Rapid Reaction: Deflategate

Photo Credit: citizen.co.za

Photo Credit: citizen.co.za

The National Football League (NFL) has formally, and publicly, announced the release of Ted Well’s report. Wells has been working on a report, that totals in 243 pages, that includes numerous text exchanges, football psi levels, and multiple interviews with members of the Patriots organization, in regards to the infamous deflate gate. The report took close to four months to be released to the organization and the public.

The suspicion was brought to light to the general public during the AFC Championship game; the Patriots hosted the Indianapolis Colts to decide who would be making the trip to Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX. During the game, quarterback Tom Brady had thrown an interception to linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. Following the interception, Jackson had taken the ball to a sideline attendant; this is where the suspicion was raised.

Shortly following the victory the Patriots had accounted for, beating the Colts 45-7, news broke claiming that the Patriots had been playing with under-inflated footballs. The main concern that this incident provokes is, did the Patriots gain an unfair advantage over other teams in the league, and, did the Patriots bend, or break, any rules.

According to Well’s report, eleven on the twelve Patriots’ footballs were under-inflated. In addition, the report suggested wrongdoing by two attendants in Patriots organization.

“In particular, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee.”

The evidence that back up the justification is mainly text exchanges between Jastremski and McNally. Of those text exchanges, many implied the inflation and deflation of footballs, exchanging of merchandise, and one, McNally, going by the name of ‘deflator’.

On page 20 of Well’s report, Wells suggest that Brady had a general awareness of the wrongdoing.

“In sum, with respect to all of our conclusions regarding the Patriots, McNally, Jastremski and Brady, we believe that the totality of the evidence, including the text communications, McNally‟s breach of pre-game procedure, McNally‟s disappearance into a locked bathroom with the game balls for a period of time sufficient to deflate the Patriots game balls using a needle, the post-game communications between Jastremski and McNally, the increase in the frequency of text and telephone communications between Jastremski and Brady post-game, the halftime data showing a larger reduction in air pressure in the Patriots balls as compared to the Colts game balls, which our scientific consultants inform us is statistically significant, together with other facts developed during the investigation and set forth in this Report support our conclusions.”

The report also suggests that head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft were unaware of the ongoing crisis.

For what it’s worth, Kraft has voiced his opinion on the matter. Kraft went on to say that the investigation did not supply any hard evidence and was, overall, disappointed in the outcome.

There are three individuals who are subject to discipline. Of those they are are Brady, McNally, and Jastremski. Whether or not the Patriots organization, as a collective whole, will receive discipline would be for the NFL to interpret.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter had stated, from his sources, that a discipline could be days away. NFL commissioner has stated that he will leave VP of Football Operations Troy Vincent in charge of any disciplinary actions.

The question remains as to what extent with the punishment be in terms of severity? Could we see a fine, or perhaps could we witness NFL icon Brady watching the season opener rather than playing in it?