The NFL will consider discipline for the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady after an investigation spearheaded by Ted Wells reported Wednesday that all 11 Patriots footballs measured from the AFC Championship tested below the minimum pressure level of 12.5 pounds per square inch allowed by Rule 2 of the Official Playing Rules on both of two air pressure gauges used to test the balls.
The four Colts balls tested each measured within the 12.5 to 13.5 psi range permitted under the playing rules on at least one of the gauges used for the tests.
The report indicates there was no wrongdoing or knowledge of the underinflated balls by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick or owner Robert Kraft. It didn’t, however, clear quarterback Tom Brady in the report, saying that it is “more probable than not” that Brady “was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” of Patriots locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski.
Communications between Brady and Jastremski offered further evidence of Brady’s knowledge. In addition to text messages sent between them, the report says they hadn’t communicated by telephone or text for more than six months, but they spoke twice on Jan. 19 for more than 25 minutes, twice on Jan. 20 for almost 10 minutes, and twice on Jan. 21 for almost 21 minutes after the so-called “Deflategate” from the AFC Championship Game went public.
In addition, the report included texts exchanged between Jastremski and McNally, and then Brady and Jastremski, during the regular season and postseason. On Oct. 17, following a Thursday night game between the Patriots and New York Jets, Jastremski and McNally had the following exchange:
McNally: “Tom sucks … im going to make that next ball a (expletive) balloon.”
Jastremski: “Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done.”
Jastremski: “I told him it was. He was right though.”
Jastremski: “I checked some of the balls this morn … The refs (expletive) us … a few of then (syc) were almost 16”
After news of the investigation surfaced, the report listed a text exchange between Brady and Jastremski that took place on Jan. 19, the day after the AFC Championship when Patriots personnel learned of the investigation.
Brady: “You good Jonny boy?”, “You doing good?”
Jastremski: “Still nervous, so far so good though.”
Brady: “FYI … Dave (Schoenfeld, Patriots head equipment manager) will be picking your brain later about it. He’s not accusing me, or anyone … trying to get to the bottom of it. He knows it’s unrealistic you did it yourself.”
In releasing the 138-page report, the NFL said it would consider discipline.
“As with other recent matters involving violations of competitive rules, (NFL vice president) Troy Vincent and his team will consider what steps to take in light of the report, both with respect to possible disciplinary action and to any changes in protocols that are necessary to avoid future incidents of this type,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “At the same time, we will continue our efforts vigorously to protect the integrity of the game and promote fair play at all times.”
The report also indicated there was no “deliberate attempt” by the Patriots to introduce the wrong ball in the kicking game.
As for the other game balls used, the report stated that a drop in pressure is expected in the colder temperatures that were present in the AFC Championship Game, but that the balls the Patriots supplied “exhibited a greater average pressure drop than did the Colts game balls.”
“This difference in the magnitude of the decrease in average pressure between the Patriots and the Colts footballs, as measured at halftime, was determined to be statistically significant, regardless of which gauges were used pre-game and at halftime,” the reported stated. “Therefore, the reasons for this difference were an appropriate subject for further investigation.”
The investigators used test runs to determine if it was possible for someone to slip into a private room, as the Patroits personnel were accused of doing, and deflate 13 balls in the time period allotted.
“With minimal training (a single practice run), it is possible for an individual using a standard sports ball inflation needle to perform the following in approximately 60-70 seconds: open a door and enter a room, close the door, open a zippered bag containing 13 footballs, insert the needle into all Theodore V. Wells, Jr., Esq. May 6, 2015 Page 4 footballs releasing a small amount of air from each, close and zipper the bag containing the footballs, and leave the room through the door, closing the door behind.”
After the Wells report was released by the NFL on Wednesday, Las Vegas bookmaker Bovado.lv took the odds of the Patriots winning the Super Bowl, AFC and AFC East division off the board. They had been third on the list to win the Super Bowl earlier this week.
“Considering they were the third highest favorite to win the Super Bowl, the co-favorite for the AFC Conference, and an overwhelming favorite to win the AFC East, we are taking them down until we hear the official word on if Tom Brady gets suspended,” said Kevin Bradley, Sportsbook manager for Bovada. “If Brady does get suspended, it will have a huge impact on all of these odds”
Report: Brady had knowledge of Deflategate
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