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Patriots issue response to Ted Wells Report

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Three days after the NFL suspended Tom Brady four games to start the NFL season, the Patriots have issued a rebuttal of sorts.

The team sent out a link to WellsReportContext.com, a site which exhaustively attempts to point out inconsistencies in Ted Wells' 243 pages of findings on Brady and the use of under-inflated footballs. The Wells Report concluded it was "more probable than not" that Brady was "at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities" regarding the deflation of Patriots game balls used in the AFC Championship Game against the Colts.

The report came out on the same day that Tom Brady officially filed an appeal for his suspension. The website, released Thursday by the Patriots, has nearly 20,000 words of rebuttal. 

"The conclusions of the Wells Report are, at best, incomplete, incorrect and lack context," the introduction to the website reads. "The Report dismisses the scientific explanation for the natural loss of psi of the Patriots footballs by inexplicably rejecting the Referee's recollection of what gauge he used in his pregame inspection. Texts acknowledged to be attempts at humor and exaggeration are nevertheless interpreted as a plot to improperly deflate footballs, even though none of them refer to any such plot.

"There is no evidence that Tom Brady preferred footballs that were lower than 12.5 psi and no evidence anyone even thought that he did. All the extensive evidence which contradicts how the texts are interpreted by the investigators is simply dismissed as 'not plausible.' Inconsistencies in logic and evidence are ignored."

The website also includes a supporting document from Nobel Laureate Roderick MacKinnon addressing the Wells Report's scientific conclusions. MacKinnon writes that "The Wells Report conclusion that physical law cannot explain the pressures is incorrect. ... I believe the data available on ball pressures can be explained on the basis of physical law, without manipulation."

More of the "highlights" of the response are below. Brady officially appealed his suspension on Thursday. 

» The context focuses on the different gauges used to measure both the Colts' and Patriots' footballs. It gets very deep into the "Ideal Gas Law" but summarizes it's conclusions as such:

"Relying on Mr. Anderson's (NFL official Walt Anderson) best recollections, basic science fully explains the drop in PSI of the Patriots Footballs during the first half ... With the Logo gauge, 8 of the 11 Patriots footballs are in the Ideal Gas Law range and the average of all 11 Patriots footballs was 11.49 -- fully consistent with the Ideal Gas Law's prediction of exactly what that psi would be."

NFL suspends Tom Brady


NFL suspends Tom Brady four games

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» The Patriots' lawyers point out some of ESPN's January reporting that has now been been proven to be incorrect.

"The January 18 letter to the Patriots also contained two significant misstatements that set a tone for this investigation and were an apparent source of media misreporting: 1) that one of the Patriots footballs was measured at 10.1 psi at halftime, an obvious misstatement; 2) that all of the Colts footballs measured within regulation -- another misstatement. The League never corrected this notice in any respect. Why was the League content to have the Patriots dealing with this investigation for months based on inaccurate information?

»  "If receiving an autograph from Mr. Brady is evidence that you are being rewarded by him for nefarious conduct, then hundreds or even thousands of people must be part of a scheme of wrongdoing. What is not disputed is that Mr. Brady, other than signing three items that Mr. McNally handed to him, has never gifted anything to Mr. McNally. That fact cuts against the existence of the scheme the report hypothesizes. As to gifts to Mr. Jastremski, as Mr. Brady explained, Mr. Jastremski is one of about 15 non-player personnel to whom he annually gives

» The lawyers pick on the phrase that Brady was "generally aware" of wrongdoing.

"The phrasing of this conclusion reflects what a reach it was. Unable to conclude that Mr. Brady had knowledge of, let alone directed, any improper activities, the best the report comes up with is the phrase 'generally aware.' As noted above, there is simply no evidentiary basis for this conclusion, let alone for the conclusion that there were any underlying inappropriate activities. The texts that form the heart of this report show two persons with quite uninhibited texting history -- and yet NOT A SINGLE TEXT REFERS TO DEFLATING FOOTBALLS TO A LEVEL BELOW REGULATION, TO DEFLATING FOOTBALLS AFTER THE REFEREE’S INSPECTION, OR TO ANY DIRECTIONS FROM MR. BRADY -- OR EVEN ANY BELIEF THAT TOM BRADY WOULD PREFER TO USE BELOW REGULATION FOOTBALLS."

» The Patriots' response questions Anderson's culpability in supervising the footballs.

"Nowhere in the report, however, is there any discussion about whether the referee or other League officials failed to properly maintain this supervision, which one would have expected to have been particularly vigilant in the wake of the Colts expressed concerns. The report acknowledges that game officials specifically allowed Mr. McNally to take the game footballs from the dressing room of the Officials' Locker Room (where the referee was) into the separate sitting room.

» One of the more curious parts of the report:

"The report does not address whether one minute and 40 is consistent with the time that it takes a gentleman to enter a bathroom, relieve himself, wash his hands, and leave. In fact, it is. Nor does the report consider or acknowledge that, with the start of the game having been delayed, there was no reason for Mr. McNally to rush any efforts to deflate footballs in the bathroom if that was the task at hand. Mr. McNally had already been told that the start of the game had been delayed (from 6:40 to 6:50). He entered the bathroom with almost 20 minutes until game time.

"There was simply no need to rush were he engaged in releasing air from footballs -- a process one would suspect would have to be done very carefully so as not to release too much air from any football. The one minute and 40 seconds in the bathroom was far more likely to have been for exactly the reason Mr. McNally gave."

» On the texts between the Patriots attendants: "Perhaps most revealing, then, is that not a single text states that: (i) Brady wanted footballs set below 12.5 psi; (ii) there was a plan to deflate footballs after the referee inspected them; or (iii) there was any actual such deflation. Nonetheless, the report assumes that every text reference to inflation or deflation of footballs suggests there was a plot to improperly deflate footballs after the referee's inspection. In reality, there is simply no basis to assume that conclusion."

"First, the report ignores the information the investigators gathered that Mr. Jastremski's duties in football preparation in fact routinely involve deflating every football at least twice. Every team in the League has developed a standard operating procedure for the preparation of new footballs for game play. The Patriots standard procedures are described in part on pgs. 37-40. Omitted from that description, but as Mr. Jastremski explained, is that the very first thing he routinely does when he opens a new box of Wilson footballs is to take a bit of air out of them. That makes them easier to prepare. The second time he takes air out of footballs is when he sets them for Mr. Brady's pre-game review and selection."

» "No evidence exists that Mr. Brady wanted footballs below 12.5 psi -- and the investigators were told quite clearly that footballs that are too soft do not roll off his hands as desired. Nonetheless, they assumed Mr. Brady actually wanted footballs to be below 12.5, that Mr. Jastremski and Mr. McNally knew that, and that they went through an elaborate plan all designed to remove about .5 psi beyond what weather would do naturally."

» The report makes the case that the Patriots having the ball so much more often than the opposing team naturally is a reason the ball pressure dropped in cold conditions during the first half.

» Patriots counsel also requested from the outset that they be provided with the actual halftime psi measurements. That information was not provided until March 23, over two months into the investigation. It was provided then only on the condition that it not be disclosed and, particularly, that it not be disclosed to the media until the final report was issued.

Click here to see a timeline of the events surrounding Tom Brady's suspension.

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