## Ruling out high deflation scenarios

Further to my series of posts on Deflategate, reader chrimony observed that my statistical analysis had shown that it was possible that there had been no tampering, but had not excluded the possibility of tampering.  This is a sensible observation, but raises the question of whether and how one could use the available statistical information to exclude tampering. This is analysis that ought to have been done in the Wells Report.  I’ve done the analysis in this post and the results are sharper than I’d anticipated.

For Logo initialization, any manual deflation exceeding de minimis of say 0.1 psi can be excluded by observations.  For Non-Logo initialization, statistical information rules out “high” deflation scenarios i.e.  deflation by more than the inter-gauge bias of 0.38 psi plus uncertainty, including deflation levels of ~0.76 psi reported in Exponent’s deflation simulations.  Remarkably, for Non-Logo initialization, the only manual deflation that is not precluded are amounts equal (within uncertainty) to the inter-gauge bias of ~0.38 psi.  Precisely why Patriots would have deflated balls by an amount almost exactly equal to the bias between referee Anderson’s gauges is a bizarre coincidence, to say the least.  I think that one can safely say that it is “more probable than not” that referee Anderson used the Logo gauge than that such an implausible coincidence.

As discussed in a previous post (see here), half-time ball pressures can be converted to ball temperatures using the Ideal Gas Law and knowledge and/or assumptions of pre-game initialization conditions.

The half-time ambient temperature was 48 deg F (black solid dot).  The average Colt half-time pressures (using relatively unbiased Non-Logo gauge) convert to an average ball temperature of approximately 58.1 deg F (blue + sign).  Based on the information that the referees only measured 4 Colt balls because they were “running out of time”, I’ve estimated the average Colt measurement time at 12.5 minutes, just before the end of half-time at 13.5 minutes.  This yields the negative exponential transient as shown below.  Because Patriots had substantially more ball possession, especially towards the end of the first half, their mix of balls would be wetter than the Colt mix and thus, if anything, below the Colt transient.  Note that this transient is for a mix of wet and dry balls – not dry balls or wet balls.

Figure 1. Half-time ball temperatures. Dry transient is fitted negative exponential to Colt half-time average at estimated average measurement time of 8 minutes.  Wet transient differential is based on information in Figure 27.  Implied ball temperatures for average Patriot half-time pressure measurements is shown for three cases: Logo initialization and no deflation; Non-Logo initialization and no deflation; Non-Logo initialization and 0.72 psi deflation – matching average deflation in Exponent simulations of rapid deflation.

Exponent’s simulations of surreptitious deflation all yielded an average deflation of ~0.76 psi (with very little variability – see note in Appendix.)  If Patriot balls had been deflated after measurement by the same amount as Exponent’s deflation simulation (0.76 psi)  – a plausible comparison – then the implied ball temperature for Patriot half-time average pressure of 11.11 psi (Non-Logo gauge) is 58.4 deg F – higher than the corresponding temperature for Colt balls measured later in the half-time- and well above the transient at plausible average Patriot measurement times.  The implied hiatus contradicts the possibility of surreptitious deflation in the amount of the Exponent simulations.  The only deflation values (Non-Logo gauge initialization) that are consistent with the transient to observed Colt values are values in an interval centered (curiously) at ~0.38 psi  – the precise value of the inter-gauge bias.

For comparison, I’ve also shown the corresponding ball temperature assuming Logo gauge initialization at 71 deg F (red + sign), almost exactly on the Colt temperature transient.   If, after Logo gauge initialization, there had been manual deflation of 0.38 psi, the ball temperature corresponding to 11.11 psi at half-time would be almost exactly equal to the 0.76 psi deflation case for Non-Logo initialization – contradicted by the resulting hiatus.

Discussion

These results are considerably sharper than results in earlier discussion.  For the Logo gauge initialization of Patriot balls, it is not just that observed values are consistent with Logo initialization, but any noticeable (in some sense) manual deflation would yield ball temperatures at 11.11 psi (Non-Logo) that were too high relative to the Colt measurements later in the half-time.  Any manual deflation greater than ~0.1 psi or so would be inconsistent with observations.   Exponent’s simulations did not show that such small deflation could be achieved, nor is there any sensible reason why anyone would bother trying to deflate footballs by ~0.1 psi.

For Non-Logo initialization, any manual deflation greater than ~0.38 psi plus uncertainty allowance, the observed half-time pressures of 11.11 psi (Non-Logo) yields ball temperatures that are too high in comparison with later Colt measurements and are precluded.  Similarly, manual deflation less than ~0.38 psi minus uncertainty allowance yields ball temperatures that are too low in comparison with later Colt measurements.

The remarkable result is that only manual deflation (Non-Logo initialization) that is not precluded are amounts equal, within uncertainty, to the inter-gauge bias of ~0.38.   It surely passes all understanding why the Patriots would set a deflation target that so exactly matched the inter-gauge bias of referee Anderson’s two gauges.  And then executed a surreptitious deflation program exactly implementing this implausible objective.  Or even why they would bother with ~0.38 psi deflation rather than more substantial deflation of 1-1.5 psi or more.

I think that one can safely say that it is “more probable than not” that referee Anderson used the Logo gauge than that such an implausible coincidence.

Appendix – Exponent’s Deflation Simulations

Exponent’s deflation simulations involved three different employees attempting to deflate 11 footballs in 1 minute 40 seconds.    The results were very consistent: each employee deflated the balls by an average of 0.76 psi, with very narrow deflation ranges both intra-employee and intra-employee. The average deflation ranged from 0.75-0.79 psi and standard deviations of ~0.1 psi.  Note that the Wells Report had arm-wavingly attributed Patriot pressure variability to variability in deflation, but their own deflation simulations did not yield anything other than negligible variability – an inconsistency not addressed in the report.

1. AnonyMoose
Posted Jul 3, 2015 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

I think that you’re talking about the NFL Deflategate, but you probably should explicitly define the context of each posting so we don’t misunderstand what you’re talking about.

Steve: done.

2. Posted Jul 3, 2015 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

Watergate, Climategate, Deflategate, it just gets better and better.

3. MikeN
Posted Jul 3, 2015 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

Exponent tried to deflate 12 footballs, I hope.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 4, 2015 at 4:00 AM | Permalink

Correction, there were 13 footballs in the Patriots bag.

• mpainter
Posted Jul 4, 2015 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

Why did Exponent run a deflation simulation with only eleven footballs ? This would change the feasibility conclusions, it seems.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

It’s a typo by Steve.

4. kim
Posted Jul 4, 2015 at 7:58 AM | Permalink

Round the Patriots’ Stars and Stripes,
Pop go the lies and tripe.
==========

• editstet
Posted Jul 4, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

Kim, So good to read from you. Life on the climate blogs is no good without you, or, at least, a lot more boring.

5. MikeN
Posted Jul 4, 2015 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

I wonder if this will be covered at the next Sloan Sports Conference.

6. Doug Reichlin
Posted Jul 4, 2015 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

So the Ref used the wrong gauge, and Brady takes the fall !?!?

While I want to believe you, it still doesn’t explain the “unusual behavior” of all involved (i.e. locking oneself and 13 balls in the bathroom!?!?).

Maybe the “balllboy’s” gauge was accurate (or inaccurate high!!), and they were just adjusting to “regulation minmimums” with an accurate/equally biased gauge, and offsetting the bias in the Ref’s incorrect gauge??

Unravel that one Sherlock! If anyone can, it’s Steve.

The real bottom line is that the “inflategate” did not affect the game’s outcome (whether real or not), and NFFL is scapegoating in response to (paying) public outrage at Brady.

• mpainter
Posted Jul 4, 2015 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

Concerning “locking himself” in the bathroom, I have not yet seen any real confirmation except “the video shows this”. Was there actually a camera in the restroom filming everyone as they took a whiz? Unbelievable!

But in fact, from one very real perspective, McNally had a very good and quite legitimate reason for locking himself in the bathroom with the balls, if he did so:

The game officials could not be trusted to not over inflate the balls, as in the Jets game where the Patriots’ balls were inflated to near 16 psi by the game officials. McNally would simply have gauged the balls to assure that they had not been over-pressurized by some negligent game official.
So there is more than one speculative interpretation of why McNally took the balls into the bathroom.
Of course, McNally may have only answered the call of nature.

Posted Jul 5, 2015 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

“Concerning “locking himself” in the bathroom, I have not yet seen any real confirmation”

It’s a matter or style and persuasion. McNally is the most likely–and only–source for the locked single toilet room door. But acceding such in the text would 1) show cooperation on McNally’s part and 2) detract from mystery-story angle of telling the tale of the tape. Further, acceding that McNally is the source of the bathroom lock information, and taking it to be true, undermines the report’s tacit suggestion we should treat as suspicious McNally’s mistaken recollection of a toilet to be “urinal.” (No joke!)

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 5, 2015 at 8:05 PM | Permalink

I don’t understand how any conclusions can be drawn about locking the bathroom door. The Wells Report says that the bathroom in question had a single toilet:

The bathroom measures approximately 9 feet by 9 feet. It has a single toilet near the back right corner (if one is
standing in the doorway and facing into the bathroom), and a single sink directly across from the door.

I suspect that 99% of all Americans (and Canadians) would lock a single toilet bathroom when using it, just as they do at Starbucks. It amazes me that such drivel is considered relevant, while such a hash is made of the statistics.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 5, 2015 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

The Wells Report has the source to be the security video. I also don’t get why people are making a big deal out of it. I’m just curious how they knew it was locked from the video.

Posted Jul 5, 2015 at 9:39 PM | Permalink

Mike N.:

The Wells Report has the source to be the security video

If you look carefully, I don’t think that is exactly right. True, when discussing the bathroom, it is usually in proximity of discussion of a tape. But take a look at p. 4 para. 5:

Based on videotape evidence and witness interviews… … …McNally entered that bathroom with the game balls, locked the door…

Therefore, “interviews” were part of the evidence of the bathroom visit. Either that is McNally himself, or some guy who walked by and heard a lock click while looking at his wristwatch. It is a “big deal” because the crafting shows motive..of the Report’s wordsmiths.

Steve M.:

Page 20 has my fave: ..McNally’s disappearance into a locked bathroom.. He did not just enter a bathroom, he disappeared into it! I faintly hear Canadian Count Floyd (SCTV-MCHT) baying in him inimical way, “Ooooh, that’s scary!”

Steve: “Disappeared”?!? I wonder if they consulted the Wyndham’s Wizard (of the recent ads).

• Carrick
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

Steve McIntyre:

I don’t understand how any conclusions can be drawn about locking the bathroom door. The Wells Report says that the bathroom in question had a single toilet:

You can conclude the balls, which were illegally in Deflator McNally’s possession, were now no longer visible.

Nothing suspicious there. No sir.

• Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

Carrick – “illegally”?
From a previous comment: “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.”

• Carrick
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

HaroldW, that’s pretty strange logic. It’s now legal because a prior infraction wasn’t penalized???

• Carrick
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

To make sure we’re on the same page here:

The rule in question is Playing Rule 2, Section 1, which from Well’s report states:

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

Possibly it is not an offense to carry the balls for the referees on McNally’s part (if so, it does not seem to be an enforced rule), but it is clearly a violation of Rule 2 to knowingly remove the balls from the supervisory controls of the officials.

Whether the bathroom is a single stall or otherwise, McNally taking them into a locked bathroom was a clear violation of Rule 2.

• Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

Carrick –
My understanding is that McNally was the ball attendant. So I don’t see a violation of “the balls shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant” here.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 9:02 PM | Permalink

HaroldW:

My understanding is that McNally was the ball attendant. So I don’t see a violation of “the balls shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant” here.

Huh?

McNally is an employee of the Patriots and obviously not an NFL official. How is McNally disappearing (heh) into a restroom consistent at all with the balls remaining in the supervision of the Referee?

Steve: Carrick, I think that the reader’s point was that McNally was the “ball attendant” for the Patriots within the meaning of the rule and it was just prior to the start of the game. Obviously the system was poorly constructed and most of us can agree on that. But, without the physical evidence, I’m not convinced that the evidence shows that it’s more probable than not that McNally tampered with the balls.
.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 9:31 PM | Permalink

Carrick
“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”

delivered to the attendant (The ref said “were back on”)….check

just prior to the game (15 to 20 minutes)…..check

What part of the rule was broken?

• Carrick
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 10:40 PM | Permalink

chuckrr:

delivered to the attendant (The ref said “were back on”)….check

just prior to the game (15 to 20 minutes)…..check

What part of the rule was broken?

It needed to have remained in the control of the Referee until you reach the game field. Otherwise, as I’ve pointed out above, why bother letting the Referee even check at the footballs?

The point of the supervisory control is to prevent tampering. Allowing them to go out of sight and hence control of the Referee clearly is a violation of that principle.

• Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 11:38 PM | Permalink

Carrick –
Sorry for not being more clear. Steve M and chuckrr correctly explained my point of view. From your earlier comment, the rule reads, “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.” As chuckrr wrote, they were under the ref’s supervision, and then given to the ball attendant (viz., McNally) just prior to the start of the game. In accordance with the rule which you cited.

Your last comment adds something to that rule: “It [footballs] needed to have remained in the control of the Referee until you reach the game field.” But that isn’t the rule! It hardly seems fair to attach your interpretation of what the rule *should* say, and then blame the Patriots for not following it.

• Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

Carrick –
I see you’ve answered my questions in other comments, so no need to respond in this particular thread.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

Harold’s point also enhances the absurdity of the whole bathroom deflation theory. Let’s say Carrick is right and the attendant was not supposed to take possession of the balls until he reached the field. We are required to believe that the attendant on his own or through orders by the Patriots took the incredible risk of purposely taking the balls out of the officials supervision….illegally. Wouldn’t it seem likely that if they did take that chance that they would have to have some foreknowledge of where the officials would be when he passed the bathroom. So if they knew where the officials would be then that would have to be the standard practice would it not? Or did the attendant just say to himself serendipitously…”here’s my chance…go for it” I’m really trying to come up with a realistic scenario…somebody help me out.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 12:17 AM | Permalink

chuckrr:

We are required to believe that the attendant on his own or through orders by the Patriots took the incredible risk of purposely taking the balls out of the officials supervision….illegally. Wouldn’t it seem likely that if they did take that chance that they would have to have some foreknowledge of where the officials would be when he passed the bathroom.

This is addressed in the Well’s report too. It appears that on normal game days, there would have been space in the locker room (which is big), for somebody to have tampered with the footballs without being noticed. So what McNally did during that playoff game was unusual (removing the footballs without permission and/or supervision), and he possibly felt forced into taking a bigger risk that he normally might have.

Anyway, based on your logic, crime would be virtually non-existent in our world. Unfortunately, most people who engage in illegal behavior also take foolish chances so your logic doesn’t follow.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 1:09 AM | Permalink

As with everything else in the Wells report it proves nothing. ….. We have no evidence past balls were tampered with but we do know he had an opportunity to tamper with the balls in past games that we have no evidence he tampered with….. My point was not that criminals don’t take chances and people don’t do stupid things.My point is simply what makes the most sense. To you and the Wells proprietorial team obviously it makes sense. I think we’ve seen this kind of proprietorial assumption of guilt many times. When your convinced of guilt everything seems to prove your point.Is it possible…sure. Don’t take this wrong I know your analytical abilities far exceed mine. And your unbiased as well. But we are all human

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 1:13 AM | Permalink

opps…proprietorial is supposed to be prosecutorial …ruined a brilliant comment

• MikeN
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

Chuck, if the whole thing can be done in under 90 sec as Exponent suggests, then McNally would have been better off doing so in the locker room, despite how crowded it is.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

checker:

We have no evidence past balls were tampered with but we do know he had an opportunity to tamper with the balls in past games that we have no evidence he tampered with

Um no. Page 44 of the Wells report.

Game 11 with Indy. Two interceptions by Mike Adams. The Colts noticed that both footballs seemed under inflated. The Indy GM sent an email to the league prior to the game warning about the Patriots possibly tampering with the footballs.

MikeN:

Chuck, if the whole thing can be done in under 90 sec as Exponent suggests, then McNally would have been better off doing so in the locker room, despite how crowded it is.

I think the theory is McNally normally deflated the balls in the locker room, but it was packed that day: The Wells report suggests it would have been impossible to deflate the balls without being seen, so what you are suggesting wouldn’t work for that playoff game but in general would have been true.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

The Colts game with the two interceptions was at Indianapolis, so the deflator would have had no chance to use his needle. However the temperature was 28-35 degrees.

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

Carrick
An accusation (the other colt game) is not evidence. It was cold and the Colts are obviously looking for excuses

Posted Jul 5, 2015 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

I’ll relate one more “story-telling” effect of mysterious goings-on deep inside stadiums: the omission of the halftime’ refs statements regarding the logo/non-logo switcheroo. In short, at halftime refs Blakeman and Prioleau, using two different gauges (“non-logo” and “logo”), tested 11 Patriots’ balls and 4 Colts balls. There were four other witnesses. The Patriots’ balls were tested first. Alarmingly, the two gauges showed significantly different readings. In a normal world this would put at question both gauges validity for any analytical use by the NFL at all, let alone a basis to charge high fines and cause job loss. But the report found the readings to be “consistent.” At page 67 the report says Blakeman and Prioleau, “reported no difficulties in using the gauges.”

At page 68 lies a table for the 11 Patriots’ ball tested. Each of Prioleau’s readings is higher than Blakeman’s. The readings range from .3 to .45 psi in difference.

At page 69 lies the table for the 4 Colts’ balls tested. Again each of the readings of Prioleau and Blakeman differ. These readings range from .35 to .45 in difference. However, this time 3 of Prioleau’s 4 readings are lower than Blakeman’s. The other reading of Prioleau is higher, like his Patriot balls’ measurements.

This evident problem is admitted at footnote 41, “it appears most likely that the two officials switched gauges in between measuring each teams footballs.” Why would Prioleau and Blakeman do that? What reasons did they give? Any? Wait…the basis for the ascertainment of the switching is the report’s opinion that one ref’s readings are consistently different than the other’s. As for the fourth non-conforming reading of a Colt’s football psi, that is attributed to a speculated clerical error. OK, maybe this all happened. What did Prioleau and Blakeman say about it? Did they admit the switch? Nothing in the report. Did they deny the switch? Nothing in the report. What about the witnesses, did they see the switch? Not in the report. Did they say that such would have been impossible? Not a thing in the report.

Now it would strain credulity that the six men in the room were not asked about the potential logo/non-logo switcheroo. That such critical information is absent, not even buried in a footnote, tells me that likely the officials’ accounts declined the possibility of a switch. Now, the switch may have happened anyway, somehow, but if this were an impartial report such information would be declared. But this report is prosecutorial “story-telling,” with the probable omission of on-the-scene, eyewitness evidence that does not help the conclusion the report seeks. Like the probability of McNally himself being the source of the locked door data, evidence that does not help the prosecution’s story-line of casting suspicions is omitted. That’s fine in a courtroom, but here this report purports to be an independent investigation. I think the ref and eyewitness statements on these issues must be revealed or this report be tanked as crud from these described omissions alone.

• mpainter
Posted Jul 5, 2015 at 9:51 PM | Permalink

Some good points are made by followthemoney.

Concerning the variance in the gauge readings between the the two refs Blakeman and Proileau compounded by inconsistencies (switched gauges?; clerical error?). Adding to the mess the lack of ball temperature data, then the _only_ conclusion that can reasonably be drawn from the ball pressure data is that _no_ conclusion can be drawn.

Steve: the gauge inconsistency was discussed at length in my original writeup. I do not agree that this makes everything unusable since one of each pair of measurements was about 0.38 psi higher than the other and it is known that the Logo bias was about 0.38 psi. Thus, it is, in my opinion, reasonable to attribute the inconsistencies to an inadvertent exchange of gauges and a transcription error for who measured the third Colt ball – as done in the Wells Report. On the other hand, this inattentiveness supports the idea that referee Anderson had inattentively made the same exchange in his pregame measurements, using the Logo gauge for Patriot balls and Non-Logo gauge for Colt balls. Please see earlier discussion and my original writeup for details.
.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

This is more evidence that the Patriots balls were inflated before the Colts balls were measured.

• mpainter
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

Steve,
Having re-read your analysis, I agree that reasonable assumptions can be made regarding the use of the logo and non logo gauges and that reasonable inferences might follow.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 4, 2015 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

“unusual behavior” What if the guy had to relieve himself as he was taking the balls to the field. I know that is very unusual but it is possible..right? Would he leave the balls outside the bathroom unattended? That would be less unusual behavior? And if in the incredibly unlikely scenario that he was using the bathroom to relieve himself would it be that unusual that he would lock the door? i guess so. What this incident really shows me is how the human mind can take any set of facts and interpret them to fit a narrative.

• Tom O
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 1:02 PM | Permalink

A question about the “locking himself in the restroom.” We ARE talking about someone that has worked at the facility for years, are we not, and therefore is fully aware of all the security cameras? Seriously? You’re going to drag a bag full of footballs into a restroom that you KNOW is watched by a security camera, thus you are leaving evidence of what you doing in spite of the fact you are doing something wrong? I’ll bet you believe the Mann hockey stick, too.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

At this point, there’s no way to establish whether McNally knew about the video camera or not.

As to point of fact, McNally did enter the restroom, he did lock the bathroom, he did violate Rule 2 by removing the footballs from the supervision of the Referee, his actions were caught on camera and he did remain in the bathroom long enough to deflate all 13 footballs.

These are facts, what you are engaged in is just pointless speculation.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

Carrick,
“Under the supervision of” is a pretty vague and general term don’t you think? Does that mean the ref is constantly watching the balls…uninterrupted. Is there an official phrase that the ref gives “officially” instructing the ball attendant to move the balls to the field? Does the ball attendant have to follow a predetermined official NFL route to the field? Are bathroom stops only allowed when permission is given by the official? I suspect the last thing the officials are thinking about after they check the their pressure is the footballs. And I think when the ref says “lets go” the guys carrying the balls take them out to the field…and even stop at the bathroom once in awhile.

• mpainter
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

Does the Wells Report say that McNally violated protocol in this respect?
If it does not, that should settle the issue.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

“until they are delivered to the ball attendant.” You quote the rule and then ignore it. Indeed, the referee told him to bring the balls to the other room and then game start was postponed. So the referee had also delivered the balls prior to the start of the game, as per the rule.

Later in the rules it states the balls are not to be tampered with. That is the focus.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 10:08 PM | Permalink

chuckr, I don’t think there’s anything particularly vague about this. McNally taking them into the restroom with him certainly violates any plausible requirement for supervision. The purpose of the supervision is to prevent the balls from being tampered with until they reach the field of play (at that point presumably there are enough eyes and cameras to preclude further attempts at tampering).

mpainter:

Does the Wells Report say that McNally violated protocol in this respect?

Yes, they do say McNally violated protocol on this. They come pretty close to saying he lied about doing so too. That was one of the reasons they wanted a follow up interview with him (and probably why the Patriots refused to allow it).

MikeN:

“until they are delivered to the ball attendant.” You quote the rule and then ignore it. Indeed, the referee told him to bring the balls to the other room and then game start was postponed. So the referee had also delivered the balls prior to the start of the game, as per the rule.

If you read the text of the Well’s report, it’s pretty clear the delivery to the ball attendant occurs on the field of play, and not in the locker room.

What’s the point of having the Referee confirm that the footballs are within their permissible range, if you then allow the teams to handle them for an indeterminate amount of time with no supervision?

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 11:09 PM | Permalink

Carrick,
This is something I’m probably never going to convince you of but I’m pretty sure that prior to this incident the control of the balls was pretty lax. And the refs didn’t carry the balls to the field. This game was a little unusual as it was contingent on the previous playoff game finishing before it could start. Normally they start at a specified time. Another thing…and this is just a personal observation. Take it for what it’s worth. I’ve been an athlete my entire life. Played several sports including in college. Now I haven’t played professionally but I know and have been around NBA players and have known refs at that level and see how they think. My observation is that they don’t care about the balls because up until this incident there have been almost zero issues with the balls. They are not going to worry about a rule that nobody ever questions and few people consider important. They get judged on how they make an interference call and are they consistent. I would bet that no ref has ever been reprimanded for the way they transferred possession of the balls to the ball attendant.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

chuckrr, if you read the Wells report, you’ll see that the response of the Referee was anything but relaxed when the footballs came up missing. Nor was it standard procedure to allow the ball attendant to remove the footballs from the locker room and bring them to the game area without supervision:

According to Anderson and other members of the officiating crew for the AFC Championship Game, the removal of the game balls from the Officials Locker Room by McNally without the permission of the referee or another game official was a breach of standard operating pre-game procedure. According to Anderson, other members of the officiating crew for the AFC Championship Game and other game officials with recent experience at Gillette Stadium, McNally had not previously removed game balls from the Officials Locker Room and taken them to the field without either receiving permission from the game officials or being accompanied by one or more officials.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 12:34 AM | Permalink

Carrick, An as I said this was an unusual game in that they were waiting for the overtime of the previous game to finish. And when the ref said “were back on” McNally thought he had permission to go. I suspect that the refs didn’t think twice about where McNally was until later when the investigators pointed out what happened. Then they said..”Yeah that was unusual”. You have to remember that this report was put together as a prosecutor would present his case. We see it over and over in the report…as other commenters have pointed out. Regardless Did the Patriots tell McNally to break out of there and get to that bathroom even at the risk of some official saying…where is he going? And how were they so sure the official wouldn’t follow him? Did the have spies with disposable phones? I’m sorry it seem so unlikely to me..not impossible but very unlikely

• Carrick
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 12:52 AM | Permalink

chuckrr, based on the testimony there was definitely concern, possibly to the point of panic when the game balls could not be located:

When the remaining officials walked into the sitting room area on their way to the field, all four were surprised to find that the ball bags were not there. Both Anderson and Veteri immediately asked Farley where the footballs were. Farley checked for the ball bags in the back part of the locker room (where he saw the bags of back-up balls) and in the adjacent Chain Gang Locker Room, but could not find them. When it was suggested that McNally had or may have taken them to the field, Anderson responded that “he‟s not supposed to do that.” Anderson also stated that “we have to find the footballs.” Blakeman recalls that although Anderson is usually calm and composed leading up to a game, Anderson was visibly concerned and uncharacteristically used an expletive when the game balls could not be located. The other officials were similarly surprised and concerned. None of the officials in the locker room at the time realized that the game balls had been removed from the locker room until they were ready to go to the field for the start of the game, and all expected that the balls would not leave the locker room until it was time for them to take the field.

This concern appears documented by on-field video:

Although the officials were concerned about the situation, with kickoff approaching, they decided to take the field. Farley and the officials left the Officials Locker Room and walked to the field at approximately 6:36 p.m. As seen on the security footage, Farley walked approximately 10 seconds ahead of the officials because, as he explained, he was in a hurry to reach the field to look for the footballs. As soon as he reached the field, Farley looked for McNally by the instant replay booth, where McNally regularly arrives with the game balls, but did not see him. He did, however, see John Raucci, Director of Investigative Services at the NFL, shortly after stepping onto the field and asked if Raucci had seen either McNally or the game balls. Raucci said that he had seen neither. In an effort to ensure that the teams had footballs on the field for the start of the game, Farley headed back toward the Officials Locker Room to get the back-up balls. He is seen on the security footage at approximately 6:42 p.m. walking back down the tunnel leading to the field with the bags of back-up balls. Farley reported that prior to the AFC Championship Game, he has never been in a situation where the game balls could not be located or where he had to retrieve the back-up balls from the Officials Locker Room prior to kickoff.

This doesn’t seem consistent with a concern manufactured after the fact. To summarize:

Only based on the craziest possible reading of the rules can you come to the conclusion it would be in any manner appropriate for McNally to take the footballs. (This entirely negates the whole point of verifying the footballs initial inflation, since McNally could then tamper with BOTH teams footballs.)

It does not seem that McNally taking the footballs was at all standard practice. Based on the statement of the officials, this is the first time he had ever done this.

It does seem that the officials were agitated to the point that this could be seen by their on-field behavior.

Nobody has claimed that the Patriots ordered McNally to take the balls from the locker room (as this is the first time this has happened, it is not even consistent with his standard MO for deflating footballs, presuming he did so).

Nor am I claiming that the Patriots leadership were initially aware of any supposed impropriety (I think they were unaware). I don’t think the Wells report claims that either.

The biggest slam against the Patriots leadership was a failure to fully cooperate. And that’s certainly the case, regardless of what motivation you want to paint on why they didn’t fully cooperate.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

>McNally taking them into the restroom with him certainly violates any plausible requirement for supervision.

Until delivered to the ball attendant. There is no requirement that they continue to supervise.

>presumably there are enough eyes and cameras to preclude further attempts at tampering).

The Patriots rebuttal mentions that Colts were reported by the Jaguars as having needles under their sleeves. If each one can be done in close to saying he lied about doing so too.
Not close, of course they are calling him a liar.

>delivery to the ball attendant occurs on the field of play, and not in
The referees don’t carry the balls out. After the fact they claimed they always walk with him down to the field.

>What’s the point of having the Referee confirm that the footballs are within their permissible range, if you then allow the teams to handle them for an indeterminate amount of time with no supervision?

The rules say you are not to tamper with them afterwards. They do not say that the referee should supervise them all the way to the field. They might change this with a notice, but they can’t police everything.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

There is a contradiction between the Wells Report and the Pats rebuttal which claims that the video shows McNally coming out of the tunnel and going to the area next to the replay booth, which is where Mr Anderson found him.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

Carrick,
“based on the testimony there was definitely concern, possibly to the point of panic when the game balls could not be located:”

Panic…really…. with that kind of hyperbole I’m starting to think your one of the authors of the Wells report

Anderson admitted that sometimes the he did not maintain supervision of the balls as he would have some other task to do. So the notion that the balls are always under the officials supervision is provably false from…the Wells Report. McNally with the backing of witnesses has said that about 50% of the time he took the balls out to the field unattended

Also from the Wells report…
“McNally had not previously removed game balls from the Officials Locker Room and taken them to the field without either receiving permission from the game officials or being accompanied by one or more officials.”

Take notice the part about giving permission or being accompanied. It doesn’t say always accompanied. McNally thought he had permission. Anderson didn’t think he had given permission. In a normal game Anderson probably wouldn’t have given that a second thought. But guess what, Andersons view of normal occurrences had been altered by the fact that he had been warned to look out for something. Things he probably would never notice suddenly become unusual. I’ve witnessed this phenomenon countless times with refs and everyday life. Why do you think coaches and players work refs. You can alter the way the ref sees the game.

And despite being warned the refs were still incredibly lackadaisical in their ball supervision, What does that say about their normal supervision? And what does that say about their claim that this situation was unusual? Is it possible that they were covering their own posteriors?

• MikeN
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

Carrick, the security video shows McNally walking with the footballs unaccompanied, right by one of the officials who was notified before the game of the Colts’ concern with deflation. He made no objection to this guy taking the footballs by himself.

Even after they reinflated the Patriots balls at halftime, the league officials still had McNally take the balls to the field unaccompanied by anyone. The ‘he’s not supposed to do that’ was perhaps because they hadn’t specifically told him yet, but the idea that he is always accompanied is either bad memory or just after the fact argument.
Sure they couldn’t find the footballs so they went looking. Once they found them, no one criticized McNally for taking them by himself.
This was in a game where beforehand the referees were on notice about the footballs. If it was so unusual, perhaps he would have ordered the backup balls to be used, and for the originals to be tested.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

MikeN:

Carrick, the security video shows McNally walking with the footballs unaccompanied, right by one of the officials who was notified before the game of the Colts’ concern with deflation. He made no objection to this guy taking the footballs by himself.

On the field, initially nobody knew where McNally was. But it was Farley, not Anderson, who would couldn’t locate McNally and re-entered the locker room looking for the back up balls. And the issue appears to be whether the balls remain under supervision of the Referee not whether McNally was carrying them.

I think Anderson’s concern, as reported by Wells, is that McNally left the locker room without an escort. I don’t see any dispute that McNally took the footballs without being asked either, or that this lead to documented confusion on the field of play.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

Yes but if McNally went right there according to the Patriots, then why didn’t Farley see him?

• Carrick
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 2:32 AM | Permalink

I don’t think it’s really in dispute that Farley did not see McNally. I don’t think the video evidence shows Farley walking right by McNally either. Am I wrong about that?

The Patriots did not claim Farley walked right by McNally either.

So it doesn’t seem to be a fair characterization to say “McNally was right there” at the point that Farley reentered the stadium tunnel.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

The Patriots claim that McNally, according to the video, left the bathroom and went straight to the area where everyone expected him to go. The Wells Report says Farley looked for McNally there, didn’t see him there, and went to get the alternate footballs. Those strike me as contradictory statements.

• Kevin
Posted Jul 11, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

Actually 12 balls were used in the first half.

During a bad weather game each team submits 24 balls, 12 are brought to the field 12 are left in the ref’s locker room in case they are needed.

Ironically the NFL destroyed the evidence. The could have impounded the ‘questionable’ balls at halftime and substituted the backup balls Anderson had approved that no one else had possession of.

This would have allowed the balls to be measured after the balls had dried and returned to room temperature.

Based on comments Steve Kensil, NFL executive he had no idea that there was a Ideal Gas Law, he told a Patriots employee they were in ‘big explective trouble’ because the balls underweight. 😀

• MikeN
Posted Jul 11, 2015 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

No it was 13. 12 is the usual number.

7. Shawn Marshall
Posted Jul 5, 2015 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

you got a lot of balls Steve.

8. chrimony
Posted Jul 5, 2015 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

I should weigh in here, since I was mentioned by name in the post. My previous position was: “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.”

Now that Steve has done an analysis that shows it implausible that the Patriots intentionally deflated footballs, and that environmental factors combined with use of a particular gauge is the plausible reason for the measurements, I have two contradictory arms of evidence. How to reconcile them?

If I were the commissioner and had to decide guilt, without a convincing response to Steve’s analysis I would have to lean towards the presumption of innocence and not rule against them. Note that I still think something fishy is going on, and I find the explanations for the texts, video, and eyewitness accounts implausible. However, there, is no clear, direct evidence that the Patriots tampered with the balls in the Colts game or any other game for that matter, even though the texts strongly suggest it, there was motivation to do so, and distinct opportunities to do so.

• Joe
Posted Jul 5, 2015 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

Chrimony – mpainter makes reference to the only documentation of the balls being taken into a restroom was ” the video shows the ball boy going into the restroom with the balls”

Is there any actual documentation to this event? Or does it remain “someone said there is a video of him entering the bathroom?

Concerning “locking himself” in the bathroom, I have not yet seen any real confirmation except “the video shows this”. Was there actually a camera in the restroom filming everyone as they took a whiz?

• joe
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

I stand corrected on the evidence of Mcnally entering the bathroom with the game balls. Security camera captured the event. Page 57/58 of the wells report.

The wells report makes reference to one minute & 40 secs (100 seconds) that mcnally spent in the bathroom. Lets assume for arguments sake that McNally did deflate the balls. At half time, all the balls were deflated by approx 1.0-1.5psi (taking into account the lower temps and therefore lower psi at halftime). There was one ball at 10.9 psi. (ie 1.6psi under inflated.)

To remove the 12 balls (11 balls?) from the ball bag, deflate each ball by approx .5-.6 psi, ensure that no balls were excessively deflated below that .5-.6 threshold, put all the balls back into the ball bag in those 100 seconds (approximately 8-9 secs per ball) requires a lot of skill and coordnation. I would suspect that it could be done in 80-90 secs by someone experienced. Whether McNally had the necessary skill was not addressed in the Wells Report.
It should be noted that McNally likely did not have a pump with him to reinflate the ball if he had underinflated any of the balls the “preferred threshold”.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

The bag actually had 13 balls. The Patriots’ rebuttal points out that the evidence that the deflation could be done was dated the same day as the release. It looks like they were not testing to see if it could be done, but testing to say it could be done.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

One of the 13 balls was the intercepted ball which the NFL kept in its possession. The NFL should have measured the pressure in this ball once it returned to equilibrium – even the following day. Like Jastremski did with the balls in the Jets game. My guess is that, at equilibrium, it would have measured 12.5 psi on the Logo gauge and 12.12 on the Non-Logo gauge.

• Joe
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

MikeN – with 13 balls, that is approx 7.5 secs per ball, take the balls out of the bag, to deflate each one by .5psi-.6psi, put all the balls back in the bag, all the while making sure you dont excessively deflate any of the balls (since he likely did not have pump to correct any of over-deflation), then flush the toilet in order to create the alibi. A skilled person working efficiently could probably do it in 85-90 secs, leaving very little time for error. However, that would be a skilled working efficiently with no hiccups in the process. Amazingly, each ball was only deflated by .5-.6 psi – that takes a lot of talent.

The second point which others have alluded to is that are several security camera’s. The bathroom was apparently in a main hallway leading to the field ( and reasonably close to the field entrance between locker rooms and the field entrance). If that is the correct location, there would be a lot of traffic. McNally would have to be a DA (DA is not district attorney) to use that location for the deflation – assuming he did deflate the balls.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

Joe,
From the beginning this bathroom thing seemed preposterous. And the more I learn the more unbelievable it seems. But others…probably much smarter than me… see it exactly the opposite. I guess it says a lot about confirmation bias. MikeN’s link somewhere here is an excellent explanation of this.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 10:21 PM | Permalink

Joe–it has been tested this, and shown it’s possible to have deflated 13 balls in approximately that amount of time. Since the amount of deflation is directly proportional to the amount of time its being deflated, that is the simplest part to explain.

Certainly he was aware of the consequences for him and his team if he were caught, so presumably if McNally were involved in illegal tampering, he would have been well practiced ahead of time.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

shown it’s possible to have deflated 13 balls in approximately that amount of time

I don’t think that the deflation experiments have had enough attention paid to them. With minimal practice, three different Exponent employees each deflated the footballs by approximately 0.76 psi with very small standard deviations between the three employees and between balls. Elsewhere the Wells Report speculated that the high variation in observed pressure of Patriot balls could only result from manual tampering, but their own simulations showed that even novice deflators could achieve consistent results – in other words, some other explanation is required for the high inter-ball pressure variability of PAtriot balls. Differing wetness seems the most plausible explanation to me, but this in turn requires analysis of evaporative cooling – a topic ignored by Wells and Exponent, even though they empirically observed lower pressures in wet balls without change in volume.

In addition, the experiments all resulted in ~0.76 psi deflation, an amount of deflation that (notwithstanding Carrick’s remarks) seems as inconsistent with observations as anything that the Wells Report objected to.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 12:25 AM | Permalink

Steve McIntyre:

I don’t think that the deflation experiments have had enough attention paid to them.

I don’t know why there needs to be a huge amount of attention here.

With a bit of practice and a choice of needle gauges, just about anybody could achieve pretty decent repeatability.

Elsewhere the Wells Report speculated that the high variation in observed pressure of Patriot balls could only result from manual tampering, but their own simulations showed that even novice deflators could achieve consistent results – in other words, some other explanation is required for the high inter-ball pressure variability of PAtriot balls.

I don’t buy Well’s argument here, but this is not particularly inconsistent—Assuming they were tampered with, you don’t know the order that the footballs were tampered with. If McNally was progressively letting less air out of the ball (suppose he felt progressively more rushed) and you sampled the balls later in random order, what was originally a smooth trend would look like a large amount of scatter.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 5, 2015 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

I should weigh in here, since I was mentioned by name in the post.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 5, 2015 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

I find the explanations for the texts, video, and eyewitness accounts implausible.

I’ve thought about doing a detailed exegesis of the texts, but it takes time to write up in the thorough way that I do.

Breaking the texts into the following pieces: (1) the texts after the Jets’ game; (2) the texts in December 2014-Jan 2015; (3) the early 2014 texts and at the risk of presenting views without fully backing up the interpretation.

McNally’s other texts in group (1) remind me of an overlooked junior employee complaints about the company golden boy. Also given the context that Brady was angry about referee over-inflation in violation of the rules, I don’t see anything in these other texts to suggest anything other than Brady insisting on his right to have 12.5 psi without interference by the referees, with McNally making idle threats.

As to group (2), nor do I find it odd or troubling that Brady would spend time talking to Jastremski after the controversy blew up. I don’t think that you can read anything into that one way or the other.

The “Deflator” text is troubling. McNally’s statement that it referred to weight loss seems Nick Stokesian, as (I think) you pointed out. But even Stokes is not always wrong in such parsing. (The issue with Stokes is rather his unwillingness to concede an inch when he is wrong on his parsing or his parsing is even more implausible than the text.) While Stokesian, McNally’s explanation is not necessarily untrue either. It seems to me that it has more weight as supporting evidence to “scientific” evidence of Game Day inflation than as the centerpiece of the case.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 5, 2015 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

It should be noted that the term deflator was used only once and that was on May 9th of the previous year during the off season.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

chrimony:

Now that Steve has done an analysis that shows it implausible that the Patriots intentionally deflated footballs, and that environmental factors combined with use of a particular gauge is the plausible reason for the measurements, I have two contradictory arms of evidence. How to reconcile them?

I don’t agree the conclusion that it is implausible that the Patriots balls were more deflated than the Colts balls.

IMO Steve’s shown that, with enough untestable ad hoc assumptions thrown into an already muddy soup, you can construct plausible alternative theories where the Patriots balls weren’t more deflated. Unfortunately, Steve has also engaged in “fantasy football physics” in arriving at his conclusions—Based on my research experience, the assumption of exponential warming is unlikely to be correct here, and so shouldn’t be used to disallow alternative hypotheses or to construct new hypotheses (not without empirical measurements that mimic the actual ball handling process). Nor can you assume that the two set of footballs will follow the same warming curve, exponential or otherwise. This is because of differences in handling: The main driver for warming is convective air exchange. When the balls are in the ball bags the warming curve is going to look very differently than when they are removed.

I would also say that the Well’s report used similar “fantasy football physics” to arrive at the conclusion that the evidence was consistent with the Patriots balls being more deflated. I don’t see this as problematic as long as the purpose of the physics analysis is merely to demonstrate that the objective measurements are consistent with the other, frankly more exculpatory evidence that chrimony mentions.

It is my personal speculate that the Patriots did not intend to under-inflate the balls, rather just to reduce them to the lower end of the permissible range. I’d further say that some ball handling by the team to optimize the football pressure for their team should have been and should be permitted, so I think that a rule change similar to the 2006 Brady-Manning rule change is in order.

Anyway, I do not think the physics data (including metadata such as how the balls were handled before being measured) are good enough to say “this hypothesis is plausible but that one is not”. Were we left up only to the physical evidence, certainly I do not think any disciplinary action by the league would have been appropriate. Due to handling errors, I also don’t think the physical evidence is never going to be good enough to rule out the alternative plausible hypotheses.

I still think it the most parsimonious explanation based on all of the evidence is that the Patriots balls were simply inflated to a lower initial pressure, and that this was done deliberately by the Patriots staff, more likely than not in collusion with Tom Brady.

But as we all know, but some may be less willing to acknowledge, the amount of cooperation between the New England Patriots and the league was very limited (only a single interview with McNally was permitted, and no followup interviews were allowed) and the contractually-obligated cooperation between Brady and the NFL investigation was non-existent.

Given this lack of cooperation, I think it is the view of the NFL that neither the Patriots nor Brady deserve the most generous reading of the facts. Thru arrogance or malfeasance or both, I think the Patriots have managed to “inflate” the level of the penalties that they are now facing.

In the context of the other exculpatory evidence (including the other back and forth banter between McNally and Jastremski), I also find the suggestion that the moniker “Deflator” means something other than deflating the footballs to be rather stretched logic.

• Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

“But as we all know, but some may be less willing to acknowledge, the amount of cooperation between the New England Patriots and the league was very limited (only a single interview with McNally was permitted, and no followup interviews were allowed) and the contractually-obligated cooperation between Brady and the NFL investigation was non-existent.”

The League interviewed McNally 3 times before Wells was retained (all 3 times without any pats reps with him). the Patriots agreed to facilitate the fourth interview with Wells with an explicit understanding reached with the Wells investigators: barring unanticipated circumstances, individuals would only be interviewed by the Wells investigators one time. Wells had all the texts and phone records prior to his interview, brought 4 lawyers, and interviewed McNally for 7 hours. Brady also answered a full day of questions. The patriots gave the League and Wells access to everyone and everything they asked for, within the guidelines of their agreed upon interview rules.

You can read the details here: http://wellsreportcontext.com/#patriotscooperation

You can also look at the agreement and the dispute over the request for the 5th McNally interview here: https://wellsreportcontext.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/nep_psi_excerpts-from-emails-5_15_15.pdf

http://wellsreportcontext.com/#mcnallyfive

After you review all the details, do you still think the amount of cooperation between the Patriots and the league was very limited?

• Carrick
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 10:38 PM | Permalink

davem1964, as I mentioned to Steve, as stated in the Well’s report, there was in fact a single interview between the NFL investigative team and McNally. The Patriots knew this and IMO were being very sleazy in how they characterized it. It would have been only a second interview, and the first after all of the physical evidence had been gathered and examined (and they were willing to go to McNally’s home town for the interview).

What’s really odd here is the refusal for the interview doesn’t seem to have come from the Patriots main office, but from their legal counsel. In retrospect it was probably poor legal advice as (I think) more of the punitive action occurred due to a perceived lack of cooperation than any actual concern over malfeasance on the Patriots part.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

I agree the stiff penalty on both the Patriots and Brady is for lack of cooperation.
Note however, that the NFL did have all the evidence they needed before the first interview. They just didn’t notice the deflator text because it was so far in the past.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

McNally was interviewed four times, and Mr. Jastremski had been interviewed twice. Here’s another interesting fact….McNally ,who took the balls into the bathroom was not a full time employee of the Patriots. He worked on game days only. They put a lot of trust in someone that was a part time employee.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

Carrick, I think that some of your comments are at cross purposes here. The issue is not whether the PAtriot balls “were more deflated than the Colts balls”, but whether McNally tampered with the balls after they were approved by the referees according to a plan initiated or approved by Brady. It is evident that PAtriot balls were “more deflated” than Colt balls at half-time: that is not in dispute.

You say: “It is my personal speculate that the Patriots did not intend to under-inflate the balls, rather just to reduce them to the lower end of the permissible range.” I agree. But surely no one can object to that.

You say “the assumption of exponential warming is unlikely to be correct here” and somewhat snipe at me on these grounds, but it was the Wells Report that employed negative exponential transients to arrive at their conclusions of tampering. Even though they didn’t label their transients as negative exponentials, they clearly were.

You say: “I do not think the physics data (including metadata such as how the balls were handled before being measured) are good enough to say “this hypothesis is plausible but that one is not””. Fair enough. But Exponent made strong technical findings against the Patriots – finding that, in my opinion, could not be properly made on the facts available to them. If you feel that the technical data do not support findings either way, then it seems to me that you might have criticized the Wells Report more directly in that respect.

You say “I still think it the most parsimonious explanation based on all of the evidence is that the Patriots balls were simply inflated to a lower initial pressure, and that this was done deliberately by the Patriots staff, more likely than not in collusion with Tom Brady.” Let me suggest another possibility, based on an interesting reader comment. The Patriots definitely rubbed the footballs vigorously prior to measurement – very likely to get a slight edge at pregame measurement. Doesn’t seem to me like that infringes any rules, though it would definitely be working the system. According to Exponent, the footballs would have cooled to equilibrium prior to measurement and be under-inflated by a few tenths of a psi by the time of measurement. Footballs tendered at 12.2 psi or so ought to have been noticed by the referee. However, unbeknowst to everyone, one of referee Anderson’s gauges was off by 0.38 psi and he didn’t notice the under-inflation. Because he had two gauges and the other gauge, used for Colt balls, was unbiased – the other measurements were uneventful. But there’s a big legal difference between tendering rubbed balls to the referee in the hopes of gaming the system and tampering with the balls in the washroom – and your comments, as written, do not distinguish as clearly as they might.

An important physical point that, in my opinion, survives any dispute about the precise shape of the transients is ruling out “high” and even “moderate” deflation scenarios. I think that this is firmly supported on the available data; (2) that, if people had clearly understood that the physical data ruled out high and moderate deflation scenarios, they would have taken a different line on the entire case; and (3) that Exponent, as data analysts, ought to have informed their clients that high and moderate deflation were ruled out. Whether such failure was due to ignorance, negligence or prosecutorialness doesn’t matter, they ought to have put this information on the table.

with respect, it is the Wells Report that introduced negative exponential pressure transients. Merely because they did not label them as such doesn’t mean that they didn’t use them.

In my original comment, I observed that, in my opinion, the phenomenon of evaporative cooling ought to have been of concern and squarely addressed by the Wells Report and I criticized them for not doing so.

If evaporative cooling has more impact than allowed for in the negative exponential transients of the Wells Report, then it is to the advantage of the Patriots.

The Patriots also give a different account of their cooperation with the NFL. As I recall, they said that McNally was interviewed on four different occasions.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

It was not just prior but many hours before. The rubbing is to change the feel of the football, basically having its surface match the surface of the receivers’ gloves. It is not clear if the inflation to 12.5 happened immediately after each ball is treated, or all the balls at once.

Steve: I understand that the effect had almost certainly worn off. My point was quite different. One reader observed that the Patriot’s own measurements of pressure were made after rubbing, rather than before rubbing. I think that the evidence indicates that the original Patriot measurements were much closer to the time of rubbing relative to the later referee measurements. In this scenario, had both of referee Anderson’s gauges been properly calibrated, he would have picked up the under-inflation of Patriot balls at 71 deg F when they had further cooled. The whole thing seems like a SNAFU in its original meaning.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

I think that was my comment, but I misstated the effect.
The footballs were inflated to 12.5 after the rubbing. Exponent lists it as a .7 PSI difference but the time factor of the inflation could do exactly what you said.
However, the temperature of the place where the Patriots did the rubbing and inflated is not known.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

Steve McIntyre:

You say: “It is my personal speculate that the Patriots did not intend to under-inflate the balls, rather just to reduce them to the lower end of the permissible range.” I agree. But surely no one can object to that.

The problem is the rules as currently in place (which I think are flawed) do not permit the Patriots to “adjust” the ball pressure, after the Referee has taken possession of them. So I would imagine the Patriots would object to my statement at the least.

To be clear I think the penalty was too high (virtually anything more than a wrist slap was too high, and I still think the severity of the penalty has more to do with the perceived lack of cooperation on the part of the Patriots).

I also think the rule should be amended to permit what I presume Brady and “co-conspirators” to have been doing: I think allowing the teams to “tweak” the football pressure within the allowed range of values is in line with separating out the better coached teams from the poorer ones.

You say “the assumption of exponential warming is unlikely to be correct here” and somewhat snipe at me on these grounds, but it was the Wells Report that employed negative exponential transients to arrive at their conclusions of tampering. Even though they didn’t label their transients as negative exponentials, they clearly were.

I don’t question they employed exponentials here, but it is unlikely that this assumption is correct. I think you can use this assumption to demonstrate plausibility, but because the assumption is flawed, you can’t use it to rank hypotheses into more probable or less probable: The errors in the model probably aren’t quantifiable in this case.

The problem is that the solution of the heat equation in general admits to a series of exponentials with different coefficients. After a sufficiently long time, if the system remains undisturbed, you’ll end up with only the slowest decaying exponential remaining with a significant amplitude.

In practice, where the footballs are getting handled over time (so the modes are being continually “remixed”) and where (important) you have significant convective heat exchange (both nonlinearity, and much faster rate of heat transfer than predicted by simple heat conduction of air), I’d expect to see significant violations of the exponential rate of warming (the actual rate of warming will be faster, but not necessarily smooth).

Another effect that people who don’t do temperature measurements may not realize is that on a cold day, you end up with a strong negative vertical temperature gradient (the top of the building loses heat while more heat gets pumped into the bottom). This also leads to a faster rate of warming than you might measure on another, more temperate date. It’s worth mentioning here because if you want to replicate the real conditions of the original warming footballs, you have to get the room thermodynamics correct too. It’s not just an isolated football, it’s really a stack of footballs in or out of a bag, sitting in a room with or without air blowing on it from a heater.

Real-world thermodynamics is surprisingly more complicated than people whose entire experience in thermodynamics was with a well-stirred dewar might assume.

But Exponent made strong technical findings against the Patriots – finding that, in my opinion, could not be properly made on the facts available to them. If you feel that the technical data do not support findings either way, then it seems to me that you might have criticized the Wells Report more directly in that respect.

I think the case is much weaker than Exponent suggested (or at least that I perceive him to suggest, so in that sense I agree with what you have been doing. I think the strength of the Wells case is on the other evidence.

An important physical point that, in my opinion, survives any dispute about the precise shape of the transients is ruling out “high” and even “moderate” deflation scenarios. I think that this is firmly supported on the available data; (2) that, if people had clearly understood that the physical data ruled out high and moderate deflation scenarios, they would have taken a different line on the entire case; and (3) that Exponent, as data analysts, ought to have informed their clients that high and moderate deflation were ruled out. Whether such failure was due to ignorance, negligence or prosecutorialness doesn’t matter, they ought to have put this information on the table.

I’m not convinced the physics data really rule out high and moderate deflation scenarios. I think it’s plausible that if we did the physics correctly, we might be lead to the conclusion that the low deflation scenarios were ruled out (modulo the confounding factors that I think you correctly highlighted).

My gut feeling is the real rate of warming (combined effects of ball handling mixing up the modes + convective heat exchange) is likely faster than admitted to by Exponent’s and/or your modeling. Generally the warming rate you get when things are “stirred up” is faster than you’d get just from the slowest decaying mode. This is because heat energy gets transferred to faster decaying modes which in general leads to an increase in rate of heat energy transfer with the environment. Almost no likely scenario that I can think of would lead to a significantly slower rate of warming, except this one perhaps:

If evaporative cooling has more impact than allowed for in the negative exponential transients of the Wells Report, then it is to the advantage of the Patriots.

It’s something definitely worth looking at, but my guess without plugging numbers in, for a football that has internal convection and resides in a room with significant convective air motion, the relative contribution of evaporative cooling will be pretty minor compared to heat energy transfer from the exterior into the interior of the football.

The Patriots also give a different account of their cooperation with the NFL. As I recall, they said that McNally was interviewed on four different occasions.

I think the Patriots were a bit sleazy in this respect. As they well know, McNally was interviewed only once by the NFL investigative team. After discrepancies were found in McNally’s testimony, the Patriots refused to allow a follow up interview. From the Well’s report:

We believe the failure by the Patriots and its counsel to produce McNally for the requested follow-up interview violated the club‟s obligations to cooperate with the investigation under the Policy on Integrity of the Game & Enforcement of League Rules and was inconsistent with public statements made by the Patriots pledging full cooperation with the investigation.

Really (in my opinion) the Patriots and Brady are getting penalized for failing to fully cooperate with the investigation more so than for anything they did. Nobody questions that the Patriots would have won this game regardless. In fact, reducing the pressure (if it happened) probably had virtually no affect on the game whatsoever.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 10:50 PM | Permalink

Carrick, I will readily acknowledge that many people, including yourself, have much better knowledge of heat transfer issues than myself. In writing these posts, I’ve mainly focused on whether the Wells Report proved their point on their physics rather than trying to propose an alternative better physics. In that respect, I believe that my observation that higher deflation is ruled out is valid given the assumptions and evidence of the Wells Report, though, as you point out, this may not be valid if your surmise about faster warming rates is correct. However, that wasn’t what they presented.

My wondering about evaporative cooling is sincere and I would be interested in the opinion of a more knowledgeable observer. In 2006 experiments on leather and synthetic basketballs sponsored by Mark Cuban, the specialists observed that leather basketballs very quickly absorbed 70 g of moisture in far less trying conditions than Foxboro. The surface area of a football is about half that of a basketball, so, in the absence of proper analysis by Exponent, it seems plausible that leather NFL footballs in Game Day use would have absorbed at least 35 g of moisture. I have no experience in this calculation, but based on a little research, it seems to be that the 35 g of moisture, if evaporated, is enough to be relevant in a case where the dispute hinges on a couple of deg F of ball temperature. I would certainly appreciate an opinion from someone experienced in such calculations.

my guess without plugging numbers in, for a football that has internal convection and resides in a room with significant convective air motion, the relative contribution of evaporative cooling will be pretty minor compared to heat energy transfer from the exterior into the interior of the football.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 12:38 AM | Permalink

Steve McIntyre, if you had as much as 35 mg of water in the surface, the heat capacity of the water would clearly dominate the total heat capacity of the football. There is roughly 10-gm of air, but the heat capacitance of air at constant volume is only 0.7 kJ/kg/K compared to water with 4 kJ/kg/K.

Anyway, it’s a complicated problem because the water is in the skin. Probably this could accurately calculate this (without trying to formulate it, this seems like a graduate student level problem), but it’d be a lot simpler to measure the effect of moisture in the skin on the rate of warming.

• mpainter
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 3:59 AM | Permalink

Carrick,
The dominant fact of the official’s room at half-time is the low humidity, given at 20%. Exponent did not address the possibility of evaporative cooling of the wet balls and this failure is clearly a defect of their study. IMO the wet balls would not have started warming until they had dried and this means that the gauge readings at half-time would fall below Exponent’s transient curves.
Since the first half ended with an eleven play drive by The Patriots, their balls would have been wet, and indeed, the Wells Report confirms this.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

mpainter:

The dominant fact of the official’s room at half-time is the low humidity, given at 20%. Exponent did not address the possibility of evaporative cooling of the wet balls and this failure is clearly a defect of their study. IMO the wet balls would not have started warming until they had dried and this means that the gauge readings at half-time would fall below Exponent’s transient curves

That Exponent did not address whether the balls were wet, does not appear to be true. From the Wells report:

According to Exponent, the environmental conditions with the most significant impact on the pressure measurements recorded at halftime were the temperature in the Officials Locker Room when the game balls were tested prior to the game and at halftime, the temperature on the field during the first half of the game, the amount of time elapsed between when the game balls were brought back to the Officials Locker Room at halftime and when they were tested, and whether the game balls were wet or dry when they were tested at halftime.

In any case, the footballs are kept in a ball bag until used. Since they don’t generally go through all 13 balls in a half, some of them would likely have been relatively dry.

IMO the wet balls would not have started warming until they had dried and this means that the gauge readings at half-time would fall below Exponent’s transient curves.

It’s certainly not the case that the wet surface prevents heat exchange between the external environment and the interior. I’d expect the skin to warm over time, even with evaporative cooling, just at a slower rate. As I suggested to Steve, this is much easier to do using a real football, rather than trying to model. (And certainly any model would need to be validated with data.)

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

Carrick, I think that you’re somewhat at cross purposes with the comment. The issue with Exponent and wetness is not that they didn’t recognize it, but that they didn’t explain why wetness would impact pressure through reference to physics principles or fully analyse its effects.

In some early commentary, it was speculated that the volume of wet footballs could change due to elasticity. Exponent analysed volume changes and showed – convincingly in my opinion – that volume was not impacted by wetness. However, they didn’t follow up on this observation. Because wet footballs are still subject to the Ideal Gas Law, my understanding is that, if wet footballs have lower pressures, then the ball temperatures must be less than the ball temperatures of dry footballs. And thus presumably evidence of evaporative cooling.

The negative exponentials shown in Exponent’s figures were based on their simulations, rather than theory. In that respect, it seems to me that you’re being inconsistent in, one on the one hand, pooh-poohing analysis based on the negative exponentials derived from Exponent’s experiments, on the grounds that the actual warming might be much faster than shown in the various transients in my discussions (which are based on Exponent data), while on the other hand saying that the behavior is best determined by simulations.

In this respect, if Exponent released a compendium of simulation results, it would resolve some important questions. In particular, their GameDay simulations – which seem instructive to me – are reported only in the aggregate, so we don’t see what inter-ball variability existed under Game Day simulation conditions, which are purported to simulate varying wetness. Release of this data would help.

• mpainter
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

Carrick,
Exponent certainly did _not_ address the issue of evaporative cooling and this has been commented on by sources in the media as well as Steve here.

The low humidity of the official’s room is the prime consideration and the rate of evaporation should have been high enough to affect temperature of the air inside the balls.

It would have been a simple matter to devise an experiment meant to recreate the circumstances in order to determine if wet balls cooled at half-time,or if they simply failed to warm until they had dried.
Exponent failed to make this important determination, and indeed did not consider the possibility.

The question of the degree of wetness, and how many of the balls were wet and how many were dry will probably never be determined.

Regarding the Patriots’ eleven play before half-time, it was raining and I assume that after each play the Patriots’ bench sent out a (relatively) dry ball. In this case, eleven balls would have been wetted just prior to halftime.

• mpainter
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

Carrick,
Whether or not the wet balls cooled is best determined by a demonstration under identical circumstances.
Evaporative cooling can quite reasonably be expected in the circumstances. Whether any particular ball cooled a bare fraction of a degree or a greater amount cannot be determined.

As I have said before, the failure to measure corresponding ball temperatures at the half-time fiasco renders the whole study inconclusive.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

Whether or not the wet balls cooled is best determined by a demonstration under identical circumstances.

According to my calculations, the only way to explain a ~0.3 psi pressure drop for wet balls is through a decrease in ball temperature of about 5.75 deg F.

According to the Ideal Gas Law (and calculations in Wells Report), the half-time pressure at 48 deg F of Colt balls initialized at 13 psi at 71 deg F is 11.8 psi. The corresponding pressure of wet balls is said to be ~0.3 psi less (though some diagrams show a greater difference).

Since the wet balls were initialized under the same conditions, they have the same number of moles of air and, according to Exponent, there was no volume change for wet balls. The corresponding ball temperature for balls at a pressure of 11.5 psi is 42.25 deg F. It’s regrettable that Exponent made no attempt to explain.

I’ve seen some commentary which argued that evaporative cooling would not be a factor while the balls were still outside in saturated conditions, but this seems to be contradicted by Exponent’s Figure 21 which shows lower pressure in wet balls even in their simulated outside conditions.

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

Steve:
“The only way to explain a .3 psi pressure drop for wet balls is through a decrease in ball temperature of about 5.75 deg F.”
####

I agree, via evaporative cooling.

Exponent’s claim that wetness does not affect volume has a dubious flavor.
I have not read Exponent’s study, but a ball that evaoratively cools will undergo a temperature reduction and hence a pressure reduction. I do not understand why they performed volume analysis.

Steve: one of the earlier comments on the controversy by Headsmart labs speculated that wet footballs might have experienced slight volume increases, thus a contributing factor to pressure decrease. This was immediately questioned, with evaporative cooling posed as an alternative. Exponent showed no volume changes – I think that it was prudent to rule this out and do not criticize them on this point, though I think that they should have discussed why wet footballs had lower pressure.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

As I noted in my original writeup, there are numerous online demonstrations of evaporative cooling in other contexts, e.g.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwyDsHG-ymQ. For someone, like myself, who’d not previously thought about the phenomenon, I though that these demonstrations were pretty interesting.

Is it possible that evaporative cooling might have intensified when the balls came into the dry air?

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

Steve,
The NOAA handy-dandy dewpoint calculator gives, at 73°F and relative humidity of 20%, a dewpoint of 29.58 °F.
This means that evaporative cooling in the official’s room at half-time could drop the ball temperature by 40°F, theoretically. The porous leather holding water is analogous to the cotton gauze of the demonstration. What is lacking is the advection of the blow dryer.
The low humidity is the key. It should be possible to get some theoretical cooling on a case basis, meaning given, say, 10 grams of water held in the leather shell of the ball. The heat of evaporation for 10 g of water is over 20,000 joules.
This heat requirement is axiomatic and will pull as much heat from the air contained inside the football according to the conduction properties of the ball materials. All sorts of considerations.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

Here is the source for absorption of moisture in 2006 by leather NBA balls: http://blogmaverick.com/2006/10/27/nba-balls/).

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 5:09 PM | Permalink

It seems plain that had Exponent delved into the possibilities of evaporative cooling of the balls at half-time, they would have torn a ragged hole in the prosecution brief. Hard to keep clients when you go around tearing holes in their briefs.

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 7:54 PM | Permalink

Correction:
The balls arrive at a temperature of 48°F. Theoretical evaporative cooling would be to 32°F.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 2:50 AM | Permalink

I think you’ll find the real world effects of evaporative cooling to be considerably more complicated than seems to be imagined here.

Air currents play a big role in promoting water vapor exchange, hence “wind chill factor”.

So when the footballs are inside of the football bag, they are going to be protected from air currents, and the influence of any evaporative cooling is going to be squelched. The position of the top of the football bag is important here

Secondly, when a football gets removed from the bag and placed on the table, the bottom will be in contact with the table (which is radiative heated and can be treated as a heat source).

The top of the football will probably begin cooling due to evaporation induced by air motion above the football, but that sets up a negative temperature gradient within the football, which in turn promotes air convection internal to the football.

I think you’d end up with a greater rate of heat energy exchange because of the air motion interior to the football with evaporative cooling that you would without it.

Also you guys seem to be equating the skin temperature of the football with the interior temperature. When there aren’t temperature gradients, this would be the case I think. Not so, when you have a football sitting on a warm surface, like the table.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

Carrick, I think that you are being very unfair in criticizing us for pondering these issues, when the \$5 million Wells Report, which was charged with investigating the matter, failed to do so. In approaching matters from an “audit” perspective – really, nothing more than detailed peer review – I am generally wary of attempting my own solution to thorny problems, as opposed to assessing whether the specialists have proven their point. In this respect, I think that you’ve rather pulled your punches in commenting on whether Exponent had established their technical finding. My primary point has been whether the Wells Report proved their strong claim that the Patriot pressures could not be explained under physical principles, rather than saying that evaporative cooling was the magic elixir. I raised evaporative cooling as an issue because it seemed interesting and relevant and because it was not foreclosed in the Wells Report – which ought to have done so – rather than promoting it as THE answer. Again, from a statistical and data analysis perspective, I believe that the most troubling aspect of Exponent’s technical report was their false claim to knowledge on points that remain indeterminate. (Actually, I started my own analysis with their statistical “model” which I haven’t written about, but it is appallingly bad data analysis. It’s so bad as to be uninteresting in respect to determining what happened. But I should really write it up purely as an exercise in bad statistics – especially since it touches on random effects models, a technique that I’ve written about on many occasions and about which I’m knowledgeable.)

)

• Carrick
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 10:31 PM | Permalink

Steve McIntyre:

Carrick, I think that you are being very unfair in criticizing us for pondering these issues, when the \$5 million Wells Report, which was charged with investigating the matter, failed to do so.

Sorry but this seems like a diversion to me. If there are problems with your criticisms of the Exponent report, I think it’s fair game for me to bring this up.

You accuse me of being too lenient on Exponent. Before I address that, as far as I can tell, the only thing that Exponent’s report was used for was to establish plausibility to the claim that McNally intentionally deflated the Patriots footballs.

I think this was successfully done, your arguments to the contrary notwithstanding. I will remind you of this text from the Well’s report:

In reaching the conclusions set forth in this Report, we are mindful that the analyses performed by our scientific consultants necessarily rely on reasoned assumptions and that varying the applicable assumptions can have a material impact on the ultimate conclusions. We therefore have been careful not to give undue weight to the experimental results and have instead relied on the totality of the evidence developed during the investigation. Even putting aside the experimental results, we believe that our conclusions are supported by the evidence in its entirety.

Now I think this is the appropriate weight to put on this analysis, because in my opinion there are just too many problems with the measurement protocol itself to allow a unique interpretation of the events that lead up to that particular collection of measurements.

I felt this way before reading the narrative text and appendices containing Exponents report. The information that has been provided to the public in the Wells report on the Exponent study was surprising lean, and not consistent with scientific standards for peer review. But I’m hardly surprised to see what appears to be a slopped together mess (from the few details that have been publicly released).

The purpose of my comments here were to inject some realism into the discussion of … physics. Hopefully nobody will object to that.

You said at the start of your post that:

This is a sensible observation, but raises the question of whether and how one could use the available statistical information to exclude tampering. This is analysis that ought to have been done in the Wells Report. I’ve done the analysis in this post and the results are sharper than I’d anticipated.

The trouble I had here is this problem is in the realm of physics, not statistics. You can’t simply choose a “toy” physics model (without testing it) and use that to decide which of the set of available hypotheses is more likely. As I pointed out, exponential relaxation is almost certainly the wrong physical model here.

You argued that “Exponent used it too”. Yes they did. But they used it to demonstrate consistency of the data with the hypothesis that the footballs had been tampered with. The use of a “toy” model (one that is physical realizable) is a reasonable thing to do, if all you are trying to do is establish that it is plausible, based upon the data, that the footballs had been tampered with.

It would have been an end of the case if they couldn’t find a physically plausible model that explained the data in a way that pointed to tampering. Putting more weight on Exponent’s work beyond that is in my opinion a waste of time.

I will note that the Wells report contains this gem:

Based on the testing and analysis, however, Exponent concluded that, within the range of likely game conditions and circumstances studied, they could identify no set of credible environmental or physical factors that completely accounts for the Patriots halftime measurements or for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls, as compared to the loss in air pressure exhibited by the Colts game balls. Dr. Marlow agreed with this and all of Exponent‟s conclusions.

I think you have demonstrated that at least one credible scenario exists.

But I think you are very far from showing that the physical data + realistic modeling precludes tampering with the football. (Again, it’s my opinion that it is impossible due to the general weaknesses in the measurement protocol to reach an definitive conclusions.)

One thing you probably want to consider is that the Patriots footballs were treated differently than the Indy footballs were treated. This is a serious confound in trying to invoke evaporative cooling, as what I have read suggests that the Indy footballs were coated with less oil making them more susceptible to evaporative cooling than the New England footballs.

Anyway, I don’t take Exponents report very seriously because Wells (eventually) did not put much weight in it. You seem to want to make much bolder claims. Bolder claims deserve more close scrutiny.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

Carrick, c’mon, you’re being unfair here. You say:

I don’t take Exponents report very seriously because Wells (eventually) did not put much weight in it. You seem to want to make much bolder claims. Bolder claims deserve more close scrutiny.

I entirely disagree with your statement that the Wells Report “did not put much weight in it [Exponent’s report]” or that it only used Exponent’s report to “establish plausibility to the claim that McNally intentionally deflated the Patriots footballs”. The Wells Report quoted and relied on Exponent’s findings for much more than that: Exponent’s assertion that (1) Patriot ball pressures could not be accounted for by known physics; and (2) there was an unexplainable discrepancy between Patriot and Colt pressures, fundamentally colored and, in my opinion, poisoned the subsequent perception of the lawyers. You quote what you describe as a “gem” – an incorrect finding that was central to my original writeup. If Exponent had stated that it was possible that physical factors could have accounted for observations – as it ought to have done, events surely would have unfolded differently. In particular, I don’t see how anyone can arrive at a fair disposition when the record is contaminated by a technical report as faulty as Exponent’s.

You argue that I’ve over-reached in arguing that the data precludes “high” or “moderate” deflation scenarios on the grounds, as I understand it, that the data is simply too poor to permit any conclusions. Nearly all of my articles on this have been been focused on criticisms of the Wells Report rather than trying to draw my own conclusions from the data. I’ve repeatedly criticized the inadequacy of both NFL protocols and Exponent’s analysis.

In this particular blog post, I have attempted to wring something out of the data and while you disparage the effort as being unwarranted by the data, notwithstanding your criticism, I think that my deductions from the data are better supported and argued than Exponent’s deductions from the same data.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

mpainter:

You can only make such a statement by strangely ignoring the potential for evaporative cooling.You have ridiculed our discussion of this and now You say “Crazy talk” and this reveals something about yourself: a ball that cools cannot warm and you miss that.

I’m not ignoring the potential for evaporative cooling. I’m saying you are simply wrong that evaporative cooling prevents an object from warming until it’s completely dry. Are you thinking of a pot boiling or something?

The physics here is nothing like that. Evaporative cooling just means you have a mechanism for heat loss. If you have more heat energy being transferred between the environment than is being lost by evaporative cooling, the football will warm, whether it is wet or dry. In general, because the actual amount of water absorbed into the football is modest, you should always see warming, whether the ball is wet or dry, and whether the air is humid or not.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

Steve McIntyre:

I entirely disagree with your statement that the Wells Report “did not put much weight in it [Exponent’s report]” or that it only used Exponent’s report to “establish plausibility to the claim that McNally intentionally deflated the Patriots footballs”.

You’re entitled to disagree of course, but to do so you have to selectively ignore key parts of the Wells report, such as where it said:

In reaching the conclusions set forth in this Report, we are mindful that the analyses performed by our scientific consultants necessarily rely on reasoned assumptions and that varying the applicable assumptions can have a material impact on the ultimate conclusions. We therefore have been careful not to give undue weight to the experimental results and have instead relied on the totality of the evidence developed during the investigation. Even putting aside the experimental results, we believe that our conclusions are supported by the evidence in its entirety.

I read this in the plain English sense that the conclusions of the report did not hinge on the results from Exponent.

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

Steve,
The basketball illustration well shows the absorptive capacity of leather.
However, the report gives that the balls were used with a somewhat worn surface and this would have increased the initial rate of absorption, it seems.
New NFL football’s would have a lower rate of absorption, I would guess.

But then there is the “rubbing” complication, which I have read is meant to remove the new ball finish, as a preference of some quarterbacks.
I know nothing about all of this, but it would seem that the degree of evaporative cooling depends on the amount of water held in the leather shell of the ball,and this depends on the absorbent properties of the Patriot balls.
If I were to simulate the problem, I would do it on a case basis, meaning, 2 grams of absorbed water, 4 grams, 10 grams, etc. and plot a curve of cooling versus wetness, with all pertinent conditions reproduced.

Carrick makes a good point about the balls being kept in the bag at half-time, but were they? This is another question for I have seen balls carried in a net bag.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

You say: “New NFL football’s would have a lower rate of absorption, I would guess”. Not sure about that. The purpose of the rubbing protocol was to remove the protective surface and make the balls easier to grip. Does anyone overtly rough up basketballs in the same way? I don’t think so. Obviously, play on a court would rough the surface up, but it seems plausible to me that aggressive roughing up could accomplish the same or more. I think that one has to assume just as much absorption per surface for footballs as basketballs (if not more). But yes, I agree that different simulations would settle the matter. Too bad the NFL didn’t get the analysis from Exponent.

I agree that balls in the bag at halftime is relevant and that this was something relevant that Exponent ought to have simulated. I recall seeing somewhere that Colt balls were both in a carry-bag, but further protected by a green plastic garbage bag.

My speculation on the impact of a (say, canvas) bag is that it would sort-of act like an inefficient layer of clothing or inefficient thermos- keeping something warm warm and something cool cool by lowering heat exchange. In other words, it would somewhat delay the warming of the balls at half-time. Since Exponent’s argument rests largely on the argument that pressure gain (warming) commenced immediately on entry to the officials’ room and that the Patriot balls ought to have had more pressure gain by the time that they were measured than was observed, any delay of warming due to canvas bag protection works against Exponent and in favor of the Patriots.

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

Steve,
I agree that the bag would have prevented warming. If the ball bag was enclosed in a polyethylene garbage bag, that slams the door shut on gas exchange and leaves conduction as the only possibility and that would have been of an insignificant effect, if any.

But were the balls left in the bag or had some provision been made for the convenience of the referee, such as a wire bin to hold the balls while the referee did his pre game pressure checks?

All these questions and more. If the Colt’s balls were left in their bags, these would not have warmed, either.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 2:17 PM | Permalink

Here is a picture of what appears to be the Patriot ball bag. It looks like a vinyl duffle bag of some sort.

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

Also,
I of course disagree with Exponent’s conclusion that wet balls would warm immediately. In this respect, see my comment on the previous post, (Bodge or Botch?) at July 6, 3:45 pm, the last comment.

In this comment, I review the fig 21 of the Wells Report, which seems to me as egregious and even incomprehensible.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 11:44 PM | Permalink

mpainter, I’m going to comment on your comment from the other thread here:

Note that the wet ball transient at halftime shows wet ball re-pressurization at the same rate as the dry balls for the first few minutes. This is impossible, if I’m not mistaken. I do not see how wet balls can begin to warm/re-pressurize until they have become dry balls.

Um, why do you think wet footballs can’t warm until they are dry? Crazy talk.

I’d be interested in hearing this spelled out, so if for no other reason, I can hopefully dispel you of this notion: I am certain you are wrong here and I believe the data are likely correct. (Note I’m not claiming though that these are the same waring curves the footballs tested in the locker room would have experienced.)

By the way, thanks for pointing me to this figure. I admit (as I have above) that I haven’t to this point taken the Exponent report very seriously. It is treated as weak evidentiary value, and I wasn’t particularly impressed with the parts I did read.

But now it’s clear that they did at least compare wet versus dry balls (even if they didn’t directly attempt to model the evaporative cooling, something that I think would be truly an Herculean effort except in the most of controlled scenarios).

It’s also interesting to look at the heating/cooling curves, which are again as I predicted distinctly non-exponential in their shape. If you try to match up the initial linear behavior to what an exponential would predict, you end up with a huge error in the later transient response. If you try and match up the later transients portion, you get too steep of an initial warming/cooling.

Regarding the footballs in the carrying bag, I agree that the bag will affect how the footballs warm. It’s erroneous to claim they won’t warm though:

If the footballs are sitting on the floor of the locker room, they will still get heat energy exchanged. It would not behave the same as loose closing, because of the large thermal contact of the bag with the floor. However, I’d expect a big gradient in temperature. The footballs at the bottom would be nearer to the floor temperature than the ones at that top, at the point where they are pulled out of the bag.

How the ball is tested makes a big difference here too. If all of the footballs are laid on the table before being tested, and I favor this is as the most plausible scenario for what was actually done, I’d expect to see a much accelerated warming curve (for wet and dry balls) compared to the Exponent measurements. [Again this points to the weakness of the measurement protocol that this vital information apparently was not recorded.]

A couple of notes on the Exponent tests:

The Exponent cooling/warming tests were performed with the football placed on what appears to be a football tee. That has a much lower surface contact than the footballs on the table scenario.

As I pointed out, the room conditions really matter here too. It is stated that the Exponent measurements were performed in a temperature controlled chamber. This has very different thermodynamic properties than a heated room in cold weather. On a cold day in a heated room, the ceiling is typically cold compared to the floor. This leads to strong convective mixing. Higher convection would yield a more rapid equilibration of the footballs with the room temperature than was seen with the Exponent measurements.

As I said above, I thought it was more likely than not that, based on certain assumptions about how the measurement process was being done, you could eliminate as plausible any scenarios that didn’t involve some deliberate manipulation of football pressure by McNally.

However, I’m going to emphasize that one should not over sell such a result—there are too may uncontrolled aspects of the measurements which could tip the balance in unexpected directions for me to buy into any conclusion that eliminates alternative scenarios.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

Carrick, you say:

It’s also interesting to look at the heating/cooling curves, which are again as I predicted distinctly non-exponential in their shape. If you try to match up the initial linear behavior to what an exponential would predict, you end up with a huge error in the later transient response. If you try and match up the later transients portion, you get too steep of an initial warming/cooling.

I’ve digitized all of the half-time transients in all of the figures and they can be very closely fitted by negative exponentials or at most a biexponential, though the wet transient of Figure 21 requires a biexponential. It might be worthwhile for me to post up a technical post showing this. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the more troubling aspect of Exponent’s simulations is that the dry transients of Figure 27 (Logo) do not appear to me to be achievable with the stated initialization using the Logo gauge. They start out too high.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

Carrick, you say:

A couple of notes on the Exponent tests:

The Exponent cooling/warming tests were performed with the football placed on what appears to be a football tee. That has a much lower surface contact than the footballs on the table scenario.

This is inconsistent with Exponent’s description of their Game Day tests, which also involve the measurement of footballs using gauges. From the description, it sounds like they tried to replicate conditions of balls and rooms in a realistic way and did NOT carry out their “half-time” measurements with the balls on a tee. This does not mean that their “officials’ room” necessarily replicated all relevant aspects of the actual officials’ room, but it does mean that your proffered criticism is invalid.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 12:48 AM | Permalink

Steve, if you just visually inspect the curves, they are initially too flat and the knee point to sharp to be explained by a single exponential. But I’ve digitized Figure 17 just to confirm what my eyes were telling me (one exponential does not give a good match to the data).

I’d be careful about reading too much into successfully fitting to two exponentials, beyond that saying the behavior is not purely exponential. But unfortunately, without a physical model, using two exponential functions becomes just a curve fitting exercise.

One exponent is predicted from Newton’s law of heat, so there’s a physical basis for it. Multiple exponentials are predicted from the heat equation, but there you can calculate all of the constants. If the system is allowed to cool without interference and IF there is no thermal convection, you’ll end up with a single exponential after a long enough time.

I believe you’d eventually get a single exponential even when you have nonlinearity involved from convection and the football is left undisturbed. When the temperature difference gets small enough, the convective heating becomes insignificant. However, the shape of the curve in region we care about—the initial transients—I’d expect the exponential constants of the faster transient(s) to vary significantly based on the measurement environment.

In a room with HVAC, you have a constant air current and you can forget about finding simple exponential behavior. (The temperature in the room is not constant, and you’ll find that the football temperature quickly starts tracking the variation in temperature in the room.)

But my biggest worry about non-exponential behavior comes from concern about episodic events: Removing the footballs from the carrying bag, setting them on the table, etc. That’s why I think Figure 17 and follow ons are basically worthless: They tell us nothing useful about the actual temperature or pressure course of the footballs as they were handled in the real world.

Good enough again for plausibility hand-waving arguments, but not useful for much more.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the more troubling aspect of Exponent’s simulations is that the dry transients of Figure 27 (Logo) do not appear to me to be achievable with the stated initialization using the Logo gauge.

I wouldn’t have used the word simulation here: They are physical measurements performed in a temperature controlled chamber.

I’d say don’t expect these cheap gauges to be super-relaible. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some nonlinear hysteresis here, amongst other issues.

I’m not going to get too much into issues with measuring gauge pressure on a football (where the membrane is not completely pliable), but lets just say there are issues here. You might not have thought of it, but the pressure in rooms that have HVAC installed is larger than in rooms where it is not present.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 2:01 AM | Permalink

Also, to be clear, I’m focusing till now on the warming portion of the curves, since that is what is of importance for analyzing the NFL officials data. There does seem to be a fair amount of asymmetry between the warming and cooling portions, which is interesting.

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 4:54 AM | Permalink

Carrick says
“Um, why do you think wet footballs can’t warm until they are dry. Crazy talk.”
####

You can only make such a statement by strangely ignoring the potential for evaporative cooling.You have ridiculed our discussion of this and now You say “Crazy talk” and this reveals something about yourself: a ball that cools cannot warm and you miss that.
You embrace the transients devised by Exponent in fig 21 of the Wells Report. This transient shows the wet balls still warming after half-time when they have been returned to the field. Pretty muddle-headed science, imo.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

mpainter, I replied on the wrong sub-thread, sorry.

See my comment here.

Briefly—you have the physics wrong here.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

Steve McIntyre:

This is inconsistent with Exponent’s description of their Game Day tests, which also involve the measurement of footballs using gauges. From the description, it sounds like they tried to replicate conditions of balls and rooms in a realistic way and did NOT carry out their “half-time” measurements with the balls on a tee. This does not mean that their “officials’ room” necessarily replicated all relevant aspects of the actual officials’ room, but it does mean that your proffered criticism is invalid.

I’m not sure exactly which part of the report you’re discussing, so to be clear I was referring to the measurement conditions for Figs 17 and 21. The experimental setup, such as it was, delves more on the simple process of setting the temperature of the environmental chamber than it does on the details of how the footballs were mounted in the chamber.

Here, a detailed explanation of the set up is lacking, but I see nothing in their discussion that is inconsistent with my assumption that the setup was similar to Figure 20, which immediately proceeds this discussion.

Regardless of intent, I think it is likely that the footballs were indeed on a tee or something similar to it. It is clear they were performed inside of an unspecified environmental chamber, so in this respect there is little semblance between the measured conditions and the environmental exposure of the footballs on the game day.

In other words, I find it to be exceedingly unlikely that the experimental conditions used for these measurements were an acceptable approximation of the game day conditions to which the footballs were subjected.

9. EdeF
Posted Jul 5, 2015 at 10:36 PM | Permalink

Right before the start of the American Football Conference Championship game, in front of 70,000 fans, I would not be surprised that someone’s urge before running out onto the field would be to visit the restroom. Now, taking a look at Fig 1 above, and setting the timing in reverse, if the footballs are inflated to 12.5 psi at 70 F in the locker room, it looks like within 15 minutes they are going to be deflated down into the 10-11 psi range for a good part of the first half, or second half. This is right in Brady’s sweet spot. Why deflate the balls anymore? What good would it do? I can see a ballboy checking the balls to make sure they are not 16 psi, but they are good at 12.5.

10. Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

There is added context for group (1) text “Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done.” According to the Patriots response, http://wellsreportcontext.com/ : “After the conversation with Mr. Jastremski’s friend was explained by Mr. Jastremski, the investigators did not request the opportunity to interview the Mr. Jastremski friend to determine whether any such conversation had in fact happened. The Patriots tracked down Mr. Jastremski’s friend, who is a professional fraud investigator and whose livelihood depends on his honesty. They arranged for a telephone interview with the investigators in which the individual explained in great detail the timing (the night of the Jets game), place (Mr. Jastremski’s house) and content of the conversation (dealing with Mr. McNally’s sister, suffering some early onset memory loss, trying to sell the family game tickets). The investigators, rather than take further steps to check out this information, simply chose to disbelieve input that did not square with their conclusions.”

As others have noted, the Wells investigation and report seems more like a prosecutorial advocacy paper vs. an independent investigation searching for truth.

11. MikeN
Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

http://www.backpicks.com/2015/05/17/the-cognitive-and-statistical-biases-of-deflate-gate/

A Lack of context and predictable cognitive biases can make text messages appear as they aren’t, and make alternative explanations less believable than they really are

12. Posted Jul 6, 2015 at 7:53 PM | Permalink

MikeN – here’s the gloving process from pg. 50 of the wells 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.”

If you interpret that as: 1. glove ball, 2. set psi to 12.6, 3. place ball on trunk, 4. repeat 1-3 for next ball, and so on… which I think is 1 reasonable interpretation of that statement, then the pats balls were really around 12 or 12.1 when Anderson checked them pre-game.

This would be a major blow to the Wells report assertion that Anderson’s recollection of using the logo gauge to check pats balls was wrong because pats balls wouldn’t read 12.5 on the logo gauge since it reads .4 higher (and pats set their balls at 12.6).

If the pats balls were around 12.1, Now Anderson’s recollection of using the logo gauge makes sense: The logo gauge reads .4 higher, so he’d read pats balls on the logo gauge at 12.5 – which is how he recollects pre-game – logo gauge, 12.5 psi.

Isn’t this scenario (my scenario 1) more likely to have occured?: pats glove ball and set to 12.6, glove effect wears off and balls are at 12.1, Anderson uses logo gauge (which he recollects), logo gauge reads .4 higher, so balls read around 12.5 (which Anderson also recollects). Then at halftime, the logo gauge #’s fall within what’s expected, without tampering.

The scenario we have to believe to be true to show tampering is: pats set balls to 12.6 (no gloving effect). Anderson uses non-logo gauge (which he doesn’t recollect) and reads pats balls at 12.5. And then the half-time non-logo gauge readings show .4 psi tampering. So in this scenario, we believe McNally must have taken .4 psi out of each ball in the bathroom.

I believe my scenario 1 makes more sense given all the gauge and pre-game/halftime info in the wells report.

As far as some of the other indirect (non-science) evidence of tampering that previous posters have referred to:

1. “Deflator” – McNally and Jastremski called McNally the deflator 1 time (McNally referred to himself) – in the offseason between the 2013 and 2014 season. So to follow the logic that this shows McNally was deflating footballs after pre-game check means that he was doing this during the 2013 season and for all of the 2014 season. How does one explain the balls being over-inflated at 16 psi in the 2014 Jets game if he was deflating the balls below 12.5 psi after the pre-game check? This doesn’t make sense to me.

2. The text: “Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done.” There is no record of Brady calling or texting “last night”. Jastremski explained this was about something and with somebody (a friend) completely different. the investigators did not request the opportunity to interview the friend to determine whether any such conversation had in fact happened. The Patriots tracked down the friend, who is a professional fraud investigator and whose livelihood depends on his honesty. They arranged for a telephone interview with the investigators in which the individual explained in great detail the timing (the night of the Jets game), place (Mr. Jastremski’s house) and content of the conversation (dealing with Mr. McNally’s sister, suffering some early onset memory loss, trying to sell the family game tickets). The investigators, rather than take further steps to check out this information, simply chose to disbelieve input that did not square with their conclusions.

3. Increased communication between Brady and Jastremski after the story first broke. If a story just broke where your team is accused of deflating psi by 2 lbs (which was false) and at the time no one even knew that they should naturally be 1 psi below what they started at… wouldn’t you talk with the person in charge of preparing the balls to try to understand how this could have happened?

4. McNally stopping to use the bathroom on the way to bringing the balls to the field. If one thinks my scenario 1 above makes more sense, then one reasonable explanation is he stopped to relieve himself on the way to the field before he worked outside for the next hour.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 7, 2015 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

The Wells Report gives the gloving an effect of .7psi. This could explain why a few of the footballs came in under 12.5 and had to be reinflated.

13. jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

Steve: I commend you for thoroughly examining Exponent’s analysis and pointing out its flaws.

However, I quickly read the Wells report and there is strong circumstantial evidence of tampering with the balls separate and apart from any flaws in the testing that was done.

First, according to the officials, it was the typical practice to leave the balls in the officials locker room. They were surprised when McNally removed the balls. (p56). When asked why he did so after the game, McNally had no explanation (p 62). When originally question about what he did with the balls while in the bathroom, McNally stated that he put the bags on the left and used the urinal on the right (59). However, the bathroom involved did not have a urinal. There were also bathrooms in the officials locker room where the balls were that could have been used. In court, liars often get tripped up on minor details and the I believe the incorrect reference to the urinal, is one of those type of details.

Second. After the deflator texts became available, McNally refused to allow himself to be questioned again about those texts and his role in preparing footballs.

Third. Jastremski, who was also involved in the preparation of the footballs, appears to have lied about receiving a very valuable autographed football from Brady, stating that he received just “just a general football” when he actually received the football that Brady was using when he surpassed 50,000 yards of passing.(p93) A number of text messages later showed how excited Jastremski was to receive the ball.

Fourth, the Patriots decided not to appeal the NFL’s ruling. I believe that if the Patriots truly believed that their personnel were innocent, they would fight the ruling like cats and dogs. The Patriots have no reason to throw Brady under the bus. The fact that they are not appealing indicates to me that there are a lot of skeletons in the closet on this matter.

The bottom line is that whether the balls were deflated or not is a very simple matter. If I had not deflated the balls I would want all of the evidence to come in because I would know that it would tend to exculpate me. In particular, if I was McNally, I would jump at the opportunity to further explain the deflator remarks. Exactly the opposite happened. The fact that so much evasion occurred and the people involved didn’t want to fully open their records is strong evidence to me that the balls were deflated. Also, if McNally had a good reason for taking the balls out of the officials locker room, he should have been able to explain why he did immediately after the game, but he couldn’t do so.

JD

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

JD,
All hinges on whether the Patriots’ balls were deflated. If there was no crime, then there was no culprit.
The points you raise have been rebutted by the Patriots or others, and satisfactorily,
imo.

• jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

MP Then go ahead and explain why McNally took the balls out of the officials locker room and had no explanation for it. Why didn’t McNally appear for a second time to explain the deflator texts.

I should add that I personally like Brady. I remember when he was at Michigan and had kind words for Steve Belisari, Ohio State’s quarterback. (I am an OSU fan)

JD

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

Why didn’t McNally appear for a second time to explain the deflator texts.

The Patriots (see here) say that McNally was interviewed four times, three times by NFL security and for an entire day by Wells. The Patriots say that Wells’ request for a further interview was outside the scope of their agreement and that Wells did not respond to their request for an explanation.

It sounds to me like the Patriots regarded Wells by this time more as opposing counsel seeking additional discovery beyond the agreed discovery and, presumably like many lawyers in civil litigation, used the occasion to draw a line. While Wells may have been acting like opposing counsel, it was obviously unwise for Patriots not to go the extra mile, especially with someone as antagonistic as Wells was going to be writing the report. I’m not sure that you can draw substantive conclusions from the exchange, other than relations between the lawyers had broken down by this time. Also, the Patriots also presumably believed Brady when he denied any deflation scheme, the existence of which remains dubious to me.

• jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 1:10 PM | Permalink

Steve: “It sounds to me like the Patriots regarded Wells by this time more as opposing counsel seeking additional discovery beyond the agreed discovery and, presumably like many lawyers in civil litigation, used the occasion to draw a line. While Wells may have been acting like opposing counsel, it was obviously unwise for Patriots not to go the extra mile, especially with someone as antagonistic as Wells was going to be writing the report.”

In isolation, your statement about this precise issue is reasonable, and the refusal to answer further questions could be viewed as insignificant. However, when placed in the context of McNally not being able to explain why he took the balls out of the officials’ locker room and almost certainly lying about what motivated him to go to the bathroom, I believe the refusal to answer the question is significant evidence against the Patriots. It is part of a bigger pattern of evasion and unexplained breaches of protocol that point the finger at the Patriots. I also agree that generally Wells was not acting in a neutral manner. However, if I didn’t deflate the balls, I wouldn’t care and would want to further explain my position.
JD

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Permalink

However, when placed in the context of McNally not being able to explain why he took the balls out of the officials’ locker room and almost certainly lying about what motivated him to go to the bathroom, I believe the refusal to answer the question is significant evidence against the Patriots.

McNally’s explanation according to the Wells Report as to why he left with the balls when he did was:

According to McNally, when the NFC Championship Game ended shortly after the start of the overtime period, an unidentified NFL official said something like “we’re back on again,” so he picked up the balls and began to walk out of the Officials Locker Room.

The entire officials’ room emptied within a few minutes of the end of the NFC game, so I don’t see precisely what’s implausible about this aspect of his story.

Nor do we know that McNally was “almost certainly” lying about why he went to the bathroom. I don’t see any evidence that he was lying unless one has independently established that he deflated the footballs. Without being able to establish deflation, I don’t see how you establish lying, so I don’t agree that the alleged lying can be evidence of deflation.

Another point as I re-read the comments about this aspect of this incident. It seems to me that NFL officials embellished their claims to have normally maintained supervision of the balls and that it is likely that McNally’s claim that it was not unusual for him to take the balls to the field unaccompanied is true. Two witnesses supported McNally’s claim on this point. For example:

Paul Galanis, who was stationed just outside the entrance to the Patriots locker room, across the corridor from the top of the center tunnel, said that it was routine for McNally to walk to the field with the game balls unaccompanied. He estimated that McNally goes to the field approximately 10% of the time with game officials and approximately 25-30% of the time with Richard Farley, and the other times he is walking by himself.

NFL security representative Farley’s story was the opposite. The Wells Report says:

he[Farley] considers it part of his job description to accompany the referee to the field and that he is generally in close proximity to McNally and the game balls when he walks to the field with the referee. According to Farley, he often opens the door to allow McNally to exit easily with the ball bags, and then McNally, Farley, the referee and the head linesman will walk to the field together or in close proximity to each other. Farley cannot recall McNally previously bringing game balls to the field prior to the start of a game without being accompanied by or in close proximity to one or more game officials.

I can see why Farley would be engaged in full-scale CYA and his statements sure sound like CYA to me.

Given the lacklustre performance of NFL officials in half-time measurements – when they couldn’t even keep track of which gauge they were using – I don’t see why very much weight should be given to CYA statements as opposed to third party evidence from security guards.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

A further gloss on related points on re-reading the Wells report on this timeline. Unless one watches the pea carefully, one can easily get the impression that McNally was not on the field when Farley arrived on the field shortly after 6:36:

As soon as he reached the field, Farley looked for McNally by the instant replay booth, where McNally regularly arrives with the game balls, but did not see him.

HOwever, elsewhere in the report, they say that McNally had “exited the bathroom at approximately 6:32:27 p.m., and took the bags of game balls to the field.” So McNally was on the field for several minutes by the time that Farley arrived. Precisely why Farley missed him is unexplained in the report, but it was not because McNally wasn’t on the field.

• jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

Steve: Here is what McNally stated in his first interview before he had time to think up explanations that could more strongly support his claim that he had done nothing wrong.

(p58)”According to the interview report from a telephone interview with NFL Security on January 19, McNally stated that he stopped to
use the bathroom on the way to the field and took the game balls with him into the bathroom.

59

During this interview, he explained that he did not use the bathroom in the Officials Locker Room because he did not want to disturb the officials. He claimed that he had left the Officials Locker Room with game balls but without a game official on a few occasions over the years, but
could not identify any particular games where that had occurred. According to the interview report from an NFL Security interview of McNally on January 21, McNally said that he did not know why he would leave the locker room with the game balls without being accompanied by game officials, and “just decided to leave the locker room at that time to go to the field.” He said that no one had ever told him that he was required to wait for the officials. He also claimed that he went into the bathroom with the game balls because when he got to the end of the tunnel, he
realized that he suddenly had to use the bathroom.”

I believe his first statement explaining what happened is by far the most important one and that when he could not explain right after the game why he would leave the locker room with the balls while not being accompanied by the officials it is very damaging. Later explanations don’t cut it with me. Also, because he said the bathroom had a urinal when it didn’t, I don’t believe anything he said about his reasons for going to the bathroom. This is not the type of detail you would forget in a couple of hours.

JD

• Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

JD, re: your statements about McNally’s answers in his first interview – the quotes you are citing are from his 2nd and 3rd interviews. His first interview was the night after the game – Jan 18. you are referencing a phone interview Jan 19 (2nd interview – the next day) and another Jan 21 (3rd interview – 3 days after the game). So his recall is not from hours after the game.

I don’t see how you can use his answers against him. In his mind, he didn’t need permission to walk the balls to the field. If his claim (supported by 2 security people who work Pats games) is that he walks the balls to the field unattended 50% of the time, then why would he be doing anything different from what he normally does – there’s no need to answer why he decided to walk the balls down to the field unaccompanied, it’s what he does at least 50% of the time.

The AFC game start was delayed because the NFC game went to OT, so everyone was on hold until it ended. McNally was waiting for the NFC game to end so he could walk the balls to the field after getting permission from Anderson to remove the balls from the officials room. The NFC game ends, which means the AFC game prep is back on again, and he walks the balls down to the field – walking right through the crowded officials room with 2 bags of 12 balls each over each shoulder. Walking right past the vision of a high level NFL who knew about the deflation accusations prior to the game. He walks by everyone, down the tunnel, stops to use the bathroom on his way because he has to go, and continues on to the field.

If walking the balls unaccompanied was his normal routine more often than not, and he’s been doing this for years (he’s been a ball boy or locker room attendant for 32 years), then I would argue he’s on auto-pilot for that part of his job. He also said he routinely uses the bathroom on the way to the field. When I walk in the office every am, I go from my car to the front office door and then I walk back to my office. If you asked me the details of this 2 days later – did I stop and talk to someone on the way back to my office, did i use the bathroom on the way to my office, or after I put my stuff in my office or not, etc. I wouldn’t be able to tell you what i did or didn’t do. (side note – Hopefully there was no crime committed at my office 2 days ago, because I wouldn’t come across as being forthcoming, lol).

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

McNally’s account gives a picture of fuzzy-wuzzy protocol and lax procedures, to the discredit, ultimately, of Roger Goodell.
Ted Wells has the task of painting McNally as a liar as well as a culprit, unless he wants a dissatisfied client. Unfortunately for Wells & Co. and Goodell to boot, there is eyewitness corroboration of McNally’s account and also Mr. Farley has been sniffed out in his clumsy attempt to color the situation. When the book is written, Wells, Exponent, Goodell and their minions are all going to appear as fumbling clowns.

Why was John Raucci, Chief Investigator for the NFL, at this game? What was he investigating?

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

“Unless one watches the pea carefully, one can easily get the impression that McNally was not on the field when Farley arrived on the field shortly after 6:36:”

This point by Steve illustrates the biased nature of the Wells Report. McNall was on the field yet Farley couldn’t find him. it’s really a completely irrelevant point but somehow it makes it into the narrative of the story. But notice how you (or Steve in this case) have to put two and two together That Farley just didn’t see him. The implication…unsaid…McNally is hiding from the officials. It’s this way throughout the report.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

Steve McIntyre:

The Patriots (see here) say that McNally was interviewed four times, three times by NFL security and for an entire day by Wells. The Patriots say that Wells’ request for a further interview was outside the scope of their agreement and that Wells did not respond to their request for an explanation.

The Patriots know bloody well that McNally was interviewed exactly one time by the NFL investigative team. As JD points out, it is more likely in their economic interests to not be fully forthcoming, whereas it’s hard to understand why the game officials would be less than as honest.

I see an undue amount of weight being put on “what the Patriots say”, especially in cases like this when what they are saying is such obvious spin.

HOwever, elsewhere in the report, they say that McNally had “exited the bathroom at approximately 6:32:27 p.m., and took the bags of game balls to the field.” So McNally was on the field for several minutes by the time that Farley arrived. Precisely why Farley missed him is unexplained in the report, but it was not because McNally wasn’t on the field.

This was addressed in the report.

As soon as he reached the field, Farley looked for McNally by the instant replay booth, where McNally regularly arrives with the game balls, but did not see him.

The fact that Farley didn’t find McNally is just further evidence there was something very usual in McNally’s behavior. This combined with his inconsistent statements seems like a major red flag to me.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 7:21 AM | Permalink

Carrick, that is the discrepancy. The Patriots are claiming the video shows McNally going to the field from the tunnel and being in his usual place. Wells Report has Farley leaving the tunnel and looking in that same place, presumably also from video. Why didn’t Farley see him?

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

Carrick writes:

As soon as he reached the field, Farley looked for McNally by the instant replay booth, where McNally regularly arrives with the game balls, but did not see him.

The fact that Farley didn’t find McNally is just further evidence there was something very usual in McNally’s behavior. This combined with his inconsistent statements seems like a major red flag to me.

Carrick, there seems to be evidence that McNally went to the replay booth as he was supposed to, evidence that was not mentioned by the very biased Wells Report, leading you to view something as deceptive that wasn’t.

The PAtriots say:

Once the footballs are taken to the field they are to be taken to the area adjacent to the replay booth. The outdoor security camera shows that is exactly what Mr. McNally did. Anyone actually concerned about the location of the game footballs could simply have checked that location.

The security video shows Mr. Anderson coming out to the field and going there. Not surprisingly, he found Mr. McNally was there with the bags of footballs. No one then reprimanded Mr. McNally for having taken the footballs without permission or accompaniment, although the report would have one now believe that officials thought Mr. McNally had done something wrong by taking the footballs himself.

I know that you disbelieve Patriot statements, but here they adduce security camera footage as evidence. While I haven’t seen the security footage, it doesn’t seem to me to be the sort of claim that they would make if it weren’t supported by the security footage. The security footage was available to the Wells Report and they did not say that it shows something else.

Now here’s how the Wells report describes events:

As soon as he reached the field, Farley looked for McNally by the instant replay booth, where McNally regularly arrives with the game balls, but did not see him. He did, however, see John Raucci, Director of Investigative Services at the NFL, shortly after stepping onto the field and asked if Raucci had seen either McNally or the game balls. Raucci said that he had seen neither. Farley headed back toward the Officials Locker Room to get the back-up balls. He is seen on the security footage at approximately 6:42 p. m. walking back down the tunnel leading to the field with the bags of back-up balls.

Shortly after taking the field, after Farley had returned to the Officials Locker Room for the back-up balls, Anderson and the other officials noticed that McNally and the game balls were on the field.

In this rendition, there is no mention of where McNally and the balls were located, which, according to the Patriots’ account of security footage, was right at the replay booth where he was supposed to be all along, and apparently was.

That the Wells Report’s account convinced someone as able as you that this seemingly nothing aspect of this incident was “a major red flag” and showed something “very unusual” only proves to me that the Wells Report wrote up this aspect of the affair very deceptively.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

MikeN, he eventually took his usual place. I think even McNally’s testimony has him going over to the Patriots bench first. Of course New England knows this but chooses to obfuscate the issue in their rebuttal. Why do you suppose they did that?

• Carrick
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

I’ve looked at this and found it much less satisfying than you apparently do.

It’s unfortunate the Patriots don’t release the security film (which hopefully has time stamps on the frames). I am skeptical of the motives behind the releaing of a verbal description when videographic evidence exists.

Of particular issue here is that Patriots don’t specifically say that McNally was at the replay booth when Farley arrived looking for him, but they do confirm that McNally was there once Anderson arrived. Curious omission.

Nor do they provide a timeline stating the times when McNally arrived as opposed to when Farley arrived at the replay booth. Given that the Wells report does include times, when available, this is another curious omission.

The question was always “was McNally at the replay booth when Farley arrived”, a question that is should have been directly addressed, but likely deliberately avoided, in the Patriots response:

Once the footballs are taken to the field they are to be taken to the area adjacent to the replay booth. The outdoor security camera shows that is exactly what Mr. McNally did.

Yes, McNally did (eventually) arrive at the replay booth. That is not even a point in dispute.

The question that actually is in dispute is “when did McFarley arrive?” Why exactly is this critical information omitted and how can you be satisfied with a response that actually fails to provide key information such as this?

The Wells report states very clearly that Farley went to the replay booth. They state he did not see McNally there.

They state that John Raucci, who was also at the replay booth, also did not know where McNally was. If McNally was at the booth at that point, Raucci must have seen him arrive.

I find it implausible that McNally was at the booth when Farley arrived there. I would be willing to accept documentary evidence to the contrary. Although New England had access to documentary evidence that could have contradicted this conclusion, they withheld this information, and only provided ancillary and noncontroversial information instead.

And you find that satisfying?

When I read the Wells report, I see evidence that is exculpatory being reports (such as the security guards account on McNally). When I read the Wells report, a timeline is provided. When I the Patriots report, details that matter are left out, while points that are not in dispute get amplified. The document that is dropping critical quantitative details while liberally using spin appears to me to be the Patriots response.

Yet it’s the Wells report that I am supposed to find deceptive here—even though neither the Wells commission nor the NFL has anything to gain by smearing the Patriots organization or one of its heroes, Tom Brady. On the other hand, the Patriots response, which almost definitionally is a self-serving document, apparently I’m to view uncritically and as a paragon of the truth.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

Carrick one explanation is that McNally went somewhere else first and then arrived at the replay booth, not described anywhere I’ve seen, but does fit the facts.

Some other possibilities:
Maybe there is a replay booth and an instant replay. Wells said instant replay.

Farley never actually went to the replay area. Wells said he looked there, but that could mean he came to the field and turned in that direction. It also doesn’t say he saw Raucci at the replay booth either, but shortly after he(Farley) stepped onto the field. It’s not clear where the tunnel exits onto the field.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

Did I miss something? Is there a point to this latest round of inquiry? There’s only one place he had the time to deflate the balls. That was in the 9×9 bathroom with a toilet and a sink and two bags of balls by a huge man in under 100 seconds.

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

JD
Read the comments. All of these issues are explored and clarified. Also, there are one or two links to the Patriots’ rebuttals on issues raised in the Wells Report.
Please excuse me from a discussion of this tangle.

• JD Ohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

MP. If you are going to comment, you should be able to respond. Read the comments is not an answer or response.

JD

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 2:25 PM | Permalink

I can comment on the science;
that I understand. I simply referred to better sources than I on your inquiries.

I have a question for you:

You have a legal B/G, if I’m not mistaken.
Does this work by Ted Wells and his associates enjoy privilege? I ask because it deals not with matters of the law but only with NFL regulations.

• jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 9:25 PM | Permalink

M Painter “Does this work by Ted Wells and his associates enjoy privilege?”

You are asking a very subtle question that I can’t answer. The attorney client privilege is structured to deal with the typical adversarial situation where opposing attorneys clearly represent their own clients. In this instance, Wells is purportedly acting as an impartial investigator. How that would play out in terms of attorney client privilege I don’t know. More importantly, I would expect that the NFL charter or articles of incorporation spell out what portions of an investigator’s work are proprietary to the NFL and which parts would be open to all parties. (This is also speculation on my part)

JD

• MikeN
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

Carrick, I don’t see McNally testimony as to going to the Patriots bench first, but that would explain the discrepancy.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

JD regarding the football that Jastremski lied about, that is a separate issue entirely. It appears he lied to various people and gave it more importance than it actually had, and didn’t want to admit to the lie he told to his family and friends. I think the investigators would have been better off leaving that out of the report.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

I think I saw some texts also that may have caused some trouble for Jastremski with his wife.

14. Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

JD, I disagree with your statement “McNally not being able to explain why he took the balls out of the officials’ locker room and almost certainly lying about what motivated him to go to the bathroom, I believe the refusal to answer the question is significant evidence against the Patriots.” I also disagree that he was not being cooperative.

Here’s how the interview process went with McNally according to the Patriots, he seems cooperative IMO. from http://wellsreportcontext.com/#patriotscooperation :

The first of Mr. McNally’s interviews happened the night after the game, when Mr. McNally volunteered to stay at the stadium for an interview since he would not be back for his game-day responsibilities until August. Patriots management had not yet been advised that an investigation had started, but Mr. McNally, having nothing to hide, talked freely to the League personnel without even asking if someone from the team should be there with him. The second and third interviews happened within the next several days. Again, Mr. McNally gave these interviews without any Patriots representative with him. His phone was offered to League personnel for imaging, but they advised that they did not need his phone. (His phone data was later provided to the Wells investigators upon their request and prior to their interview with him.) At his third interview with League Security personnel, he was subjected to very aggressive questioning and demeaning assertions that he was lying when he denied any knowledge of improper football deflation. This approach to the issues by League personnel was consistent with their prejudgments of wrongdoing by the Patriots. Notwithstanding that he had already been interviewed three times, when Mr. Wells asked to interview him again, the Patriots agreed to facilitate that fourth interview. That agreement was based on an explicit understanding reached with the Wells investigators: barring unanticipated circumstances, individuals would only be interviewed by the Wells investigators one time.

Here’s some context for McNally’s initial answers, where you say he didn’t have an answer for why he took the balls:

League security actually began investigating during the second half of the game when they began questioning Patriots ball boys. Consistent with that, Mr. McNally described the focus of his first interview as being on the role of ball boys. It was accurate for him to have stated that nothing unusual happened during the walk from the locker room to the field, since, as he later explained, his bathroom stop was nothing unusual. When later asked why he did not use the urinals in the Officials’ Locker Room or the chain gang room, he fully explained why — and his reasons are supported by the report’s conclusions about how crowded the Officials’ Locker Room area was (pgs. 54-55). One can draw no adverse inferences from an attendant deciding not to use the crowded facilities. If the investigators had found a single witness who had seen Mr. McNally routinely using the urinals in the Officials’ Locker Room prior to other games when the officials were doing their final pre-game preparations, they would have put that in the report. The bathroom he used is on his direct route from the Officials’ Locker Room to the field.

Here’s more context for McNally taking balls to the Field:
What Mr. McNally actually described was exactly what the report stated happened before the AFC Championship Game — that he gets permission from the game officials to remove the footballs from where they reside in the dressing room of the Officials’ Locker Room. As the report acknowledges (pg. 55), Mr. McNally received precisely that permission: “Anderson also recalls that Mr. McNally, with Anderson’s permission, had moved the bags of footballs from the dressing room area towards the sitting room shortly after the officials returned from the player’s walk-through.” Thus, Mr. McNally had the referee’s permission to remove the footballs from the part of the dressing room where game officials congregate pre-game. He sat with the footballs in the sitting room and then, when the NFC Championship Game that everyone was watching in that sitting room ended, he took the footballs from the sitting room and out into the hallway in full view of numerous League and game officials. Even after halftime, when psi measurements had become an issue, Mr. McNally is seen on the security tape walking the footballs back to the field totally unaccompanied by any game or League official, but obviously with their full knowledge that he was doing so. Again, no one told him to wait, to stop, or that he was doing anything wrong in taking the footballs from the Officials’ Locker Room to the field.

From the Wells Report: With respect to his decision to leave the locker room unaccompanied, McNally claimed that his actions on the day of the AFC Championship Game were not unusual. In his account, the game balls remainin the locker room until he believes it is time to take them to the field. According to McNally, he brings the game balls to the fieldwhen he deems fit. He said that he generally asks permission or alerts the officials before he moves the game balls from the dressing room to the sitting room, but does not ask or alert them again before leaving the locker room and taking the balls to the field. McNally also claimed that it is not his customary or typical practice to walk to the field with game officials. He estimated that he walks to the field with other people—game officials, security personnel or others—only half of the time. The Patriots produced two game-day security guards employed by Team Ops, a
security and guest services company affiliated with the Patriots, to support McNally‟s account. Rita Callendar, who was stationed just outside the Officials Locker Room on game day, said that she estimates that McNally takes the game balls to the field by himself roughly 50% of the time, and that the other times he walks with or in close proximity to Richard Farley. Paul Galanis, who was stationed just outside the entrance to the Patriots locker room, across the corridor from the top of the center tunnel, said that it was routine for McNally to walk to the field with the game balls unaccompanied. He estimated that McNally goes to the field approximately 10% of the time with game officials and approximately 25-30% of the time with Richard Farley, and the
other times he is walking by himself.

Here’s the Patriots version of him walking the balls out of the locker room, all seen on the security video:

When the NFC Championship Game ended abruptly in overtime and Mr. McNally started from the back of the sitting room towards the door to the hallway, he walked by numerous League officials in the sitting room. As the report states (pg. 55), the sitting room was crowded with “NFL personnel, game officials and others gathered there to watch the conclusion of the NFC Championship Game on television.” Mr. McNally had to navigate this crowd of officials to make it through the sitting room with two large bags of footballs on his shoulders. Mr. McNally walked past all these League officials and out the door of the Officials’ Locker Room. As is clear from the report, no one objected; no one told him to stop; no one requested that he wait to be accompanied by a League official; no one told him that a League official had to carry the footballs to the field. After he walked past all of these League officials and out the door of the Officials’ Locker Room to the hallway, he then walked past James Daniel, an NFL official and one of the people who had been alerted to the Colts psi concerns pre-game (pg. 45). Mr. Daniel, as seen on the security video, looked at Mr. McNally carrying the bags of footballs toward the field unaccompanied by any League or game official, and made no objection to Mr. McNally continuing unaccompanied to the field. If officials lost track of the location of game footballs, it was not because Mr. McNally stealthily removed them. (Omitted from the investigation were interviews with all those League officials whom Mr. McNally walked past with the bags of footballs on his shoulders.) Even after halftime, when obvious attention was being paid to game footballs and psi issues by League and game officials, who took control of the footballs at halftime, the security video shows Mr. McNally, with no objection, taking the footballs from the Officials’ Locker Room back to the field totally unaccompanied by any League or Game official.

• jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

D 1964

Much of the Wells report contradicts the essence (not the literal truth) of your description. For instance: “Anderson said that it is typical for locker room attendants throughout the League to help move the game balls towards the front of the locker room, but that the footballs do not leave the locker room until the officials give express permission for them to be brought to the field at or near the time the officials also walk to the field. Numerous other game officials described a similar practice.”

****

“Both Anderson and Veteri immediately asked Farley where the footballs were. Farley checked for the ball bags in the back part of the locker room (where he saw the bags of back-up balls) and in the adjacent Chain Gang Locker Room, but could not find them. When it was suggested that McNally had or may have taken them to the field, Anderson responded that “he‟s not supposed to do that.” Anderson also stated that “we have to find the footballs.” Blakeman recalls that although Anderson is usually
calm and composed leading up to a game, Anderson was visibly concerned and uncharacteristically used an expletive when the game balls could not be located. The other officials were similarly surprised and concerned. None of the officials in the locker room at the time realized that the game balls had been removed from the locker room until they were ready
to go to the field for the start of the game, and all expected that the balls would not leave the locker room until it was time for them to take the field.”

Part of what persuades me that the officials version was correct was McNally’s inability at the first interview to identify any game where he had taken the game balls without accompanying the officials. Also, the fact that he apparently came up with an explanation of what he did with the balls after the first interview is not very impressive to me The fact that he walked by numerous NFL officials with the balls doesn’t impress me much if they were not charged with supervision of the balls. (If he had walked directly by one of the officials described above that would be a different matter.)

My basic point, which does not appear to be significantly contradicted by you, is that where there is a conflict in explanations and statements, I give the most credence to the initial statement. I would also add that what is happening between us is precisely what happens at jury trials. You are essentially giving no credence to the officials and I am essentially giving no credence to the Patriots employees later explanations of what occurred. If actual transcripts of the interviews were provided, some of this would probably be cleared up.

JD

• Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

JD, I agree that we really need the transcripts (video of interviews would be even better).

I don’t think the conflicts in statements necessarily point to guilt.

I see it this way – you have a low level employee who immediately after the game is questioned with the questions focused on the ball boys and whether anything unusual had taken place. He volunteers to answer questions that night instead of coming back the next day. He does so without any patriots personnel present. Those actions are consistent with an innocent person. When he is answering questions that night, he has done nothing earlier that day he hasn’t normally done for many games over the years (his assertion that he does this 50% of games jives with 2 other security people who work pats games) Just because Anderson and some of the other league refs don’t allow walking to the field unaccompanied, doesn’t mean others don’t). So when they ask about anything unusual, walking the balls to the field unaccompanied and using the bathroom is not unusual behavior to Mcnally – so he doesn’t say anything about it.

So first interview – the question was, “did you do anything unusual?” McNally doesn’t think using the bathroom on the way to the field is unsual, so he doesn’t mention it.

2nd or 3rd interview – NFL sees he used the bathroom, so they ask him about it. Again, if it’s something he’s done in the past and isn’t unusual (he’s worked for the pats for 32 years, not sure how old the stadium is, but it’s a familiar bathroom to him), the details wouldn’t stand out to him. I can see someone calling a toilet a urinal or vice versa

I would argue if he was using the bathroom to deflate balls, he’d be on high alert to get it done without getting caught. I think he’d remember every last detail of the bathroom. The fact that he has a vague recollection of it and can’t remember where he put the balls, etc. points to it being such a non-event that he’s on auto-pilot, where he’s going through the motions but his brain isn’t registering the details.

He also volunteered his phone during one of the interviews – the NFL declined.

But your right – seeing the transcripts (video would be best so we could see tone and body language) would give us context to the exact questions and answers, where we could make a better determination if he was being truthful or evasive.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

JD, assume that McNally is right and he has taken footballs to the field unaccompanied before, maybe a quarter to half the time as the security guys said. Now when asked, would you expect him to identify a specific game where he did so?

• jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

MikeN “Now when asked, would you expect him to identify a specific game where he did so?”

Yes, that should be quite easy. Suppose he remembers 3 games and is wrong about one of them. No big deal. He still can show that he took the balls out on his own accord in 2 games.

JD

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

I wouldn’t expect to remember specifically in this game I took the balls by myself, while in this game the refs came with me.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

If the officials never allow this to happen, why did they allow it a second time at halftime?

This was a game where the officials were on notice to be alert with the footballs, they reinflated after busting the Pats’ deflating, then they let McNally take the footballs by himself?

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 8:21 AM | Permalink

JD,
From the Wells Report:
“Rule 2….and the balls shall remain under the supervision of the referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to start of the game.”

Nothing about the referee escorting the ball attendant onto the playing field. I imagine that other NFL ball attendants would give accounts very similar to McNally’s.

Now, I’m sure that Wells and his crew can read just as well as you or I.
So why does he pretend that it is an issue? Because it is not.
The Wells Report should be taken for what it is.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

>If actual transcripts of the interviews were provided, some of this would probably be cleared up.

I think the tunnel video is sufficient. After looking at a picture of McNally, I feel confident that he would not be able to deflate 13 footballs in that timeframe, or if he somehow did, he would not be relaxed but instead breathing heavily.

15. MikeN
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

JD I see nothing wrong with McNally’s postgame answers that lead me to think of him as guilty. He couldn’t remember a prior game that he took the footballs is not the same thing as he never left with the footballs before. He just can’t identify a specific game. He has no explanation for why he left without game officials because no one told him he couldn’t do that before.

For that matter the referees had him at halftime take the balls out unaccompanied, right after they caught the Patriots cheating and reinflated them.

• jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

MN You are totally disregarding the officials statements that the balls are to be taken to the field with the officials present. That is your right. But between the officials (each of whom have other full time jobs) and McNally, I would tend to believe the officials particularly when McNally originally had no explanation as to why he would transport the balls without the officials present.

JD

• Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 4:35 PM | Permalink

JDOhio, what about the 2 security officials the pats made available – they both said mcnally took balls unaccompanied 50% of the time.

Also, the officials work for the NFL – could there be a potential that refs are giving an “answer” based on what they are supposed to do, vs. giving an answer that may expose that they are not following the league protocols?

• jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

D 1964

One way to resolve much of this issue is to ask other officials and staff members for other teams what the policy is. I don’t think everyone would lie. Why (to my knowledge) hasn’t anyone outside of the Patriots stated that it was not unusual for team employees to take the balls to the field unaccompanied. As you can tell, I don’t give much credence to the Patriots statements. If I was an official, I wouldn’t lie about procedures and depend on the other [roughly 70] officials to back up my lie. On other hand, if I was a Patriots employee, I could infer that it is in my economic interest to lie.

JD

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 8:45 AM | Permalink

It’s not a lie. They probably think the procedure is to accompany the footballs. However, during the various games they probably don’t care about it and just have the guy go out there by himself, to the point where maybe they are only there half the time as the security guys said.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

JD
From the Wells Report…according to the officials
“McNally had not previously removed game balls from the Officials Locker Room and taken them to the field without either receiving permission from the game officials or being accompanied by one or more officials.”

Notice the part about receiving permission. McNally thought he had permission. maybe he was wrong. but it appears that there wasn’t really much focus on this part of the procedures up until this game.

16. MikeN
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

> After the deflator texts became available, McNally refused to allow himself to be questioned again about those texts and his role in preparing footballs.

MaNally was questioned after those texts became available. The investigators just didn’t ask about it because they hadn’t noticed them.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

It needs to be noted….again… that there is one deflator text. Only one and it was on May 9th in the off season. And they were not talking about footballs

• MikeN
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

There is another one that says deflate and give somebody that jacket. Not highlighted as much since it supports the theory of weight loss. However it was at halftime against Green Bay when they were down nine.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

Is that in the Wells Report?

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 7:37 AM | Permalink

It was a road game, so again McNally had no chance to deflate, plus Wells Report as it as being sent by McNally to Jastremski. No explanation was given by Wells Report as to why McNally wanted Jastremski to do McNally’s job.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

There is also “The only thing deflating sun. is his passing rating”
Next one will be a balloon
Make sure you blow up the ball like a rugby ball so tom can get used to it before sunday
Make sure the pump is attached to the needle, watermelons coming
all right after the jets game.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 8:44 AM | Permalink

I’m referring to NcNally or Jastremski calling each other deflator. I realize they used the word in some verb form a few times.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

MikeN:

MaNally was questioned after those texts became available. The investigators just didn’t ask about it because they hadn’t noticed them.

Or because they simply assumed they’d have a follow-up interview and were giving him rope to hang himself with. Remember there was a single interview between McNally and the NFL investigative team.

As I mentioned above, I believe this lack of cooperation with the investigative team is what lead to such heavy fines rather than New England potentially modifying the football pressure.

Anyway, if you look at the words surrounding “deflator” it does not seem consistent with discussing weight loss.

Nice dude….jimmy needs some kicks….lets make a deal…..come on help the deflator

(The reply from Jastremski was apparently deleted.)

This is followed roughly eight minutes later by:

Chill buddy im just fuckin with you ….im not going to espn……..yet

So by you guys reading, McNally is threatening to go to espn to talk about his weight loss?

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

Carrick, you say:

Or because they simply assumed they’d have a follow-up interview and were giving him rope to hang himself with. Remember there was a single interview between McNally and the NFL investigative team.

The Patriots put their correspondence with the league about interviews online here. On February 5, the Patriots and the NFL agreed as follows:

Scheduling of witness interviews: You have requested new
interviews of those already interviewed, as well as interviews of a
number of other individuals. We will work to accommodate all
those interviews. The interviews will be arranged so
that, barring unanticipated circumstances, there will
not be future multiple interviews of the same person

A subsequent letter in March says that by that time McNally had been interviewed three times by NFL security and once by Wells and sought an explanation of the “unanticipated circumstances” that required a fifth interview. Their letter also complained that League security had leaked McNally’s name to the media and that McNally, a minimum wage employee, and his family were being harassed.

While I think that the Patriots were unwise not to go the further mile, I can also see why they were annoyed and why they felt entitled under their agreement with the NFL to ask for an explanation of the “unanticipated circumstances”.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

Steve McIntyre:

While I think that the Patriots were unwise not to go the further mile, I can also see why they were annoyed and why they felt entitled under their agreement with the NFL to ask for an explanation of the “unanticipated circumstances”.

Obviously I’m not very sympathetic on this point:

There was exactly one interview with the NFL investigative group. That is indisputable. The team could and would have traveled to meet McNally so the claim of hardship must be met with due skepticism.

Denying them a second interview wasn’t just foolish, it was actually a breech of contract issue.

As I mentioned above, it’s my understanding that most of the penalties were incurred due to a failure to comply with the terms of their contract rather than the supposed tampering with the Patriots footballs.

The deflator and espn references are discussed by the Patriots as follows:

What was really meant is obviously left up to McNally, not to the Patriots self-servering spin control central. So the answers must come directly from McNally and not some intermediary.

However, the NFL investigative group was not given an opportunity to follow up and ask any further questions on this issue, so we’ll never know.

I certainly don’t accept the Patriots self-serving account on this issue. Why should I believe them and why do you?

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

It’s not a matter of believing them but seeing if it fits the evidence. My immediate reaction to the security guards’ claims about McNally was that it was people the Pats put forward so no reason to believe them. In this case, deflator as weight loss seemed like a stretch, but then looking at his picture, I can see that it might be used since he is not just big and heavy but close to balloonish. For the Wells team explanation to work, they have to explain why McNally would tell Jastremski ‘deflate and give somebody that jacket.’ Even if they got it backwards, it was a road game, so McNally has no chance to deflate footballs, even though they tried to imply that he did so at halftime.
For the ESPN, again I find it more plausible than the Wells explanation if only because I don’t think ESPN is the name I would use there. My initial reaction when reading the Wells report to this text is that they were deflating Brady’s tires.

Steve: “deflate and give somebody that jkt. [jacket]” was characterized by Wells as follows: “A text message sent by McNally to Jastremski during a Patriots road game against the Green Bay Packers on November 30, 2014, includes a possible suggestion to “deflate” footballs.” They said that they were unable to discuss the meaning of the text with McNally because Patriots’ counsel “refused” to make him available. As the only other usage of “deflate”, this is an important text. AS you point out, it makes no sense to interpret this message as an instruction to deflate footballs when McNally was in a different city.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 11:04 PM | Permalink

A sports blog provided a completely convincing explanation of “deflate and give somebody that jkt” that both showed that jkt meant jacket and that, contrary to Wells, was NOT a “possible suggestion to “deflate” footballs. See here.

The text occurred during a televised game between Patriots and Green Bay. An alert blog commenter synchronized the time of McNally’s text to the televised game and determined that the text immediately followed a Packer touchdown and that, at that precise time, Jastremski was pictured on television holding a jacket, while McNally was at home in New England.

One blogger write:

Some are suggesting it means McNally is referring to the puffy jacket that Jastremski is wearing. Personally, I’m guessing McNally is telling Jastremski to calm down after seeing that play. While that does not refer to weight loss, it does show they loosely use that term for meanings that have nothing to do with air pressure and footballs.

Whatever the precise intent, Wells’ insinuations that this text was a “possible suggestion” to deflate footballs is clearly contradicted.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

I don’t see anywhere Wells’s agreeing to the Patriots’ interview terms.

Jastremski was interviewed a second time, and in his second interview nothing new came up. This was a reason for the counsel to not provide McNally. It’s not clear if they asked Jastremski to explain deflator either.

I’m a little confused as to why Wells didn’t go to Roger Goodell to force the issue.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

The deflator and espn references are discussed by the Patriots as follows:

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

They held off on asking to ask at a later interview? I assume they were given more than five minutes to ask questions.
They missed it.

The explanation isn’t that they were discussing weight loss, but just another nickname.

The ESPN part isn’t with regards to weight loss, but that he was getting free stuff illicitly. Could also be a reference to something still unknown.

If he was engaged in a scheme to deflate footballs, threatening to go to ESPN is not what comes to mind, but to Goodell or even the FBI.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

MikeN:

They held off on asking to ask at a later interview? I assume they were given more than five minutes to ask questions.

Why is deferring some questions for a later interview so difficult to accept as a possibility? I don’t see it as implausible.

The ESPN part isn’t with regards to weight loss, but that he was getting free stuff illicitly.

Based on the emails and texts, that’s about half the Patriots staff. Definitely worth a full fledge yawn.

You may decide to credulously accept the Patriots account on this, but I feel no obligation to trust them, especially when they have clearly been obstructionistic towards this investigation.

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

Email from Goldberg to Ted Wells dated 3/9/15:

“If you want some added information from Jim McNally,let me know what it is and I will consider the best way to get relevant information to you”

This is what Ted Wells publicly characterized as a “lack of cooperation from the Patriots”. Wells never availed himself of Goldberg’s offer.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 8:38 PM | Permalink

I don’t hold that against Wells, since he considers McNally guilty, and letting him know ahead of time what he wants to ask won’t work. I’m surprised they didn’t request the two guys simultaneously for interviews.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

Interview for 7 hours, but decide not to ask about this? It doesn’t take too much to start out with what nicknames do you use for each other, you ever make jokes about deflating footballs, etc.
Highly implausible that they would hold off for a later interview.

Beyond that, Wells has said he didn’t notice the text messages. He was caught in another lie because he said he had only analyzed the previous season to that point. Then in the Wells Report, they said they wanted to ask about deflate and give somebody that jkt, which was from November of the season they supposedly had looked at.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

mpainter:

This is what Ted Wells publicly characterized as a “lack of cooperation from the Patriots”. Wells never availed himself of Goldberg’s offer.

Anything Goldberg provided Wells at that point would anecdotal, and there’d be no control over which pieces of information were reported accurately and which contained modified or redacted information.

If Wells had accepted this offer, it could credibly be viewed as a sign-off on the part of the league that by this unacceptable method of communication with McNally, that the Patriots had met their contractual obligations to fully cooperate with the league in this investigation.

Obviously Wells should not sign-off that the contractual obligation had been met, when they hadn’t.

MikeN: Seven hours isn’t all that many for an interview with a key individual in an investigation. You can speculate on why any one point wasn’t discussed, but it’s irrelevant. It wasn’t discussed. Asking for a follow-up interview and expecting that points that weren’t raised (for ANY reason) in the initial interview could be asked in the follow up is completely reasonable here.

The Patriots were required to cooperate in this investigation, but prevented a second interview between the NFL investigative team and McNally. If they were truly innocent of any wrong-doing, they really screwed the pooch on that one.

You are making a big stink of the fact that the point didn’t get asked in the first interview. I see that as a smoke screen to itself cover up obstructionism on the part of the Patriots organization. I think that obstructionism is the real story.

While I would agree with calling ‘enough” if an investigation lingers on forever, this one didn’t linger on, it was cut short.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

I think it is reasonable to ask for the followup interview. I don’t think it is reasonable to not bring up something in a seven hour interview, which presumably was open ended.

>You are making a big stink of the fact that the point didn’t get asked in the first interview.
I’m not. The Patriots are saying it.
Obstructionism is correct, and it is why they were punished.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

MikeN:

Obstructionism is correct, and it is why they were punished.

I think so to.

I think it would have been a wrist-slap for tampering with the footballs had they cooperated (assuming that was the outcome). In that case, I’ve have expected the major long-term consequence to have been a rule change to permit tweaking the pressure (within allowed ranges) by team representatives.

I think that should have been allowed all along.

17. JonP
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

“You are totally disregarding the officials statements that the balls are to be taken to the field with the officials present.”

JD you are totally disregarding the video evidence showing McNally did exactly that, twice, in the same game. Who are we to believe video evidence or the refs CYA statements.

Also, Why did the Wells report dismiss Anderson’s statement as to which gauge he used to measure the footballs pre-game?

• jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

JonP “JD you are totally disregarding the video evidence showing McNally did exactly that, twice, in the same game. Who are we to believe video evidence or the refs CYA statements.”

You have a reasonable point here. I don’t know the answer. However, I do know that the officials said that McNally was not permitted to just walk out of the officials room prior to the game with the footballs. The most logical explanation is that, from the vantage point of the officials and the league, the later situation was viewed as different.

However, I still go back to McNally’s original statement: he didn’t know why he took the balls out of his own accord without permission or without being accompanied by the officials. I find this statement totally incredible. He could have said he had permission, he could have said he wanted to make sure he could wave to his mother-in-law, he could have said that it was a nice day outside. There was a reason he went out unaccompanied without permission, but when asked originally about it, he claimed to have no knowledge about something that happened in the very recent past.

Since the officials are only part-time workers and don’t work together full time, I believe it would be very difficult to get them all to lie together. On the other hand, the Patriot employees all work together and the Patriots have a history of cheating. I could be convinced otherwise, but from what I know of NFL officials, I believe they are far less likely to lie than Patriot employees.

JD

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

JD…Have you ever been asked a question that came out of nowhere? A question you never even considered? Now if he was guilty of this horrible crime he might tend to be a little prepared to answer the question. Criminals are good at that because they’ve already thought about what answers they’ll need to give when they are caught. On the other hand someone that doesn’t think they have done anything wrong might be tongue tied. Surprised that they are even asked the question.

His answer is totally believable if you think a little bit about human nature.

Why can’t you consider this bizarre possibility. None of them are lying. They just have a different perspective of what they think is reality.

• jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 10:30 PM | Permalink

chuckrr “Have you ever been asked a question that came out of nowhere? A question you never even considered?”

This is not a question out of nowhere. This is a question that deals very specifically with McNally’s primary duties. I find it absolutely incredible that he would claim he had no idea why he took it upon himself to take the balls out without supervision or permission. Also, the fact that Brady loves deflated balls fills in more context.

JD

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 11:07 PM | Permalink

If the question wasn’t unexpected to him (out of nowhere) then he would have thought about it right? And the obvious answer is that he thought he had permission. Weather he was right or not is another question. It would make sense and be hard to argue that he wasn’t sincere since everyone else was leaving the locker room too. Your right in that his answer makes no sense unless he was startled by the question. And couldn’t understand why he was being asked the question.

Now here is another question for you. How did the Patriots deflate the balls on the road? It’s hard to believe Brady would like to use balls inflated to different pressures for different games. So how did they do it. McNally wasn’t there. What’s the context. Maybe there’s another joke Brady made to explain that

• MikeN
Posted Jul 18, 2015 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

Rules out recording verbatim responses.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

The Patriots ‘history of cheating’ has been covered elsewhere. Bill Belichick misunderstood a memo by the NFL. Another site went through the rules and showed that in fact the NFL’s memo is not consistent with the rest of the rulebook and Bill was right, though of course the recent memo would take precedence.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

>McNally’s original statement: he didn’t know why he took the balls out of his own accord without permission or without being accompanied by the officials. I find this statement totally incredible. He could have said …he claimed to have no knowledge about something that happened in the very recent past.

No, he said he was uncertain, and this is a third or fourth hand quote.

• Steve McIntyre
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

McNally’s original statement: he didn’t know why he took the balls out of his own accord without permission or without being accompanied by the officials. I find this statement totally incredible. He could have said …he claimed to have no knowledge about something that happened in the very recent past.

As I mentioned in an earlier comment, this is a very inaccurate characterization of events. McNally had already received permission to move the balls to the waiting area and was waiting with the officials for the NFC championship game to end. Because they were waiting for another game to end, the usual sequence wasn’t followed in any event. McNally’s account, accoording to Wells, was that, when the NFC game ended, an NFL official said something like “we’re back on again” with the room quickly emptying. After hearing from an official that they were “on”, McNally picked up the balls and walked out of the Officials Locker Room towards the field, where he arrived a couple of minutes later, after his bathroom stop.

Based on other information, McNally said that he frequently took the balls unaccompanied, a claim supported by security guards but disputed by the NFL. IT’s possible that the security guards are lying, but it’s also possible that the NFL officials are CYA’ing. Based on the information that I’ve seen, I put more credence on the security guards, but I understand that reasonable people can disagree on this.

• jddohio
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 11:58 PM | Permalink

Response to Steve Mc: I have made very clear that the dates of the statements made by McNally are very important to me. Your summary ignores the dates.

The quotes that support my statement was made on Jan. 18 & 21. The quote that supports your statement was made on 2/21.

The Jan. 18 statement:
“According to a report of the interview with McNally on the night of January 18, McNally told NFL Security representatives that he “decided to walk the balls out to the field,” and was “NOT CERTAIN WHY [HE] CHOSE TO GO OUT TO THE FIELD AT THIS TIME OR WITHOUT AN ESCORT.” [All caps by JD] McNally also told NFL Security during this interview that he walked directly to the field and that nothing unusual occurred during the walk from the locker room to the field.” [p.58]

********
Then 3 days later on Jan. 21: ” According to the interview report from an NFL Security interview of McNally on January 21, McNally said that he DID NOT KNOW WHY HE WOULD LEAVE THE LOCKER ROOM [upper case added by JD] with the game balls without being accompanied by game officials, and “just decided to leave the locker room at that time to go to the field.” (p. 59)

Then having had a month to think it over and talk with lawyers and Patriot officials he makes the statements you quote. “On February 12, 2015, we interviewed McNally on these topics as well. He explained to us that he told the game officials that he was moving the game balls to the sitting
room, where he watched the end of the NFC Championship Game for up to ten minutes. He estimated that there were twenty people in the sitting room at the time. According to McNally, when the NFC Championship Game ended shortly after the start of the overtime period, an unidentified NFL official said something like “we‟re back on again,” so he picked up the balls and began to walk out of the Officials Locker Room.”

Sorry but I am not much impressed by his 2/21 explanation which conflicts with his 2 earlier statements and which was made after he had a long time to talk to Patriot officials and lawyers and try to concoct a believable story. As I have said before, I believe McNally hours after he had gone on the field unaccompanied had to have known why he did. The fact that he claims not to know why is very damaging in my view.

JD

• jddohio
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 1:04 AM | Permalink

Another potential problem with the 1/18 statement by McNally is that it can be read as not revealing that he stopped in a bathroom on the way to the field. I hadn’t noticed this until Steve made me look at the quotes more closely. McNally stated: “that he walked directly to the field”, which can be interpreted as not involving a bathroom stop. I am bringing this up for further discussion and context because I haven’t had the chance to look more closely at the context and someone else may be more familiar than I.

JD

• mpainter'm
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 8:12 AM | Permalink

JD:

There is a lot of confusion on the requirement that the ball attendant (McNally) be escorted. In fact, there is no such requirement.

From the NFL protocol dealing with the football’s:

Rule 2: “….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”

It says nothing about escorting the ball attendant onto the playing field.

McNally’s inconsistencies are inconsequential and should not be magnified into a hangman’s noose.

To me the real issue is why Ted Wells would do this. He is an attorney and no doubt is familiar with the protocols.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

JD, what is your source for these quotes? The Wells Report doesn’t have them except as third or fourth hand, but you have them in quotation marks.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

mpainter:

Rule 2: “….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”

It says nothing about escorting the ball attendant onto the playing field.

Clearly the intent of Rule 2 is to prevent one of the teams from gaining a undue competitive advantage by modifying them after they’ve been tested:

If you argue that this rule is to be interpreted so as to allow the footballs to be delivered to the ball attendant so that he can disappear from sight and potentially modify the foot balls,then you are arguing for an interpretation that allows the home team to gain an undue competitive advantage here.

No football team is going to sign on to an interpretation that permits their competitor from gaining an undue advantage in away football games.

MikeN: These quotes have the quotation marks in the text too. See for example page 58.

• JD Ohio
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

MikeN: What is the source for these quotes.

The investigations. Do you think that the investigators talked to McNally and did nothing to document their talks? The Patriots attorneys in their annotation website don’t dispute that McNally made the statements as reported in the Wells Report. Attorneys were undoubtedly involved in this in the beginning and they all know that dicussions with witnesses have to be well documented. The questioners did not just ask the questions and do nothing to document the questions and answers.

That being said it would be much preferable to see transcripts of the interviews. In particular, I would like to see the precise question asked when McNally originally said he walked directly to the field.

JD

• MikeN
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

JD, I missed the quotes in the report, I see them now. They are no longer third or fourth hand, but second hand or third hand quotes since based on the ‘he’ I think we have to say that it is a summary of McNally’s answer by the investigators rather than a direct quote.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

Carrick, that’s not the only rule in the book. The teams are not allowed to tamper with the footballs.
The idea that this rule must cover every possibility is absurd. They might change the rule in light of events or issue a memo, but as written the rule does not cover that.

For example, based on what happened, we know that the referee wasn’t watching the footballs in the locker room either. Therefore McNally must have broken the rules by being in a position where he could take the footballs without the referee noticing, right?

• MikeN
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 10:19 PM | Permalink

For example, at halftime they let McNally again take the balls by himself unaccompanied. So I guess he is again in violation.
The referees didn’t seem to think much of it. However, they told the Pats official they had better not deflate the footballs again.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

MikeN, the rulebook doesn’t have to cover every possibility because people generally understand the intent.

I’d say the remedy when you have a team representative breaking rules is to ban them from participating, which is pretty much where McNally is (I’m pretty sure the suspension/ban came from the NFL rather than the Patriots), and fine the team for which they were a representative. In a sport like this, generally you can’t impair his motion, especially if you’re the NFL officiating crew, rather than the Patriots security personnel.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 11, 2015 at 7:10 AM | Permalink

The “intent” of the rule is irrelevant. How. the rule is enforced becomes the the way the rule perceived.. It’s obvious that this rule was lackadaisically enforced. Therefore it was understood to be not that important. So you ban somebody because now you arbitrarily decide to enforce a vaguely understood rule? Remember McNally thought he had permission to take the balls to the field…unsupervised…as he had done before. And as it says in the rule he can do. A rule becomes important to strictly enforce when it becomes news. So now this will be an important rule to enforce. Even though it’s obvious McNally did nothing else wrong ‘ It’s news . So now the “intent” will be scrutinized and the rule enforcement procedures analized. And McNally will be cleaning the bus treads off his jacket

• jddohio
Posted Jul 15, 2015 at 11:15 PM | Permalink

There has been enough time for everyone to review McNally’s first two statements (1/18 and 1/21) where he essentially stated that he did not know why he left the locker room without permission or an escort. On Feb. 12 he came up with a different explanation (sorry for earlier incorrect tranposition to 2/21)

Does anyone care to explain how McNally could TWICE close to the event claim he didn’t know why he went out to the field without permission or an escort, but would somehow remember on on a 2/12 third interview why he went out.

I see no reason to believe McNally’s third statement. I still find his first two statements incredible — he claims not to remember a simple detail that was very important to his work, within hours in one case (the 1/18 interview)after he performed his duties.

It is also interesting to note that in 2004 (p. 44) McNally escaped punishment for the introduction of practice balls into a game when he stated that he didn’t know how it occurred. The NFL stated that ““the Patriots have not provided a reasonable explanation for this incident.”

JD

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

JD,
Is there somewhere that you have seen the actual transcripts of the interviews? Because I haven’t. ..I’ve only seen a few paraphrased references to the conversations. It might be interesting to have some context…don’t you think? Even so the fact that he doesn’t give the answer you think would make sense might be a reflection on your assumptions. I have yet to see any provable lies in his statements.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

JD, we are not looking at direct quotes, or I think even statements taken directly from notes. My understanding is that the interview reports are summaries made from notes taken by the interragator(who writes the summary). This is what the FBI does, and one of the interrogators is a former FBI agent, and the other is a detective. Reading what’s in the Wells Report, the use of (he) suggests that it is not a direct quote from McNally.
What Chuck and I are suggesting is something like,
McNally feels he did nothing unusual.
Q:”Why did you go out to the field by yourself?”
Mc:huh?
Q:”Why didn’t you wait till you were instructed by Anderson?”
Mc: I’m not sure.
Also the Wells Report doesn’t say McNally said ‘I don’t know’ but rather ‘not certain’ is in quotes, which would again be from the summary written from notes.
I don’t know is from the second interview and not in quotes.

If he was being cagy about it, then your point is valid, but we don’t know that. Indeed, Wells reports this about Jastremski regarding the 50000 football, yet here nothing is said. I think it is more probable than not that a detective and an FBI agent would write if they thought defendant was being suspicious, and would be able to detect it in McNally.

• jddohio
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

Mike N ” My understanding is that the interview reports are summaries made from notes taken by the interragator(who writes the summary). This is what the FBI does, and one of the interrogators is a former FBI agent, and the other is a detective. Reading what’s in the Wells Report, the use of (he) suggests that it is not a direct quote from McNally.”

It is theoretically possible that the quotes provided are from summaries. However, it would be grossly negligent not to have an audio tape (or something similar from the interviews)to confirm the statements made. People routinely deny statements that others quote them as having made, so any modestly qualified investigator would avoid that problem. There is no point in having an investigation and quoting people if there is no way to confirm what statements were made. This is very well known in the legal profession.

At about the 8th annotation from the end the Patriot attorneys in the annotation report discuss permission to leave the dressing room and go to the locker room. (Note in my view the attorneys intentionally try to give the false impression that McNally got permission to go to the field in the passage when they talk about permission to go to the locker room but omit any discussion of permission to go to the field.) This is the only passage I saw that dealt with, to some minor extent, with what permission that McNally had to move the balls. In contrast to the text messages section, which is very detailed, this annotation section is very short. Also, it does not dispute in anyway (nor did any other portion of the report that I saw) the statements recorded in the investigation that McNally didn’t know why he went to the field when he did. The fact that the annotation went over the text messages very thoroughly, but essentially skipped over McNally’s original description of what happened strongly indicates that he was correctly quoted.

JD

• MikeN
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

Later in the Wells Report, they said that McNally in February denied making the statements attributed to him in January. If there were audio recordings, or even a transcript, that point would have been mentioned. Instead they referred to separate interviews with the interviewers who confirmed the accuracy.

I agree with you the Patriots are being misleading. Particularly, the Wells Report I think has McNally sitting right by the door to the hallway, while the Pats say none of the officials objected as he took this bag past them.
I still think McNally if he wanted to do something had better opportunity in the locker room, and that he is physically incapable of doing what they say he did.

• Posted Jul 16, 2015 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

JD, wellsreportcontext annotations are on the Executive Summary only, so if the executive summary doesn’t specifically address the statements recorded in the investigation, then the Patriots context doesn’t address it. They did explain McNally’s original description of what happened in at least 1 other place:

“With no notice to Patriots management, League security actually began investigating during the second half of the game when they began questioning Patriots ball boys. Consistent with that, Mr. McNally described the focus of his first interview as being on the role of ball boys. It was accurate for him to have stated that nothing unusual happened during the walk from the locker room to the field, since, as he later explained, his bathroom stop was nothing unusual. When later asked why he did not use the urinals in the Officials’ Locker Room or the chain gang room, he fully explained why — and his reasons are supported by the report’s conclusions about how crowded the Officials’ Locker Room area was (pgs. 54-55). One can draw no adverse inferences from an attendant deciding not to use the crowded facilities. If the investigators had found a single witness who had seen Mr. McNally routinely using the urinals in the Officials’ Locker Room prior to other games when the officials were doing their final pre-game preparations, they would have put that in the report. Similarly, no one instructed Mr. McNally not to use the bathroom he used, which is on his direct route from the Officials’ Locker Room to the field.”

Here’s another:

“What Mr. McNally actually described was exactly what the report stated happened before the AFC Championship Game — that he gets permission from the game officials to remove the footballs from where they reside in the dressing room of the Officials’ Locker Room. As the report acknowledges (pg. 55), Mr. McNally received precisely that permission: “Anderson also recalls that Mr. McNally, with Anderson’s permission, had moved the bags of footballs from the dressing room area towards the sitting room shortly after the officials returned from the player’s walk-through.” Thus, Mr. McNally had the referee’s permission to remove the footballs from the part of the dressing room where game officials congregate pre-game. He sat with the footballs in the sitting room and then, when the NFC Championship Game that everyone was watching in that sitting room ended, he took the footballs from the sitting room and out into the hallway in full view of numerous League and game officials. Even after halftime, when psi measurements had become an issue, Mr. McNally is seen on the security tape walking the footballs back to the field totally unaccompanied by any game or League official, but obviously with their full knowledge — even more than “general awareness” — that he was doing so. Again, no one told him to wait, to stop, or that he was doing anything wrong in taking the footballs from the Officials’ Locker Room to the field.”

I would ask you, If Anderson and other League Officials have never seen a ball attendant take the balls to the field unaccompanied in 19 years, AND they were all made aware of the accusations the Patriots may be tampering with footballs, can you explain why they would not find the “lost balls” re-test them, or use back up balls?

And after their panic pre-game, why would they again allow McNally to walk the balls out unattended at the end of half-time?

So it’s never happened in Anderson’s 19 years – it happens – the balls are measured at half time and because no one understands the ideal gas law it looks like there is clear evidence of tampering – annnndddddddd – Anderson lets McNally take the balls out to the field unaccompanied AGAIN. And neither says or does anything about it, AGAIN.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

I’ll restate my point. I see no exact quotes only the Wells report paraphrase and interpretation of the interviews. As Dave says it reads like a prosecutorial argument. JD…You may place some trust that these people were trying to be impartial but I can’t. I see to many red flags We’ve seen plenty of these cases of prosecutorial overreach in the news recently. And I realize that my views are now biased by my opinion of the report. The point is that absent a direct provable lie your perspective on the interviews can be dramatically different, , which is influenced by our assumptions and biases. The only facts and provable information we have is what Steve has presented.

• jddohio
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

Mike N “Later in the Wells Report, they said that McNally in February denied making the statements attributed to him in January.”

I never saw where McNally denied making the January statements. He just changed his story in February and came up with reasons he couldn’t state in January. If you can see where there is a place where McNally denied stating what was quoted for 1/18 & 1/19 please point it out. There is a big distinction here.

JD

• jddohio
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at 10:09 PM | Permalink

Chuck rrr “I’ll restate my point. I see no exact quotes only the Wells report paraphrase and interpretation of the interviews. As Dave says it reads like a prosecutorial argument. JD…You may place some trust that these people were trying to be impartial but I can’t.”

I don’t claim that the investigators are impartial, and if fact I don’t think they are impartial. I claim that in about 95% of the cases, they would realize that it is in their own best interest to be able to replicate what McNally said. Any competent investigator wouldn’t ask others to believe him, if he had a good way (audiotapes for instance) to back up his findings. Therefore, to help their clients investigators should have substantive ways of verifying their findings.

JD

• jddohio
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at 10:17 PM | Permalink

DaveM “I would ask you, If Anderson and other League Officials have never seen a ball attendant take the balls to the field unaccompanied in 19 years, AND they were all made aware of the accusations the Patriots may be tampering with footballs, can you explain why they would not find the “lost balls” re-test them, or use back up balls?

And after their panic pre-game, why would they again allow McNally to walk the balls out unattended at the end of half-time?

So it’s never happened in Anderson’s 19 years – it happens – the balls are measured at half time and because no one understands the ideal gas law it looks like there is clear evidence of tampering – annnndddddddd – Anderson lets McNally take the balls out to the field unaccompanied AGAIN. And neither says or does anything about it, AGAIN.”

Your basic issue is how did the officials screw up. In my view the answer is simple. They had the complex and very difficult job of refereeing a football game that would be seen in front of millions of people. That was their first priority. They were not trained to scientifically check the psi of footballs. They screwed up a reasonably complex matter that they didn’t do repeatedly in the midst of performing a very high pressure and complex job.

I would contrast that with McNally whose job could have been performed by a 14-year-old, and who couldn’t explain in January why he went out to the field without an escort or without gaining permission.

JD

• MikeN
Posted Jul 17, 2015 at 7:27 AM | Permalink

Page 96.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 17, 2015 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

Just as they had pressures pre-game and with overtime of the other game things became hectic. After the fact, they claim things differently.

I suspect if Wells had noticed and asked the referees about the halftime taking of the footballs, they would have said he’s not supposed to do that either.

• Posted Jul 17, 2015 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

JD “Your basic issue is how did the officials screw up. In my view the answer is simple. They had the complex and very difficult job of refereeing a football game that would be seen in front of millions of people. That was their first priority. They were not trained to scientifically check the psi of footballs. They screwed up a reasonably complex matter that they didn’t do repeatedly in the midst of performing a very high pressure and complex job.

I would contrast that with McNally whose job could have been performed by a 14-year-old, and who couldn’t explain in January why he went out to the field without an escort or without gaining permission.”

My point is not that the officials screwed up – I am saying their actions (or lack thereof) after they screwed up (when they discover the balls were walked to the field unattended) don’t square with how the wells report characterizes the situation.

I am trying to square who is more likely being truthful about whether McNally walking the balls to the field unattended was, 1. “never done before in 19 years” (Anderson and other refs Wells says he talked to), or 2. was done 50% of the time by McNally (McNally and 2 security personnel). Because I am saying that i believe walking unattended was normal for McNally, so when he’s initially being questioned about it, it’s insignificant to him, and his answers are given in that context.

The Wells report makes a big deal about how stressed out Anderson and Farley are about losing site of the balls. Wells also says he talked to numerous refs who had never seen this before, and Anderson has never seen it in his 19 years. The implication is that McNally was doing something nefarious by walking the balls unattended. Wells uses that, combined with him going into the bathroom to paint a picture that McNally was secretly carrying out a plan to deflate balls, as opposed to what McNally asserts – that he walks to the field unattended often, and uses the bathroom on the way at times. As hectic and complex as Anderson and Farley’s jobs may be, they had been alerted to be on the lookout for Pats ball tampering. If this was such a huge breach in protocol as Anderson, Farley and the Wells report asserts it is, then it’s inconceivable that they didn’t do something to correct this huge breach in protocol.

I am saying that Anderson’s/Wells assertions about balls never going to the field unattended don’t line up with Anderson’s/Farley’s actions after they discovered McNally walked the balls unattended, and therefore i don’t believe Anderson or the Wells report when they discount McNally’s assertion that he walks balls to the field unattended 50% of the time.

• Posted Jul 17, 2015 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

JD, “They were not trained to scientifically check the psi of footballs. They screwed up a reasonably complex matter that they didn’t do repeatedly in the midst of performing a very high pressure and complex job.”

I wouldn’t even say they screwed up, certainly not over checking psi of the footballs. I am saying that based on their testimony about McNally walking the balls unattended and how unprecedented it was, combined with them being alerted to be aware of tampering prior to the game, they should have taken corrective action based on their statements (they had never seen it happen before).

• JD Ohio
Posted Jul 18, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

MN Page 96

Your reference to p. 96 indicates that the NFL may not have adequately backed up the record of the January interviews. If that is the case, the NFL is so stupid that it deserves whatever it gets.

JD

• MikeN
Posted Jul 18, 2015 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

JD, They’ve adequately backed up the record, it is the record itself that is the problem.
My source is admittedly weak- a fiction book- but I was struck by how it matched the Wells Report, and I think may indeed be a common practice. The book was set in the past though.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 18, 2015 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

Rules out recording verbatim responses.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 18, 2015 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

The NFL is not getting anything, McNally is. Incidentally that was how the book described it with the FBI able to fabricate lying to law enforcement claims.

• Posted Jul 16, 2015 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

IMO the wells report reads like a prosecutorial advocacy paper, not an independent report, so I don’t concede that statements and descriptions of events in the report are fact. Much of it is written in a way that minimizes NFL issues, issues with the completeness of the evidence, and makes big, important inferences in ways that consistently don’t favor the Patriots. It reads like what a prosecutor might put together.

Re: McNally – His first interview was that night, 1/18 – He claims the focus was on the ball boys. His 2nd interview was 1/19. His 3rd interview was 1/21, where he claims investigators were demeaning, aggressive and accused him of lying. His 4th interview (the 1st with Wells) was in February.

Just because the explanations of things are odd or inconsistent in small details, doesn’t mean that they are lies IMO. The truth is often odd and people’s recollection of events that they thought were inconsequential at the time are usually not the Gods-eye truth IMO.

I believe the tone of the interviews changed during the 3rd interview, where it becomes clear to McNally that NFL thinks he tampered with footballs and that he is lying – so his answers in 1st and 2nd interview are in the context of him not being suspected of anything – and him trying to recollect events that were inconsequential to him at time they occurred vs. 3rd and 4th interview where he knows they think he’s lying.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 17, 2015 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

I think that’s what the investigators should do if they want to get to the truth.
For example, if they could convincingly say there is a security camera in the bathroom, we are getting the video now. One look at his face would have told them if he were innocent or guilty.

18. Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 6:32 PM | Permalink

JD, Agreed, if Wells interviewed all refs and all locker room attendants, then we would have a clear answer.

I think I’ve confused the issue – The first protocol is the referee gives his permission to take the balls from the officials locker room. I misunderstood the protocol to also say that the balls need to be walked to the field in the presence of an NFL official.

According to the wells report, the attendant EITHER needs permission OR needs to be accompanied to the field by an Official:

Here’s the quote: “No official could recall another time that McNally had removed game balls from the Officials
Locker Room and taken them to the field without either receiving permission from a game official or being accompanied by one or more game officials.”

Another quote from Anderson: “the footballs do not leave the locker room until the officials give express permission for them to
be brought to the field at or near the time the officials also walk to the field”

It doesn’t say they have to be brought to the field accompanied by an official.

So the actions that are in question that point to guilt is he left the room without express permission.

Walking the footballs to the field without an NFL official is fine, as long as you get permission from the ref in the Officials room.

19. Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

JD, I guess I’m disputing “the officials statements that the balls are to be taken to the field with officials present” I don’t read the wells report that way, as per my last post.

As further proof that my interpretation is correct – if this was the first time that any officials recall McNally walked the balls to the field without permission and without officials present, how was he deflating the balls in all of the Patriots other 8 home games of 2014?

Because if the deflator term in 1 text from May 2014 (offseason between 2013 and 2014 seasons) is referring to deflating footballs, then that means McNally was deflating footballs during the 2013 season and all of 2014 season.

As further anticdotal evidence against tampering:

If McNally was deflating balls for the entire 2014 season, how do you explain the texts in 2014 after the Jets game about the “refs F’d us, some of the balls are 16 psi”. You would think there’d be something in the texts about McNally f’ing up his deflating process. Not about the refs screwing them. And he didn’t deflate balls during the jets game if some were 16 psi.

That’s the thing – when you put all the “evidence” of guilt together, the information doesn’t make sense.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

The Wells Report said he could deflate in the locker room during other games.

• jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

D 1964 “If McNally was deflating balls for the entire 2014 season …” I am not claiming that and I don’t believe that the Wells report is necessarily claiming that. The point of bringing up the “deflator” issue and the texts surrounding it was to show that the issue of ball inflation was very important to Brady. If it was important to Brady, it would have to be important to McNally, which shows a motivation for deflating balls and at one point of time. If these texts weren’t hightlighted, people would be asking what was McNally’s motivation. All the league is trying to do is show one instance of “illegal” deflation.

JD

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

Do you have any evidence that Brady wanted the balls inflated below 12.5 psi? Anything? That would be motivation. The only motivation that I see is Brady didn’t want them inflated to 16 psi and preferred 12.5

• jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

chuck: “Do you have any evidence that Brady wanted the balls inflated below 12.5 psi? Anything? That would be motivation.”

He loved deflated balls. That is all I need to know. You may not agree. Just because someone is not caught specifically admitting something does not mean that it is unreasonable to reach a conclusion regarding prohibited behavior. Ftn. 15 of the report: “Brady made public statements concerning his preference for a “deflated” ball at least as early as 2011. Specifically, during a November 14, 2011 interview on Boston‟s WEEI radio, Brady praised Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski for powerfully spiking footballs after scoring touchdowns because of its impact on the ball.
Brady stated that “I love that, because I like the deflated ball.”

JD

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 10:30 PM | Permalink

Well all I can say to that is that the human mind is an amazing and terrifying thing.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 10:34 PM | Permalink

Oh…and your explanation is a good example of why you want to avoid the legal system

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 7:16 AM | Permalink

They have to be claiming that he did it before, if they are going to bring up a text from the previous season. Unless they are arguing in May they hatched a plan to inflate only in the AFC championship game.

• Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

JD, re: wells report claiming McNally was deflating balls in 2013 and 2014 seasons… I believe they do claim that. But I guess they aren’t necessarily claiming it was every game.

1. The wells report cites McNally calling himself “the deflator” in a May 9 2014 text as a key piece of evidence in proving that McNally had deflated footballs prior to the AFC game. Although this is the only time McNally calls himself the Deflator, wells references this nickname 16 times in the report to support their arguments. They clearly are claiming his calling himself the “deflator” in may 2014 is referring to illegally deflating footballs.

So if we are to accept the wells interpretation of this text (used in the offseason between the 2013 and 2014 seasons), i think you have to conclude than McNally was deflating footballs at some point before this text.

2. Additionally, they point to a series of texts after the Jets 2014 game as evidence that McNally was deflating (where McNally is mad at Brady and saying he’s going to deliver balloons the next game). Here they claim the texts show that McNally was going to deflate balls in the next 2014 home game, because they reference Jastremski saying he can’t wait to give McNally the big needle.

I’m not sure how to reconcile the fact that the balls after the Jets home game are at 16 psi – Is the wells report claiming that McNally didn’t deflate the balls before the jets game? They point to the texts after the jets game as proof that McNally is upset that Brady was upset about the balls being overinflated. – so Brady must have been upset that McNally and Jastremski didn’t deflate them?

3. They then reference a Nov 2014 text during halftime of an away game where McNally sees Jastremski on TV and texts – “delflate and give someone that jacket”. They claim this is in regards to deflating illegally.

So based on Wells interpretation of 1, 2 and 3, Wells is claiming McNally was deflating balls illegally sometime in 2013 and in some games during 2014. He is also claiming Jastremski was deflating balls at some point prior to the Nov 30th 2014 Away game.

20. MikeN
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 7:56 PM | Permalink

JD, you are emphasizing that McNally’s initial statement should be given more weight, and you discount his later statements. I’m curious, what is the later statement that McNally gave to explain his actions?

• jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

MikeN See D 1964 at 3:33 where he summarizes McNally’s later statements. Here is part of it: ” McNally claimed that his actions on the day of the AFC Championship Game were not unusual. In his account, the game balls remainin the locker room until he believes it is time to take them to the field. According to McNally, he brings the game balls to the fieldwhen he deems fit. He said that he generally asks permission or alerts the officials before he moves the game balls from the dressing room to the sitting room, but does not ask or alert them again before leaving the locker room and taking the balls to the field.”

JD

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

Tough to say without a transcript, but it feels like a different question is being answered. Not ‘why did you go by yourself’ but instead he is explaining what he didn’t do.

• Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 9:50 PM | Permalink

I see no issue with this statement. Am I to believe that a 300 pound man waddling past a room full of officially with two giant bags containing 24 footballs was missed by the referees? They saw this happenned and then found it so unusual they did nothing? He then went down the hallway by another official who found it so unusual he did nothing? Then after the big halftime measuring fiasco they were so concerned about this “unusual” behavior they finished measuring handed the balls to McNally where he again walked unaccompanied to th field past the officials.

It really isn’t difficult to see by the actions ON CAMERA that McNally is telling the truth about his routine, and the refs can’t even justify their own actions in that very game… Twice… On alert for anything unusual.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

My reading of the Wells Report is that McNally would have been very close to the door when he left the locker room.

21. jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

Also, those of you relying on the wellsreportcontext.com, should understand that it was apparently prepared by the Patriots attorney who has a duty to paint the facts in a manner designed to support the Patriots. http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/the-patriots-made-a-truther-website-about-the-wells-report/ar-BBjMQ3N?ocid=ansUSAsports11

I say apparently because I can’t find the article’s reference to an annotation by the Patriots attorney Goldberg. As it stands now, I don’t see the source of who is responsible for the website. Maybe others can find it. I believe that if the site is to be credible, its authorship should be disclosed and there is a very good chance the site was created by the Patriots attorney.

JD

Steve: JD, you’re being uncharacteristically inaccurate in this discussion. The website http://wellsreportcontext.com/ explicitly identified Daniel Goldberg, attorney for the Patriots as author in the second paragraph of its home page as follows:

These points, and others, are addressed in greater detail in the following Annotations to the Executive Summary of the Wells Report by Daniel L. Goldberg, a senior partner in the Boston office of Morgan Lewis and who represented the Patriots and was present during all of the interviews of Patriots personnel conducted at Gillette Stadium. Our intention is to provide additional context for balance and consideration.

In contrast, Exponent’s report did not identify any of the authors.

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 11:14 PM | Permalink

Are you assuming the Wells Report is an impartial unbiased independent study of the events?

• jddohio
Posted Jul 8, 2015 at 11:27 PM | Permalink

No, I believe it is also biased. Personally, I give little credence to either report per se. It is the events revealed in the reports that matter to me. I have repeated them multiple times and will not repeat again what I have considered to be important.

JD

• jddohio
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 12:02 AM | Permalink

Steve: “JD, you’re being uncharacteristically inaccurate in this discussion.” Thanks for pointing out my error. It is late at night and I missed it. I was looking for annotations at the top or bottom of the page where attorneys would typically put them.

JD

22. MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

The Wells Report does not declare that Jastremski appeared evasive or dishonest when answering questions about deflation. They only say it with regards to a 50,000 yard football that Tom Brady signed. Jastremski has either lied to his family members about this, or has secretly taken a football that he should not have with the Hall of Fame having the wrong ball. So there is evidence that the Wells investigative team were able to detect lies told by Jastremski, yet they did not detect anything with regards to deflation. Wells Report chose not to emphasize this lack of evasive tells in their analysis.

23. MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 7:59 AM | Permalink

Veteran FBI agent and detective interviewed McNally the night of the game, and no mention is made that they detected any dishonesty or evasiveness on the part of McNally in the Wells Report, only that McNally later denied the statements attributed to him and what was discussed in the interview.

24. Jon P
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

JD,

Why did Wells not take Anderson at his word for which gauge he used to measure the footballs pre-game?

Also, are you related to Nick Stokes?

• MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

Not fair. JD’s been quite reasonable though late to the thread.

• Jon P
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

Meant it in a light hearted way.

25. MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

How does the Master Gauge work?
There are four conversions given,
Logo 11.49 -> 11.21 and 12.74-> 12.40
Non-Logo 11.11 ->11.09 and 12.33->12.29

26. MikeN
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 8:21 AM | Permalink

Exponent had some people repeat the process of deflation into a bathroom. None of the three experimenters managed to deflate by less than .6 psi for a single football.

They also neglected to include a second bag of footballs in their experiment, but since all of them got it done in 70 seconds, this is not an issue.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

You can adjust how much it’s deflated by, by using different gauges of the needle, as well as by how long you let it deflate.

• Carrick
Posted Jul 9, 2015 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

This is also why the discussion of different needle sizes between Jastremski and McNally is so interesting.

27. MikeN
Posted Jul 10, 2015 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

So is the Exponent analysis and the text messages analogous to Tiljander and bristlecones?

28. joe
Posted Jul 12, 2015 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

Question?

What is the natural rate of deflation of a football that is idle?
What is the natural rate of deflation of a football used during a game?

I dont recall any comment in the wells report as to the natural rate of deflation.
As a point of reference, my bicycle tires will be inflated to 115psi before the start of every ride, 24 hours later, the typical pressure will be in the range of 95psi-100psi – effectively a 12-17% drop in psi over a 24 hour period. Assuming the rate of deflation of a football is comparable to my bicycle tires, then approx 0.12psi-0.2psi drop would be expected over the 3.0 hours (1.5 hours before the start of the game through halftime plus the 1.5 hours before game time at initial inflation of the balls)

• Jeff Westcott
Posted Jul 15, 2015 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

The rubber bladder in a football is substantially thicker than your presta valve inner tube, and the starting pressure in your tire is an order of magnitude greater than the starting pressure in the ball. The tire leaks fast through the tube itself as the mechanical valve is very tight. The ball leaks primarily through the valve that is a rubber seal that can leak faster as there is less and less pressure creating the seal. Two very different arrangements.

• joe
Posted Jul 15, 2015 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

Jeff – I agree that the two are different – (bicycle tire v football). I would also note that the bicycle tire during a ride receives substantially more stress, but also has more heat build up during the ride with offsets the lost air during the ride so that the difference in PSI before and after the ride is very small. Most of the lost PSI starts after the ride.

My main point – is that there is a natural rate of deflation which may in fact be negligible, but the Wells report did not appear to address the issue and appears to have operated on the assumption that the rate was zero.

29. chuckrr
Posted Jul 12, 2015 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

Spalding says their basketballs loose half the air pressure at a constant rate over the course of a year. So probably about .002 lbs for 3 hours. But I doubt anyone has actually checked

• chuckrr
Posted Jul 12, 2015 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

lose not loose….anyway I don’t think it’s anything significant. I will say that basketballs even at 50 F are deflated very noticeably and it seems like we would have to put air more in the winter. So they may lose air more when they are more deflated. I know that doesn’t seem logical.

30. rogerknights
Posted Jul 13, 2015 at 8:30 PM | Permalink

The Patriots have had about 33% fewer fumbles than other teams over the past dozen years, I’ve read. And fewer dropped passes.

It makes for a better game when there are fewer of those. The outcome is less unfair. And there are fewer “goats.”

And it makes for a less violent game, because it’s less likely that a vicious tackle will dislodge a ball, so there is less incentive to do so. Therefore, it makes for fewer injuries.

Therefore football’s officialdom, at all levels, should decrease the PSI standard by 10%.

31. Posted Jul 14, 2015 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

rogerknights, the info you read about pats fumbling 33% less than other teams has been debunked – that study excluded dome teams and included kick returns (where they use a standard kicking ball). Studies that look at the right statistics show the pats have been consistently at the top of the list on fewest fumbles, along with a few other teams. QB’s account for a significant portion of fumbles (holding on to the ball too long instead of throwing it away when no one is open, scrambling/running, etc.). Teams with qb’s who get rid of the ball quickly are at the top – peyton manning’s teams, brady, brees for NO and Ryan for Atl.

Here’s one analysis – http://www.backpicks.com/2015/05/17/fumbling-statistics-and-patriot-trends/

32. Posted Jul 16, 2015 at 6:53 PM | Permalink

Has anyone seen the argument that the logo gauge had to be used for pats pre-game check because:

1. Pats gauge was used by Pats to set balls at 12.6. 2. Anderson gauged Pats balls at 12.5. Therefore pats gauge and Anderson’s gauge must be calibrated the same.

2. Pats gauge was used to measure the ball the colts intercepted in 1st half – the avg. of the 3 separate readings taken was 11.52, and the 11.52 avg. matches the average of the half time logo readings (avg of logo half time readings = 11.49)

Or conversely, If non-logo gauge was used pre-game, then the intercepted ball measured with pats gauge should match the non-logo half time readings. non-logo avg readings were 11.11.

Here is the detail from Wells report:

From page 70: “The pressure of the Patriots ball that had been intercepted by the Colts was separately tested three times and the measurements—11.45, 11.35 and 11.75 psi, respectively– were written on athletic tape that had been placed on the ball for identification.”

Footnote from page 65. “The ball from the D’Qwell Jackson interception was tested by a gauge that Wells believes was the Patriots’ regular gauge”

Am I missing something here? Anderson’s pre-game gauge readings matches pats gauge readings, pats gauge reads intercepted ball at avg. of 11.52, logo half time readings avg. 11.49. Therefore Anderson used logo gauge pre-game.

If logo gauge was used pre-game, then pats balls show no evidence of tampering.

• MikeN
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

If the measurements of the intercepted ball had been considered, the entire Exponent work would have needed to be thrown out due to margin of error.

33. MikeN
Posted Jul 18, 2015 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

Another argument I’ve seen is that the act of adding air to the football would increase the inside temperature of the football. Anderson inflated two footballs pregame. If they started at 12.0, then there would be a 1.5C increase in temperature. If you take out the two low numbers, you get an average of 11.22 instead of 11.11.