Sports

Key takeaways from Wells Report on Deflategate

Here’s a review of some of the key takeaways from the Wells Report on Deflategate:

Who was implicated

■ The report found that Jim McNally, an officials locker room attendant for the Patriots, and John Jastremski, an assistant equipment manager for the Patriots, “participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee.”

■ Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was found to be “at least generally aware” of what was going on.

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■ Coach Bill Belichick, the rest of the coaching staff, equipment manager Dave Schoenfeld, and Patriots ownership were cleared.

Background

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McNally told referee Walt Anderson during pregame inspection that Brady wanted the Patriots’ footballs inflated to 12.5 PSI. The Colts’ preference was 13.0. Two of the Patriots’ footballs measured below the league minimum during pregame inspection and had to be inflated to 12.5. No changes were made to the Colts’ footballs.

■ Anderson couldn’t find the footballs when he exited the officials locker room before the game. Evidence and security camera footage show McNally, without permission, had taken the two bags of game footballs from the officials locker room into a bathroom at 6:30 p.m. He was in the bathroom for 1 minutes 40 seconds.

■ Alberto Riveron, a senior NFL officiating supervisor, oversaw the halftime measurement of 11 Patriots footballs and four Colts footballs after the Indianapolis equipment manager raised concerns during the second quarter. Two alternate game officials, Clete Blakeman and Dyrol Prioleau, each tested all 15 footballs. All 11 of the Patriots’ footballs measured under the league-mandated 12.5 PSI on both gauges.

Halftime measurements of 11 New England footballs.
Patriots ball Gauge 1 measurement Gauge 2 measurement
1 11.50 11.80
2 10.85 11.20
3 11.15 11.50
4 10.70 11.00
5 11.10 11.45
6 11.60 11.95
7 11.85 12.30
8 11.10 11.55
9 10.95 11.35
10 10.50 10.90
11 10.90 11.35
Source: Wells Report

All four of the Colts’ footballs measured at least 12.5 PSI on one of the two gauges, except the final football on the final gauge, which measured at 12.15 PSI. It had measured at 12.55 on the first gauge.

Halftime measurements of Indianpolis footballs.
Colts ball Gauge 1 measurement Gauge 2 measurement
1 12.70 12.35
2 12.75 12.30
3 12.50 12.95
4 12.55 12.15
Source: Wells Report

The science

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■ Investigators hired Exponent, a scientific and engineering consulting firm, and Dr. Daniel R. Marlow, a physics professor at Princeton University, to spearhead the scientific aspects of the case.

■ Exponent found that the loss of air pressure in the Patriots’ footballs could not be explained by any “environmental or physical factors.” The firm accounted for temperature, weather conditions, football actions, functionality, and reliability of the gauges used, and human error.

None of the tests, according to the report, could account for such a “statistically significant” loss of air pressure, which was on average 0.45 to 1.02 less than the Colts’ footballs at halftime.

“This absence of a credible scientific explanation for the Patriots’ halftime measurements tends to support a finding that human intervention may account for the additional loss of pressure exhibited by the Patriots balls,” the report reads.

■ The firm found that a needle can be inserted to release air from 13 footballs in “well under one minute and forty seconds,” the time the report states McNally spent in the bathroom with the footballs after taking them from the officials locker room before the game. Exponent, however, didn’t definitively conclude “there was or was not tampering” based solely on its timing simulations. “The analysis of such data is ultimately dependent upon assumptions and information that is uncertain,” the report reads.

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Exponent created the same game-day conditions that existed on Jan. 18 and ran experiments to try to achieve the same loss of pressure as the Patriots footballs. It didn’t happen. “Exponent concluded that the average pressures recorded for the Patriots game balls during halftime of the AFC Championship Game were lower than the lowest average pressures attained by the simulations,” the report reads.

The aftermath

■ Brady, who voluntarily spoke with investigators, denied any involvement and denied even knowing McNally’s name, his job title, or his pregame responsibilities. Jastremski disputed that, saying Brady in fact knew McNally and his role.

■ Brady refused to make his phone records, text messages, emails, or any other documents available for the investigation.

■ Jastremski’s phone records and text messages show that Brady spoke with Jastremski by phone six times in the three days following the AFC Championship after the two had not communicated for six months. The calls totaled about 55 minutes. Brady also checked in on him via text, “seemingly designed to calm Jastremski,” according to the report. Two of them read: “You good Jonny boy?” and “You doing good?”

■ Jastremski warned Brady that Schoenfeld, the team’s equipment manager would be “picking your brain later about it. He’s not accusing me, or anyone….trying to get to bottom of it. He knows it’s unrealistic you did it yourself …”

■ The reports cites text messages between McNally and Jastremski, and communication between Brady and Jastremski as the circumstantial lynchpins.

Who was interviewed

■ Sixty-six people were interviewed by investigators. McNally was interviewed once. The Patriots refused to make him available for a follow-up. Jastremski was interviewed along with 15 others associated with the Patriots.

■ Twenty-four officials, five ball boys, and two represenatives from Wilson Sporting Goods were also interviewed.

■ Notable: Brady, Belichick, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg, Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees.

Wells Report interviewees
Title Position
Brad Allen Referee
Walt Anderson Referee
Bill Belichick Head Coach, New England Patriots
Jeff Bergman Line Judge
Clete Blakeman Referee
Dean Blandino VP of Officiating, NFL
Jerome Boger Referee
Tom Brady Quarterback, New England Patriots
Mark Briggs Director of Security New England Patriots
Milton Britton Kicking Ball Coordinator for Gillette Stadium, NFL
David Brocher Ball Boy, New England Patriots
Rita Callendar Gillette Stadium Game Day Security, Team Ops LLC
Gary Cavaletto Field Judge
Akil Coad Director of Football Operations and Compliance, NFL
Tony Corrente Referee
James Daniel Director of Game Operations, NFL
Scott Edwards Side Judge
Richard Farley Security Representative for the New England Patriots, NFL
Keith Ferguson Back Judge
Paul Galanis Gillette Stadium Game Day Security, Team Ops LLC
T. David Gardi SVP of Football Operations, NFL
Brandon Gobbi Ball Boy, New England Patriots
Corey Goldstein Ball Boy, New England Patriots
Stephen Gostkowski Kicker, New England Patriots
Johnny Grier Northeast Regional Supervisor of Officials, NFL
Ryan Grigson General Manager, Indianapolis Colts
Dan Grossi Director of Event Security, NFL
Danny Harlow Ball Boy, Indianapolis Colts
Kyle James Ball Boy, Indianapolis Colts
John Jastremski Equipment Assistant, New England Patriots
Mike Kensil Vice President of Football Operations, NFL
Eric Kerzner Senior Director of Labor Operations, NFL Management Council
Kevin Krysiak Global Director of Innovation for Football, Basketball, Soccer and Volleyball, Wilson Sporting Goods Company
Bill Leavy Referee
Danielle Lee Former Employee, Game Operations, NFL
Wayne Mackie Head Linesman
Terry McAulay Referee
Phil McKinnely Head Linesman
Jim McNally Officials Locker Room Attendant, New England Patriots
Greg Meyer Side Judge
Scott Miller Former Manager, NFL Auctions
Pete Morelli Referee
Brenden Murphy Equipment Assistant and Ball Boy, New England Patriots
Kevin Murphy General Manager, American Football, Wilson Sporting Goods Company
Berj Najarian Director of Football/Head Coach Administration, New England Patriots
Scott Novak Side Judge
Jack Osborne Security Representative for the Indianapolis Colts, NFL
Carl Paganelli Umpire
John Parry Referee
Dean Pees Defensive Coordinator, Baltimore Ravens
Dyrol Prioleau Field Judge
John Raucci Director of Investigative Services, NFL
Alberto Riveron Senior Director of Officiating, NFL
Jerry Rosburg Special Teams Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach, Baltimore Ravens
Doug Rosenbaum Field Judge
Dave Schoenfeld Head Equipment Manager, New England Patriots
Brian Seabrooks Assistant Equipment Manager, Indianapolis Colts
Jon Scott Vice President of Equipment Operations, Indianapolis Colts
Steve Stelljes Head Linesman
Jason Stone Head of Facilities, New England Patriots
Zach Struck Equipment Assistant, New England Patriots
Sean Sullivan Equipment Manager, Indianapolis Colts
Tony Veteri Head Linesman
Troy Vincent Executive VP of Football Operations, NFL
Bill Vinovich Referee
Greg Yette Back Judge
Source: Wells Report

Follow Rachel G. Bowers on Twitter @RachelGBowers.