NFL Officials Over-Inflated Patriot Balls

One of the ironies of the NFL’s conduct in this affair is that it can be established that NFL officials (under the supervision of NFL Executive Vice President Troy Vincent) over-inflated Patriot balls at half-time, the only proven tampering with Patriot balls. Brady and the Patriots were unaffected by the overinflation by NFL officials, as they destroyed the Colts in the second half.

Exponent must have noticed the over-inflation by officials, as it is implied by the post-game measurements, but failed to report or comment on it. Their avoidance becomes all the more conspicuous because many of the texts at issue in the Wells Report pertain to an earlier incident in which NFL officials had over-inflated Patriot balls, much to Brady’s frustration and annoyance at the time.

Post-Game Measurements Show Over-Inflation
After the AFC Championship game, the NFL retrieved all balls. But instead of measuring all balls, they only measured 4 Patriot and 4 Colt balls, said to have been randomly sampled. Paired measurements were made using the Logo and Non-Logo gauges. Once again, they did not keep track of the time of the measurements or record the temperature of the balls at the time of measurement. Nonetheless, some information can be gleaned from the results.

The average Colt measurement using the Non-Logo scale was 12.35 psig (12.7125 Logo). These results were almost identical to average Colt measurements at half-time (NonLogo- 12.3250; Logo -12.7375), from which one can deduce that the ball temperatures at the time of full-time measurement were almost exactly equal to the ball temperatures at the time of Colt half-time measurement.

Even without this information, based on a starting Colt pressure of 13 psig at pregame 71 deg F, the temperature at the time of the post-game measurements using Ideal Gas Law was ~58.55 deg F (using Non-Logo measurements in both cases).

It appears almost certain that the Patriot post-game measurements were taken at more or less the same time – and therefore, ball temperature – as the Colt post-game measurements. Assume that this was done within 1 deg F of the Colt post-game temperature. Applying the Ideal Gas Law, this yields a range of 13.69-13.8 psig (Non-Logo Gauge) at an equilibrium temperature of 71 deg F (the pregame temperature used in this calculation) – all values that are above the NFL maximum of 13.5 psig. (Measurements using the biased Logo Gauge would have read ~0.38 psi higher.)

This surprising “violation” of NFL rules by their own referees and officials surely merited comment in Exponent’s report. However, Exponent completely evaded the topic, not even reporting the post-game measurements (these were reported only by the lawyers in the text of the Wells Report itself). Exponent purported to excuse this omission on the supposed grounds that post-game information was “significantly less certain” than corresponding pre-game information:

Based on information from Paul, Weiss, we understand that shortly after the end of the AFC Championship Game, four Patriots footballs and four Colts footballs were also measured by the two game officials who had conducted the halftime tests, using the same two gauges used at halftime. Although we understand that these measurements were also recorded in writing, information concerning the timing of these measurements, the pressure levels at which these eight footballs started the second half and the identity of the four Colts footballs tested after the game (specifically, whether they were the same footballs that had been tested at halftime) was significantly less certain, especially as compared with the information about similar issues concerning the pre-game period. As a result, we did not believe that the post-game measurements provided a scientifically reasonable basis on which to conduct further analysis.

The Wells Report itself regurgitated this piffle from Exponent almost verbatim as follows:

Although these measurements were recorded in conditions similar to those present during halftime, information concerning the timing of these measurements, the pressure levels at which these eight footballs started the second half and the identity of the four Colts footballs tested after the game (specifically, whether they were the same footballs that had been tested at halftime) is significantly less certain than the information about similar issues concerning the pre-game or halftime periods. As a result, our experts concluded that that the post-game measurements did not provide a scientifically reasonable basis on which to conduct a comparative analysis similar to that performed using the pre-game and halftime measurements.

However, none of these arguments pass the light of day. The four post-game Colt footballs were said to have been randomly chosen and their identity to half-time footballs would only matter if the four Colt half-time footballs had not been randomly chosen – a topic that the Wells Report does not discuss. Nor does it matter what pressure level at which the Colt footballs started the second half.

Nor, especially, is the post-game information “significantly less certain” than pre-game information. There are paired post-game measurements for each ball, from which one can reasonably deduce the actual pressure and temperature at the time of measurement. In contrast, there are no paired pre-game measurements and one is forced to guess which gauge was used. If the post-game information was insufficient to provide a “scientifically reasonable basis on which to conduct further analysis”, then all the more so for pre-game.

Previous NFL Over-Inflation in the October 2014 Patriot-Jet Game
Curiously, a considerable portion of the Wells Report is devoted to Patriot texts about a previous incident of referee over-inflation.

According to texts in the Wells Report, the referees of a Thursday night game between the Patriots and Jets on October 16, 2014 had over-inflated some (or more) of the footballs to nearly 16 psig, far above the maximum of 13.5 psig. Brady noticed the over-inflation and complained angrily to Patriot equipment manager John Jastremski during the game. During half-time, Jastremski texted an unidentified recipient about Brady’s complaints and, like Climategate correspondent Raymond Bradley rolling his eyes at Michael Mann’s whining, said that he was “ready to vomit”:

Jastremski: Tom is acting crazy about balls… Ready to vomit.
Recipient: K … He saying there[they’re] not good enough??
Jastremski: Tell later.

The Patriots almost lost to an abysmal Jet team, winning only because of a blocked field goal at the end of the game. The next morning, Jastremski checked the balls and determined that Brady’s complaints had been justified. He texted his fiancee (“Panda”) around 8:05 a.m.:

Ugh. Tom was right… I just measured some of the balls. They supposed to be 13 lbs [psi]. They were like 16 [psi]. Felt like bricks.

Jastremski also texted Jim McNally, the part-time Patriot employee responsible for the officials’ room and subsequently accused of deflating balls in a washroom prior to the AFC Championship game, that the referees had over-inflated some of the balls to nearly 16 psi, adding the additional information that the referees had apparently pumped additional air into the footballs, but not deflated them with the gauge to regulation pressure:

Jastremski: I checked some of the balls this morn… The refs fucked us…a few of then were at almost 16… They didnt recheck then after they put air in them

Such “rechecking” is required because, practically, footballs are inflated by pump above the target pressure and air is then released by gauge needle to get to the desired pressure. The procedure was described for the AFC Championship pregame in the Wells Report as follows:

According to Anderson, two of the game balls provided by the Patriots measured below the 12.5 psi threshold. Yette used the air pump provided by the Patriots to inflate those footballs, explaining that he “purposefully overshot” the range (because it is hard to be precise when adding air), and then gave the footballs back to Anderson, who used the air release valve on his gauge to reduce the pressure down to 12.5 psi.

Ironically, by testing the balls after they had arrived at equilibrium, Jastremski had carried out an elementary test either neglected or not reported by the NFL in respect to the intercepted ball (which had not been reflated at half-time and which had been kept in NFL possession) or in respect to the Colt balls (whose exact opening pressure with known gauges was not known.)

Brady’s complaints about over-inflation led to several ragging exchanges between McNally, who evidently felt unappreciated by Brady, and Jastremski during the following week. These texts constitute the majority of the texts adduced as supposed evidence in the Wells Report, though none of them ever refer to tampering with footballs after official inspection, let alone Brady condoning such tampering.


50 Comments

  1. chrimony
    Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

    Steve McIntyre: “Brady’s complaints about over-inflation led to several ragging exchanges between McNally, who evidently felt unappreciated by Brady, and Jastremski during the following week. These texts constitute the majority of the texts adduced as supposed evidence in the Wells Report, though none of them ever refer to tampering with footballs after official inspection, let alone Brady condoning such tampering.”

    The average person can look at the ClimateGate email and know something is wrong, even if they screw up exactly what is wrong (such as “hide the decline” actually being about proxies and not modern temperatures). The average person can also look at the Deflategate texts, combined with the fact that McNally went completely out of protocol and locked himself in a bathroom with the balls before the Colts game, and reasonably conclude the obvious, that the “Deflator” was not called that for losing weight, and that the needle Jastremski was so anxious to get the “Deflator” after the Jets game was to be used to deflate balls, and that McNally did so before the Colts game.

    Steve, you’re not doing your climate work any favors by trying to paint the Patriots as some innocent victims here. Pointing out errors in scientific reports and processes is one thing, but you’ve gone a step beyond that.

    • mpainter
      Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

      “completely out of protocol”

      Is there an NFL protocol that you can cite?

      • chrimony
        Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

        mpainter: “Is there an NFL protocol that you can cite?”

        It’s in the report on page 32 (nominally), page 36 by actual page count:

        “In addition, Rule 2 provides that the “Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications . . . and the balls shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to the start of the game.””

        Also on page 35 (39):

        “Once the balls have left the locker room, no one, including players, equipment managers and coaches are allowed to alter the footballs in any way. If any individual alters the footballs, or if a non-approved ball is used in the game, the person responsible and, if appropriate, the head coach or other club personnel will be subject to discipline, including but not limited to, a fine of $25,000.”

        The fact that “The Deflator” took the balls out of the locker room after the inspection and locked himself in a bathroom with them is damning evidence for anybody with a bit of common sense.

        • chuckrr
          Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

          I’m sure the video tape shows the bathroom door being locked. Could you cite the evidence that he locked himself in the bathroom. It must be pretty important since you keep emphasizing that point. Is there anything else that you can think of that he might have been doing in that bathroom. possibly drugs or calling his bookie with info Brady gave him. There’s all kinds of nefarious activities that could have been going on

        • chrimony
          Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

          chuckrr: “I’m sure the video tape shows the bathroom door being locked. Could you cite the evidence that he locked himself in the bathroom. It must be pretty important since you keep emphasizing that point.”

          Of the 4 posts and 6 times in which I mention the balls being taken into the bathroom, it is only this one time I mention the bathroom being locked. So no, that it was locked is not “pretty important” and you are completely wrong that I “keep emphasizing that point”. The video presumably has no problem showing McNally carrying the bag of footballs out of the locker room and into a bathroom and back into the locker room, something McNally had no business doing and explicitly forbidden from doing by the rules.

          As for how they determined that he locked the bathroom, the report says it is based on video and eyewitness testimony, so presumably the locked portion is eyewitness. However, as I’ve made clear, the fact that the bathroom was locked is not the salient point.

        • MikeN
          Posted Jun 29, 2015 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

          You are mistaken. McNally did not take the balls from the locker room to the bathroom and back to the locker room.

          The balls were under the supervision of the referee until they announced the game is on, at which point McNally took the balls to the field, stopping at the bathroom.

          I assume the bathroom is like an airplane bathroom or has a deadbolt, and the video somehow shows it being locked.

        • chuckrr
          Posted Jun 29, 2015 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

          I should do a little research before I spout off. Regardless you seemed to think that was pretty damning that he would lock the door.The point is that adding the fact that he locked the bathroom door seems to be thrown in only to create more suspicion. Locking the bathroom door is completely normal behavior if it’s a small bathroom. Of course the report doesn’t say what kind or size of bathroom it was . You see this type of manipulation throughout the report.
          Also the Patriots ball attendant didn’t break any rules by taking the balls out of the waiting room. This was an unusual situation because the officials and teams were waiting for the overtime of the previous game to end. When the game ended one of the officials said “we’re back on”. That’s when the ball attendant took the balls out. Right in front of all the officials with no complaints. Then he stopped at the bathroom on the way to the field.

          Finally do you know the origin of the defalator term, when it was texted, how many times it was texted, what context and how many times it was used in the report?

        • chrimony
          Posted Jun 30, 2015 at 4:09 AM | Permalink

          MikeN: “You are mistaken. McNally did not take the balls from the locker room to the bathroom and back to the locker room.

          The balls were under the supervision of the referee until they announced the game is on, at which point McNally took the balls to the field, stopping at the bathroom.”

          My mistake in saying that he brought the balls back to the locker room. However, the report completely disputes that McNally had permission to take the balls to the field, and describes that Walt Anderson, the head referee, was distressed because he couldn’t find the balls when he was ready to start the game (page 56).

          What’s actually interesting, from reading the report, is just how gaping the protocol for securing the balls after checking by officials is, as described in footnote 34 on page 62. Normally there’s a 15-20 minute gap where the officials are doing a pre-game walk-through on the field while the balls are left unsupervised in the Officials Locker Room. If McNally, “The Deflator”, wanted to tamper with the balls, he normally had plenty of opportunity to do so. However, this game was unusual in that the locker room was busy and he would have been noticed, so taking the into the bathroom would have given him the opportunity he needed.

          Also, the report notes that McNally was an “attendant”, basically a fetch-boy, and nominally had no role in preparing the balls, including setting their air pressure. That was Jastremski’s job. So all the “jokes” about needles, deflation/inflation, “not going to espn……..yet”, getting perks from Brady, etc, between Jastremski and McNally in their text messages make no sense in that regard. They do, however, make complete sense if McNally deflated balls for the Patriots.

          Steve: the Patriot defence observed that Brady gave tips to many of the seasonal employees that directly helped the team. They reasonably criticize the Wells Report for not properly recording this exculpatory information. They also point out that McNally’s duties as officials’ room attendant included the provision of pumps and needles to the referees and thus were within the scope of his duties. Whether one accepts that the comments related to those duties or were evidence of tampering is a different question, but it should not begin with the premise that McNally’s official duties were unconnected to the provision of pumps and needles to the referees.

        • chrimony
          Posted Jul 1, 2015 at 1:49 AM | Permalink

          Steve: “the Patriot defence observed that Brady gave tips to many of the seasonal employees that directly helped the team. They reasonably criticize the Wells Report for not properly recording this exculpatory information. They also point out that McNally’s duties as officials’ room attendant included the provision of pumps and needles to the referees and thus were within the scope of his duties. Whether one accepts that the comments related to those duties or were evidence of tampering is a different question, but it should not begin with the premise that McNally’s official duties were unconnected to the provision of pumps and needles to the referees.”

          Should I start calling you “Racehorse”? This is the kind of nitpick defense that Nick Stokes is infamous for on here. It misses the forest for the trees, and relies on strained interpretations that are completely unconvincing when looking at the texts as a whole, such as McNally talking about not going to ESPN after asking for sneakers and calling himself “the deflator”, and McNally talking about directly setting the pressure on the balls — even as jokes, it doesn’t make sense unless he was actually involved with setting the pressure: “im going make that next ball a fuckin balloon” (just one of many texts in this same vein).

          By the way, I don’t get notifications when you reply by editing my posts. The only reason I noticed your comment was because somebody else replied and I ran across it.

          Steve: I didn’t comment yet on my interpretation of the text at this time, I merely observed that, in my opinion, the Wells Report had an obligation to report any exculpatory facts and weigh them. I think that the facts that McNally’s duties apparently included provision of needles was a relevant fact and should have been mentioned by the report, even if they adopted an adverse interpretation. You’re jumping ahead of what I’ve analysed so far.

          At this point, we do not know what the NFL would have concluded if Exponent had properly reported the statistics. If, for example, Exponent had said that the Patriot Game Day inflation could be explained by physics and gauges – as they ought to do have done – then, in my opinion, the case would have taken a different turn.

          I come at the texts in a somewhat different timing than most people. I hadn’t followed the dispute originally other than knowing about it and analysed the data prior to examining the texts.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 1, 2015 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

          I’ve noticed that none of the critics of these posts have challenged the statistical analysis and instead have limited their arguments to the texts. Are chrimony or others convinced by Wells Report statistical analysis? If so, can you point out any defects with my statistical analysis?

        • Posted Jul 1, 2015 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

          If so, can you point out any defects with my statistical analysis?

          Warning: many bright climate scientists have tried and failed.

          Actually, come to think of it, they haven’t even tried.

        • chrimony
          Posted Jul 2, 2015 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

          Steve McIntyre: “I’ve noticed that none of the critics of these posts have challenged the statistical analysis and instead have limited their arguments to the texts. Are chrimony or others convinced by Wells Report statistical analysis? If so, can you point out any defects with my statistical analysis?”

          I’ve limited my critical comments to the texts because, which I noted in my initial post on your first blog entry, that’s the evidence I find most damning. I’ve also noted that, “Thus, while your analysis does not rule out environmental factors, notably, it does not rule out intentional deflation, either.” You did not contradict or reply to this statement. So the answer to your question is that I assume, lacking contradictory information and the desire to audit your statistical analysis, that such analysis is correct, but it doesn’t change my overall conclusions on Deflategate.

        • Navy Bob
          Posted Jul 2, 2015 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

          Chrimony – (reply to your 07/02 10:02 AM post) I’m not following your reasoning. You say you accept Steve’s statistical analysis. He concluded that the only tampering with the Patriots’ footballs was done by NFL officials, not by the Patriots. Therefore, the Patriots violated no rules. And with no violation, the ambiguous texts concerning Brady’s anger over illegal over-inflation (again by NFL officials) during the Jets game, are meaningless. If the Patriots didn’t violate the tampering rules by deflating the balls, who cares about the texts? Why should Steve have to prove the Patriots didn’t do anything, when he’s shown, and you’ve apparently agreed, that there’s no evidence they did?

          There was another tampering violation during the Colts games – by the Colts. After the ball was intercepted, the Colts measured its pressure on the sidelines. That was a violation of the anti-tampering rule. Once a game starts, only the referees are allowed to stick a needle in the ball. But the NFL has not seen fit to charge the Colts, or the referees or Aaron Rodgers, who publicly confessed to illegally over-inflating footballs, with anything. Only the Patriots, who as we’ve seen here, did nothing.

        • chrimony
          Posted Jul 2, 2015 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

          Navy Bob: “I’m not following your reasoning. You say you accept Steve’s statistical analysis. He concluded that the only tampering with the Patriots’ footballs was done by NFL officials, not by the Patriots. He concluded that the only tampering with the Patriots’ footballs was done by NFL officials, not by the Patriots. [..] Why should Steve have to prove the Patriots didn’t do anything, when he’s shown, and you’ve apparently agreed, that there’s no evidence they did?”

          You wouldn’t be confused if you read what I wrote and didn’t say I agreed to a strawman version of Steve’s analysis. His conclusion was inconclusive, in that environmental factors can’t be ruled out, but it doesn’t conclusively state that intentional deflation can be ruled out either. In the face of inconclusive statistical analysis versus damning (in my opinion) evidence of tampering via the texts, video, and eyewitness accounts, I go with the latter.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 3, 2015 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

          chrimony says:

          His [Steve’s] conclusion was inconclusive, in that environmental factors can’t be ruled out, but it doesn’t conclusively state that intentional deflation can be ruled out either.

          A very reasonable question and challenge. I’ve responded to this question in a follow-up post and the results were surprisingly sharp. I believe that it is possible to more or less completely rule out manual deflation if Logo initialization.

          If Non-Logo initialization, I think that one can more or less rule out manual deflation other than deflation approximately equal to 0.38 psi – an amount that is identical to the inter-gauge bias – plus/minus uncertainty. “High” manual deflation and very low manual deflation are ruled out even with Non-Logo initialization.

          This raises the obvious question of why the Patriots would have chosen to manually deflate balls such that the average deflation matched the inter-gauge bias of referee Anderson’s gauges – a startling coincidence to say the least. Or one could conclude that they used the Logo gauge to initialize patriot balls.

          I haven’t tried to express the above “coincidence” in probability terms, but it should be possible to do so. On any neutral prior, the odds of deflation matching the inter-gauge bias are surely very small and far too low to be “more probable than not”.

        • chuckrr
          Posted Jul 2, 2015 at 9:41 PM | Permalink

          Chirmony
          There’s a small problem. There is no video evidence of the balls being deflated…None. There is no eyewitness evidence of the balls being deflated…None. And there are no texts of anyone admitting to or ordering anyone to illegally deflate balls….none Other than that you have some great points

        • chuckrr
          Posted Jul 2, 2015 at 9:43 PM | Permalink

          sorry “chrimony”

      • mpainter
        Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

        Cannot see that protocol forbids ball attendant from going to the bathroom.

        • Henry
          Posted Jul 1, 2015 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

          I fully agree if the footballs need to go to the bathroom and take a “LEAK” well by all means let them take a “LEAK”.

          “LeaK”…..get it…get it…..

          Now I see the under inflated balls were purely self inflicted by the footballs themselves, the “DEFLATOR” was completely innocent.

          And it’s true the Colts are famous (or rather infamous) for their use of football cozies to keep their balls nice and toasty ; ) and their PSI’s artificially high.

          No I’m serious their ball boy in charge of the footballs nickname is ………wait for it……wait for it…..wait for it……”COZIES”.

          BOOOYAH!!!!!

        • chuckrr
          Posted Jul 1, 2015 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

          Henry,
          Do you known how many texts the term “deflator was used? What time of year? And what the corresponding texts related to it were?

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 2, 2015 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

          Henry,
          You make me smile with your “take a leak” comment.

          But, Henry: no crime, no criminal.
          Steve has plausibly shown that the only”crime” is the egregious science by Exponent.
          Hence all hinges on the refutation of Steve’s work here (but Steve is not the , only person of expertise who condemns Exponent’s methodology and conclusions; there are others).

      • mpainter
        Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 7:18 PM | Permalink

        Was it established that McNally was not ball attendant?

        • chuckrr
          Posted Jun 29, 2015 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

          McNally was the ball attendant

    • talldave2
      Posted Jul 14, 2015 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

      It doesn’t matter why he was called the Deflator.

      It doesn’t matter if he took the balls in the bathroom.

      It doesn’t even matter if he deflated the balls, as long as he was attempting to get them into regulation pressure, or something reasonably close to it.

      None of those things are evidence of intent to cheat.

      The report’s conclusions make it clear this is smear job put together at the behest of people who don’t like the Patriots.

      As McIntyre shows, balls were, in fact, overinflated by officials, and Brady had every right to complain, and have them deflated.

  2. mpainter
    Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

    This post raises many questions. Those who have explanations to give are Exponent, NFL officials and referees.

    SMc:”Nor does it matter what pressure level at which the Colt football’s started the second half”

    It certainly does not matter, and Exponent’s claim that it did matter does not square with an impartial and thorough investigation, it seems.

    The over inflation of the Patriot footballs at half time calls for a fine, if NFL standards are to be applied with an impartial hand. The Patriots were fined $one million. Hmmm.

    Did Exponent foresee such a complication in their review of the facts?

    Lots of questions.

  3. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

    In my climate work, I’ve tried to see whether people prove their claims and to call things as I see it. I believe that I’m examining the Wells Report the same way – have they proved their claims.

    I try to divide problems into bite-size pieces and parse each part. If there are several parts, critics often want to talk about a topic that I haven’t yet parsed.

    In this case, I’ve been looking first at technical points to see whether the Wells Report’s analysis was sufficient to establish that it was “more probable than not” that there had been under-inflation of Patriot balls on the AFC Championship day. In my opinion, many of their key assertions are incorrect technically. Whether an arbitrator could arrive at the same penalties if presented with correctly stated technical results is a different question and one that cannot be answered unless Exponent re-states their results to eliminate errors.

    In respect to Climategate, I thought that it was unhelpful when people inaccurately interpreted the texts. For example, incorrect exegesis of “hide the decline” was unhelpful. I also didn’t think that the term “contain the MWP” was of any concern or interest, though some uninformed people were bothered by it.

    I haven’t parsed the Deflategate texts yet, though I don’t get the impression that there isn’t anything as damning as “hide the decline”, particularly given the innocuousness of the few Brady texts. That the penalties were so severe and immediate in Deflategate, while the Climategaters got off scot-free is an issue.

    • chrimony
      Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

      Steve McIntyre: “I haven’t parsed the Deflategate texts yet”

      Yet you saw fit to comment on them and give the overall impression that they were innocent, which is the kind of uninformed response that you dislike from the people who misinterpreted “hide the decline”.

      Steve: let me clarify: I’ve read the texts connected with the Jets’ game carefully and, to the extent that I am giving an impression of my views on these specific texts, my opinion is not “uninformed”. By “parsing”, I mean the sort of careful, even pedantic, text exegesis that I do from time to time, which is a matter of writeup rather than interpretation. I think that you’re being unfair in comparing this thoroughness with the sort of incorrect exegesis of Climategate that annoyed me.

      • chrimony
        Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

        Steve: “I think that you’re being unfair in comparing this thoroughness with the sort of incorrect exegesis of Climategate that annoyed me.”

        I don’t think I’m being unfair at all. You want to play it both ways. First, you give favorable impressions of texts for the Patriots, then when called out on it, you plead you haven’t “parsed the texts” and claim you are only focusing on technical points. Now you say you’ve read the texts and your opinion isn’t “uninformed”.

        Steve, I tremendously respect all the work you’ve put into trying to scientifically audit climate reports, but if you ever wonder why those scientists just can’t admit a mistake when they make one, you only have to look in the mirror. You’ve been doing some artful dodging yourself, and I’ve been following the pea.

        • Follow the Money
          Posted Jun 30, 2015 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

          “You’ve been doing some artful dodging yourself, and I’ve been following the pea.”

          It’s apparent you’ve been falling the prosecution’s narrative devices. Here’ one:

          They do, however, make complete sense if McNally deflated balls for the Patriots.

          Probably deflated…and inflated balls all the time. So what? How many balls for practice squad alone? Also, watch how “deflation” is insinuated as improper. Might have been within legal pressures, say if the refs at game time inflated the balls to 16 psi…

          and I’ve been following the pea.
          The pea being the Wells Report, or something outside of that? Because what’s inside reads like a prosecutor’s arguments and exhibits.
          Although I do not believe the composers grasped the gravamen of the texts about the referees over-inflating footballs at a game.

          getting perks from Brady

          So what? Top paid QBs and many RBs gift offensive linemen with gifts every year. Joe Montana famously dished out Rolexes. Brady has given cars to his OL. Might as well throw a few signed footballs to the person you call an “attendant”, basically a fetch-boy.

  4. MikeN
    Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

    I think you have left out one possibility. There is an extra effect that is lowering the pressures of footballs. So the Colts postgame are at a higher temperature than halftime.

    • MikeN
      Posted Jun 29, 2015 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

      Of course this effect would have to lower the pressure for the Patriots as well.

  5. Doug Reichlin
    Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 1:10 PM | Permalink

    I love you Steve! You are absolutely fearless to take on deflategate, and risk the ire of the entire “hate Tom Brady” universe! That’s what makes you such a great scientist! You just don’t care what other people think. The numbers are the numbers.

  6. Doug Reichlin
    Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 1:11 PM | Permalink

    p.s. I hate Tom Brady!

  7. Follow the Money
    Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    As a result, we did not believe that the post-game measurements provided a scientifically reasonable basis on which to conduct further analysis.

    On the same reasoning there is not a “scientifically reasonable basis” to analyze the random pre-game measurements too. If one uses logic. I cannot believe how bad this all is…o.k, I can.

  8. Rob Potter
    Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    The issue of the texts and behaviour of McNally are completely separate to the issue of whether the balls were – fact – deliberately under-inflated. Steve is doing what he is very good at and addressing this issue – does the Exponent report conclusively support ball tampering. The evidence does not appear to do this and therefore the behaviour of the people involved is irrelevant.

    Mentioning the previous issue of over-inflation is germane to the argument as it shows the procedures which the NFL have followed in the past and which may have affected the condition of the balls when investigated.

    It is quite clear that none of this evidence would be enough to secure a conviction in a court of law where the standard of proof required is “beyond reasonable doubt”. Under the somewhat arbitrary procedures of an NFL investigation such standards are not required, but at the very least the evidence for whether any illegal activity actually took place needs to be critically reviewed. The facts of the case (whether there was any under-inflation) have to come before judging the behaviour of the people involved.

    • Follow the Money
      Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

      The issue of the texts and behaviour of McNally are completely separate to the issue of whether the balls were – fact – deliberately under-inflated.

      After reading them in the report..I agree. I also believe the report compositors did not understand the gravamen of the texts about the referees. Otherwise, I would have to believe the main intention of this report is a cover up, distraction, or glossing over of NFL and officiating deficiencies. Btw, the line was 10 points, the pass-oriented Patriots only won by two.

    • MikeN
      Posted Jun 29, 2015 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

      So if there was a text that said, set to 12.0, that would be completely separate to the issue of whether the balls were – fact – deliberately under-inflated?

  9. Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 3:03 PM | Permalink

    I think the Deflategate “goat” is the NFL. Why is there a rule without means or intent to enforce?

  10. mpainter
    Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    Steve,
    I have trouble following you on the Patriot’s balls post game pressures as measured. You apply the Ideal Gas Law but I cannot find the actual measured pressure. Did I miss something?

    Steve: I’ll post up a script tomorrow documenting how I did the calculation.

  11. EdeF
    Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    16 psi. What a totally unexpected twist on the whole situation.

    ps—it’s Steves’s blog………he can write on any topic that interests him. And we gladly read it!!

  12. editstet
    Posted Jun 28, 2015 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

    I asked this of Ted Wells the day after the report came out and believe it still stands up.
    What I don’t understand is how officials when they reinflated the Patriots balls:
    1. Set 13 psi as their target for reinflation, despite knowing that the Patriots preferred 12.5 psi. As a matter of comparison for after the game to determine if deflation actually occurred reinflating to the 12.5 psi would have been more appropriate. Setting a higher psi could be seen as an ad hoc punishment inflicted on the Patriots because of the possible deflation of balls in the first half.
    2. Could miss the 13 psi reinflation target by so much. Four Patriots balls checked after the game had ranges on the gauge that was registering a higher pressure of 13.35 to 13.65 psi and 12.95 to 13.25 indicating that they were overinflated at half-time. Indeed, normal deflation after recooling would mean that based on the higher pressure gauge all of the balls were inflated to above the 13.5 upper limit of the rule, while if measured on the lower pressure gauge two of the balls likely were. So, the refs who reinflated the Patriots balls appear to have given them footballs that violated the rules by inflating them over the limit.
    Can you or the league explain that?

    If you can’t, then the post game results suggest the balls very well might not have been appropriately measured and inflated pre-game by the referee. You wrote that Anderson did not know which gauge he used. And as he switched bags and balls, he may have well switched gauges as well. How does the league know for sure that he didn’t? The two referees who measured the pressure at half time appear to have done so themselves.
    Finally, as a general observation, how could the Patriots violate a standard if the NFL did not have a real standard to violate? Your report pointed out that the league did not determine a gauge for referees to use to set the pressures and the gauges that were used differed by as much as 4%. Further, it doesn’t seem they established a particular referee or person to inflate the balls and check the measurements. In so doing, the league made the standard 12.5 to 13.5 psi arbitrary depending upon the gauge and the referee. Ergo, no real standard.
    Imagine going to a deli counter and having one machine or a particular butcher charge you $.40 a pound more for the ham you were buying than an honest gauge and honest butcher. Customers would be pretty upset if they found out a store was cheating them that way, despite efforts by the store to say it was all an honest mistake.
    Sometimes its garbage in, sometimes its garbage in the measurement, sometimes you need just a big dump trunk. But I continue to recall what columnist Bert Bacharach, the father of Burt Bacharach, wrote when he was at Colliers: To err is human, but to blame another is even more human.

    • Gdn
      Posted Aug 1, 2015 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

      The Patriots balls being so overinflated after the game suggests to me one of two things:

      1) the balls were colder when inflated at half-time than when measured after the game. The most over-pressure ball would suggest the ball was approximately 13F cooler at half-time than when measured after the game +/- measurement error. This would be one more piece of evidence that the Pats balls were measured while still cold at half-time, and were inflated prior to the Colts balls being measured. Other pieces suggest that even the post game measurement was done before the balls had reached equilibrium.

      2) the measurements were so slapdash that none of the analysis has any meaning – and is thus thoroughly pretentious.

    • mpainter
      Posted Aug 1, 2015 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

      edistet, “Can you or the league explain that?”

      They never will, unless forced by legal processes.

      The whole issue revolves around the fact that the pressure measurements have no corresponding temperature data, i.e., internal air temperature. This omission renders the pressure measurements inconclusive. This could easily be demonstrated by simulations.

  13. beng135
    Posted Jun 29, 2015 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

    Haven’t posted here in a long time, but thank you, Steve. At the beginning of this “overinflated” fiasco, given the fractional pressures in question, I too immediately wondered if simple temp/environmental changes could have been the reason. Seems indeed they could have.

  14. dave164
    Posted Jul 1, 2015 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

    interesting discussion. chrimony, i disagree with your first post “The average person can also look at the Deflategate texts, combined with the fact that McNally went completely out of protocol and locked himself in a bathroom with the balls before the Colts game, and reasonably conclude the obvious, that the “Deflator” was not called that for losing weight, and that the needle Jastremski was so anxious to get the “Deflator” after the Jets game was to be used to deflate balls, and that McNally did so before the Colts game.”

    I would argue if the average person looks at the correct analysis of the science, one can reasonably conclude the obvious – Anderson used the logo gauge pre-game on pats balls, and therefore half time readings show no tampering.

    Here’s what everyone has missed in the wells report that shows the logo gauge was used pre-game on the pats balls:

    From the wells report:
    1. Jastremski prepped 24 new balls from scratch the morning of the game because it was supposed to rain during game time and Brady wanted balls that had better grip for rainy conditions.

    2. Also per report, the pats specific prep process for all 24 balls the morning of that game was to “glove” a ball for 7-15 minutes, then set that ball’s psi to 12.6. Direct quote from pg. 50 of report “Jastremski told us that he set the pressure level to 12.6 psi after each ball was gloved and then placed the ball on a trunk in the equipment room for Brady to review.”

    3. The Exponent tests showed pats “gloving” method raises psi by 0.5 in 7 minutes and by 0.6 psi in 15 minutes. Exponent tests also showed the “gloved” increase in psi wore off after 30 minutes.

    4. So per the report, pats glove a ball for 7-15 minutes, temporarily raising its psi by .5 to .6. Jastremski would then set that ball’s psi to 12.6 and put the ball aside for Brady to review later. So 30 minutes later, after the gloving effect work off, each ball’s psi would be around 12.0 or 12.1.

    5. Wells report specifically notes that Anderson’s pre-game check was much later in the day – so any increase in psi due to gloving had worn off by then, which means when he gauged the pats balls they had to be between 12.0 and 12.1 psi according to the pats gauge they used earlier in the day to set psi to 12.6.

    6. Anderson notes that the gauge he used read around 12.5 for all pats balls, which means the gauge he was using had to be reading .4 to .5 higher than the pats gauge – which is what the logo gauge reads. (If Anderson used the non-logo gauge, the pats balls should have read around 12.0 to 12.1.)

    When you think about it, this actually makes the most sense in reconciling Anderson’s recollection that he used the logo gauge, and how the Pats balls still read 12.5 on the logo gauge.

    Regarding looking at the texts and McNally bringing balls into the bathroom:

    1. McNally bringing balls to field – McNally explained that he has used the bathroom on the way to the field many times in the past, so to him, he did nothing unusual that day. have you looked at http://wellsreportcontext.com/ and specifically the patriots version of what happened with McNally bringing the footballs to the field? http://wellsreportcontext.com/#lockerroom http://wellsreportcontext.com/#sneak http://wellsreportcontext.com/#oneminforty

    2. Texts: A. McNally refers to himself as the deflator 1 time – in the off season after 2013 season (may 2014) the season before the Jets game. So are you saying the patriots were deflating balls in the 2013 season and in the games before the Jets game in 2014? If McNally was deflating balls in the 2013 and 2014 season, how do you explain the balls at the home game against the Jets being 16 psi? B. Have you seen the context for the texts? http://wellsreportcontext.com/#texts1 C. Regarding the texts from Jastremski to McNally “i talked to him last night and he brought you up and said you must be stressed about getting them done” – Jastremski was referring to a friend who was a fraud investigator – they made this person available to interview to confirm all the details – http://wellsreportcontext.com/#texts2

  15. Posted Jul 2, 2015 at 7:38 AM | Permalink

    Reblogged this on I Didn't Ask To Be a Blog.

  16. Long time lurker
    Posted Aug 3, 2015 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    Mr McIntyre
    Possibly of interest to you – I have not read all of your posts re this topic – frankly because the league’s technical and logical mistakes are so ghastly it isn’t even necessary. But I do feel comforted that your analysis sides with my opinion and reading of the data and procedures.

    There is another documented instance of rule breaking in this case:

    The COLTS checked the pressure of the “intercepted Patriots ball”. This is against the rules re tampering with the ball once approved for play. It is documented in the report.

    The COLTS have admitted to breaking the rules.

    • mpainter
      Posted Aug 3, 2015 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

      You need to specify the rule, or portion thereof, which the Colts violated.

      • Long time lurker
        Posted Aug 3, 2015 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

        “Once the balls have left the locker room, no one, including players, equipment managers, ball boys, and coaches, is allowed to alter the footballs in any way,” the manual states. The penalty for noncompliance includes a $25,000 fine.

        Sourced from NFL operations website, and discussed and quoted directly in numerous places such as ESPN and the other reports.

        The act of taking a ball and sticking a needle in it is “altering the football”. The intent of the rule is easily understood – NO ONE can mess with the balls once they are approved for play.

        The league’s case is left with insinuation and innuendo against the Patriots, but the Colts and officials openly admit the Colts needled a ball. It is even in the Wells report. What the report says is effectively “The Patriots may have needled the balls to reduce approx 0.1 psi, and we are going to throw a hissy fit about it. The Colts did needle a ball with unknown/un-interesting results, and we will ignore that.”

      • Long time lurker
        Posted Aug 3, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

        To give fair credit – when re-reading the posts here I see that “Navy Bob” commented the same thing in posts above.

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