patriots deflated their balls, their pressure levels at halftime should have fallen below the expected level, while the Colts balls at halftime should have hovered around that level.
But when we analyzed the data provided in the Wells report, we found that the Patriots balls declined by about the expected amount, while the Colts balls declined by less. In fact, the pressure of the Colts balls was statistically significantly higher than expected. Contrary to the report, the significant difference between the changes in pressure of the two teams’ balls was not because the pressure of the Patriots balls was too low, but because that of the Colts balls was too high.
How could this be? The report’s own findings suggest an explanation: At halftime, N.F.L. officials measured the pressure of “only a sample” of the Colts balls (four out of 12) before they ran out of time; the second half of the game was about to begin. This implies that the Colts balls sat in the warm room where they were to be measured — and thus increased in pressure — for almost the entirety of halftime before being measured.
All of the 11 available Patriots balls, by contrast, were measured at halftime, which suggests that they were measured earlier, when they were colder — and thus lower in pressure. Although this explanation contradicts the Wells report’s conclusions, it fits all the evidence.
It is important to note that the individuals who conducted the study did not have an agenda (as stated in the article) and were not paid by the NFL to conduct this study. Many know by now that the Wells Report is full of holes, and this study completely exposes them. Additionally, it's worth mentioning that this was the same firm that determined there was no evidence that suggested the New Orleans Saints were motivated to hurt opposing players due to cash rewards as part of Bountygate in 2012.
The firm presented its findings to the NFL, and then a month later, each player involved had their suspensions cut entirely.
By virtue of that and the findings in this study, this should be viewed as a massive advantage for Tom Brady and his legal team when the appeal hearing takes place on June 23. You can bet they will take these findings and run as far as they possibly can with them.
And while there's a good chance this still wouldn't clear Brady in the eyes of the public, it should clear him with the league. I first believed his suspension would be cut by at least two games. But after reading this a few times, I now strongly believe there is a much greater chance that Brady will get his suspension completely reversed.
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