Monday, May 11, 2015

When Tom Brady's punishment for DeflateGate was announced, I laughed hysterically

My friend Mike called me at 5:39 p.m. and asked me "What the hell is going on in this world?" It took me a few seconds to realize he was talking about DeflateGate. Then he told me the punishment the NFL announced it would levy on Tom Brady and the Patriots:

A 4 game suspension

A $1 million fine

A 1st round pick in 2016 and a 4th rounder in 2017

Upon hearing this news, I laughed. Hysterically. This is one of the silliest things I've ever heard.

The 4th round pick is the cherry on top. I can imagine Roger Goodell and NFL execs discussing the punishment in a board room somewhere. "Okay, so we have a suspension for a quarter of the season, a million dollar fine, and a first round pick... Still seems a little light... How 'bout we toss a 4th round pick on top? There we go. That works."

I honestly can't get outraged over this. Not yet. Maybe I will when the season starts and the Steelers are able to get a BS win because they're going against Jimmy Garoppolo. Maybe I'll be angry if the Pats miss out on the playoffs or a bye because of a loss in those 4 games. We'll see. Then again, if the Pats go 4-0 during this suspension, I'll laugh even harder.

But I can't be upset right now. It's too ludicrous. I can't get upset at something that I don't take seriously. And I don't take this seriously. I don't take the NFL seriously, don't take the Wells Report seriously, don't take Goodell seriously. What's even funnier is that they take themselves seriously. But it's a joke. I tend to laugh at jokes.

The lack of proven connection to Brady, the inconsistencies and questions that the Wells Report didn't address, the fact that the same report disagreed with referee Walt Anderson about which pressure gauge he used, so on and so on. I can't marry the flimsiness of the evidence with the brutality of the punishments.

And ultimately, the Patriots are 4 time Super Champions. Even with this suspension they're still contenders for another title. It's a harsh punishment, but the lasting effect might not be as painful as it seems. It's a silly punishment, but these are silly people, playing God in their silly world.

And the final punchline of this joke: Tom Brady's first game back would be against the Colts in Indy. Think he'll be pumped for that?

Wells Report calls NFL referee Walt Anderson a liar

The Wells Report refutes NFL referee Walt Anderson's recollection of which air pressure gauge he used pre-game to check the Patriots' footballs. And that refutation is based on scientific experiments, which were based on Anderson's recollection of the pre-game air pressures of the Patriots' and Colts' footballs.

So Anderson's memory of which gauge he used is "probably" wrong, based on Anderson's memory of something else. So his memory is unreliable, based on how reliable his memory is.

That's odd, isn't it?

It's true that I'm a Patriots fan. But if you're one of those who think I'm just being a homer, and who think that the Patriots clearly cheated, then you should be able to spare a few brief moments to ponder the argument I'm about to make. If you can't read with an open mind the argument of a humble amateur blogger such as myself, then your convictions must be quite flimsy.

Here are the facts around the Wells Report refuting Walt Anderson's memory.

-Referee Walt Anderson brings 2 pressure gauges to games with him. He used one to check the Patriots' footballs pre-game, and those that were under 12.5 psi, he inflated until they were. He later recalled that the pressure gauge he used had a Wilson logo, and a long, crooked needle. The other gauge he had with him did not have a logo, and had a shorter,straighter needle.

-At halftime, those two gauges were each used to measure the air pressure in the Patriots' footballs. Each ball was measured by both gauges.

-The gauge with the Wilson logo consistently gave higher measurements than the non-logo gauge (0.3-0.45 psi higher). According to the Wilson gauge, 8 of the 11 Patriots' footballs tested had pressures consistent with the Ideal Gas Law (at least 11.32 psi) we've heard so much about, meaning they could have started the game at 12.5, and the decrease in pressure at halftime was due to the laws pf physics, not some dude in a bathroom.

In conclusion, Anderson says he used the Wilson gauge pre-game to measure the footballs, ensuring each was at 12.5 psi or more. At halftime, in 8 of 11 balls, that same gauge showed a loss in pressure consistent with what the Ideal Gas Law would allow for had the balls been at 12.5 psi at kickoff.

In other words, the circumstances around the circumstantial evidence that the Wells Report relies on, don't support the conclusions that the report reaches. Anderson, who is paid by the NFL to do things like test the air pressure of footballs, says he believes he used a pressure gauge with a Wilson logo, and a long, crooked needle. He wasn't certain, but he believes that was the gauge he used.

However, according to Ted Wells, who wasn't in the officials' locker room testing footballs, who wasn't paid by the NFL to do things like test footballs, concludes that Anderson is "more likely than not," wrong about which gauge he used.

Isn't that odd?

It takes Wells 60 pages to explain why he believes Anderson "probably" didn't use the gauge he remembers using. The circular logic behind the explanation is that Exponent did experiments trying to figure out why the Patriots' balls deflated so much more than the Colt's balls did from pre-game to halftime.

However, the amount of deflation from pre-game to halftime is based on Anderson's recollection of what the approximate air pressures were pre-game. Anderson remembers the Colts' footballs being in the neighborhood of 13.0 psi. That's his memory of a dozen footballs. And that's the basis for the Exponent experiments' determination of how much pressure the Colts' footballs lost (even though only 4 balls were tested).

In other words, the Wells Report says Anderson's memory is wrong, and the proof of that is an experiment based on something else he remembered.

Does that make sense?

Facts, truth, and logic are the enemies of the monster the DeflateGate story has become. Don't forget, this story all started with a now proven false leak to ESPN about 10 of 12 Patriots footballs being more than 2 psi lower than the legal limit. By the time that was shown to be false, the genie was out of the bottle, and the story had a life of its own.

Did the Wells Report try to find truth, or did it try to find guilt?

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