DeflateGate Took A Whole Village of NFL VP’s To Screw Up, But They Rose to the Task!

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If you haven’t read the entire Wells Report, you are missing out, people! This is the wacky hi-jinx caper that will keep you in stitches right to the last paragraph. I mean that! Who knew Ted Wells could write such good comedy? Move over, Dave Barry!

For starters, when reading it remember this: everyone on the Patriots side have assumptions and explanations are false or unbelieveable. The assumptions and explanations of the Wells team are always right. Always.

There is an army of VP’s and Game Ops coordinators swarming all over the stadium at game time, in haphazard communication with each other about certain game ball procedures.

The science rests on a “control set” of measurements before the game that does not exist, as Walt Anderson wrote down the exact ball readings of exactly 0-of-54 balls tested. (12 game balls and 12 backup balls for each team, plus 6 K-Balls). He thinks the Pats balls were “at or around 12.5 PSI” and the Colts balls were “at or around 13.0 PSI” but as you’ll find, Walt “thinks” alot of things.

The report breezily dismisses a WTF! reading of a Colts ball PSI as a likely “anamoly” due to an unproven “transcription error” that is pure conjecture. Meanwhile, McNally’s “anomoly” of going to the locked bathroom is not equally dismissed as some kind of obvious error, void of nefarious intent.

The report doesn’t explain how balls can be easily deflated by a single person in 1:40 in a locked bathroom, but 22 game balls cannot be tested and recorded with a dedicated note taker by TWO trained officials in a 13 minute halftime. They also don’t question why, if this matter was so critical, that a slight delay in starting the second half was worth it, in order to complete the testing of the last 7 Colts footballs. (Max time: 2 minutes).

The report goes to tortured lengths to NOT say definitively that Anderson was aware of the SPECIFIC charge of under-inflation levelled by the Colts prior to the game. Every reference is to merely “following pre-game protocol.” Why was this? Shouldn’t a specific threat, be listed as a specific point of pre-game emphasis? Having worked in “the real world” for a bit: Anderson is either lying, or didn’t check his email. Both offenses, fireable.

Anderson’s best recollection is that he used the “logo gauge” before the game, a recollection that is then promptly ignored by Wells and Exponent thanks to a convoluted deviation formula rushed in to save the day.

Blakeman and Prioleau can neither remember with certainty which of the logo/no-logo guages they used at halftime. The Wells team and Exponent makes a mathematical guess that again, favors the League not the Patriots.

Then this one is a f***ing WHOPPER:

It is clear that the halftime testing undertaken by the game officials and other NFL personnel was not performed in a laboratory setting or under ideal circumstances for forensic data collection and examination. We nevertheless conclude that the game officials and other NFL personnel participating in the halftime measurements acted responsibly and created a reasonably reliable record of the measurements.

Translation: We understand that Riveron, Blakeman and Prioleau’s Chinese Fire Drill act in the lockeroom, met no standard for science, but we are still using those numbers for…. SCIENCE!

Oh, and the line about “created a reliable record of the measurements?” I’m sorry, did you just get knocked out with a billy club and wake up? YOU JUST SAID TWO PAGES AGO THE COLTS BALL THAT READ WEIRD WAS “PROBABLY A TRANSCRPITION ERROR!”

“Reliable record of the measurements,” my ass!

The post-game measurements of the footballs included just 4 randomly selected footballs. The Wells report does not explain whose decision that was, or what the rationale for it was? Ah, doesn’t matter. You say in the report the timing of the post-game measurement was so unsound, that that data is un-usuable. But that OTHER data? Oh, that’s GOLD, Jerry. GOLD!

So in otherwords, you have the starting PSI of Walt Anderson’s “best recollection” at an assumption of an EVEN 12.5 PSI for all 24 Patriot balls, and 13.0 for all 24 Colts balls. You have no reliable post-game measurements (by your own admission) and haphazard half-time measurements with uneven samples.

You have statements that – to use your words on guys like Jastremski and McNally – “are not plausible” (i.e. “ran out of time” or “likely transcrption error”).

You have glaring contradictions such as..

“We reviewed Farley‟s original notes and the written statements he prepared, and have confirmed that the pressure measurements transcribed on the original notes and the written statements are identical”

…when you said earlier that Farley was probably a f***-up and made a clerical error, cross-recording incorrect readings that your “scientists” magically “controlled for” using “data analysis.”

You have Anderson saying he …

  1. May or may not have used a certain gauge.
  2. May or may or may not have known about the Colts specific complaints RE: PSI
  3. May or may not have properly designated K-Ball #1 with his mark.

But if he says all balls were 12.5 on the number to start the game…. WE BELIEVE HIM!

You have a missing K-Ball, that got into the hands of a petty thief on your payroll who had to be fired.

And you have the following men running around involved in arguing, chasing, taking, squeezing, measuring, collecting and recording the PSI of the footballs during the game.

Johnny Grier – Game Supervisor

Scott Miller – NFL Auctions Supervisor

Greg Yette – K-Ball Coordinator

Stephen Gostkowski – Kicker

John Jastremski – Ballboy

Tom McNally – Ballboy

Akili Coad – Director of Football Ops and Compliance

Dave Schoenfeld – Patriots Equipment Manager

Eric Kerzner – “Guy to Assist in Football Ops” –

Alberto Riveron – Backup Referee #1

Clete Blakeman – Backup Referee #2

Dyrol Prioleau – Backup Referee #3

Troy Vincent – Executive VP of Football Ops

Dan Grossi – NFL Director of Event Security

Mike Kensil – VP of Game Ops

James Daniel – Kencil Assistant? (Walked intercepted Brady ball into lockeroom for testing)

Berj Najarian – Belichick’s “Chief of Staff” (Went looking for balls at halftime)

David Thornton – Colts Director of Player Engagement (First took intercepted Brady Ball from D’Qwell Jackson)

Brian Seabrooks – Colts Assistant Equipment Manager (Took ball from Thornton)

Un-named – Colts Equipment Intern (Measured ball with “digital” gauge, but reported it as “approximately” (huh?) 11 psi)

Sean Sullivan – Colts Equipment Manager (Squeezed ball and thought it “felt soft”)

Danielle Lee – NFL Game Ops Representative (Radioed to Coad, Daniel and Kensil to alert them of Colts complaint).

Jon Scott – VP of Colts Equipment Operations  (Called Ryan Grigson)

Ryan Grigson – Colts GM – (Got call in pressbox and was ready to storm down and kick some ass!)

Pete Ward – Colts COO – (Followed Grigson like a toady)

John Farley – Dude who wrote down PSI readings, and may have f***ed one of them up, and was wrong about who owned the gauge being used!!!

Now… pour all of that horseshit into a grinder, bill the NFL a few million for the work, watch Roger Goodell sprinkle some of his magic ego-dust on it and… POOF.

Tom Brady, four game suspension.

That is a staggering amount of manpower devoted to “Ops” “Compliance” and “Security” and yet it all reads like a Benny Hill skit. A real executive would dismiss the charges, put the Patriots on double-secret probation going forward, immediately implement new, simpler game ball “ops” – AND FIRE THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF HALF OF THE PEOPLE LISTED ABOVE!

As one last add, you must – I mean MUST! – read the “Ballad of Golden Boy” as I call it, or more specifically the narrative on what happened to magic “K-Ball #1.” It. Is. Pure. Comedy. Gold.

And not to spoil the ending, but the last paragraph, Page 139 underscores with a thud, why all of this matters ZERO to competitive advantage.

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Steve Czaban is a 25 year sports radio veteran, who hosts an afternoon drive show in Washington D.C. "Czabe" also writes and edits his own commentaries for www.czabe.com and other on-line and print publications. He can be reached at czabe@yahoo.com.

7 COMMENTS

  1. What I want to know is how a deflated ball helps a team block, tackle, pick up a blitz, adjust to a defensive scheme, get a critical first down, manage the clock, make adjustments at halftime . . . (ahem) run faster, read a defense and score more points than the opponent. How is that accomplished by deflating the ball? How does a non-deflated ball automatically doom an opposing team? How does San Diego get a $20,000 fine and a sheepish shrug from the commish – basically telling those rascals to cut down the horseplay or there will be no pudding cups and the Pats get Thor’s hammer to the temple?

  2. I do not think the appeal will be granted at any level (maybe, just maybe, get a draft pick back). I will crawl out on a limb and state that the marketing and PR department got involved and stated, “Hey, if we schedule Brady’s first game back as the one against the Colts, on Prime Time, we will have ratings through the roof with the pre-game hype!” This has more to do with marketing and story lines than it does about the findings in the Wells Report. “Brady is out for revenge to salvage his name and reputation, the Colts are out to support justice” blah, blah, blah.

    This is pure marketing genius – and we all know the football machine is all about marketing and all about the mighty dollar. Think of the stuff that could be sold at the NFL store – Deflate-gate jersey’s, footballs that always feel “soft,” logo’d PSI gauges (digital AND analog), Terrible Towel’s with the PSI numbers on them (Steelers game), etc. This is like hitting a small gold deposit in an old mine.

    “Money, money, money” by the O’Jays comes to mind.

  3. Fuck, Czabe, could you be any more illiterate in your writing? You spell “anomaly” differently twice in a paragraph, and both are fucking wrong. Get a thesaurus or dictionary or at least a copy editor who can help you not look like a dumbass in print media.

  4. Solid TKO of this traveshamockery, Czabe. I’m 100% sure < 1% of the Patriot-haters (and < 15% of sportswriters, which is their JOB) have not bothered to read or analyze the report.

    @StikeDC
    Longtime listener local & national

  5. Without statistical rigor, one could easily imagine that there is significant error in the recollection of the pre-game measurements (as pointed out by czabe). I think it would be completely relevant to show these guys 12 – 16 numbers on a given day, then ask them what the average of those numbers is a few days later. They would likely have significant error even if you give them the benefit of allowing them to know what you’re doing and allow them to mentally calculate the averages immediately after showing the numbers. Now introduce the additional error of time-lapse-induced memory loss, and it’s pretty easy to introduce a tolerance of +/- 0.4 psi (just as a suppose-so). Now (again not statistically rigorous, and admittedly cherry-picking) – Call the Colts pregame measurement 13.4 rather than 13.0 and the Pats # to be 12.1 rather than 12.5 (BTW – those pregame numbers are AWFULLY round – don’t you think?). Now the average pressure drops from pregame to halftime become:
    Gauge Pats Colts
    Non-Logo 0.99 1.13
    Logo 0.61 0.73

    Well now… that would mean that the Colts balls dropped more pressure than the Pats!? I will now point out that I am not a fan of either team. If I had a gun to my head and had to choose to root for one of them, I’d pick the Colts. My only goal here is to point out that the report puts an extrordinally heavy weight on the recollection of those pregame numbers, and doesn’t seem to introduce any thoughtful discussion on the margin of error for those numbers.

    Discard this message from your brain as you see fit.

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