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.