We agree with the Wells Report on DeflateGate commissioned by the NFL after the AFC title game between the Colts and Patriots: it's "more probable than not" that Tom Brady was aware of inappropriate handling of Patriots footballs. If guilty, he should be punished.
Regardless, here's the story you don't hear: officials found both at halftime and after the AFC title clash that, to steal a weak phrase, "it's more more probable than not" that the Colts played the entire game with under-inflated footballs.
That's not OUR interpretation. Those findings of likely under-inflation are straight from the report.
As you no doubt now know, NFL game balls are supposed to be inflated between 12.5 and 13.5 PSI. As part of the NFL's sting operation to catch the Patriots playing with under-inflated footballs, game officials at half time checked the PSI of 11 Patriots footballs.
All 11 came in under 12.5 PSI. Some way under 12.5 PSI. But you already knew that.
Here's the other story uncovered in the Wells Report you've NOT been told: 3 of 4 Colts footballs checked at halftime weighed in under 12.5 PSI by one of the two officials measuring them. Then, they suddenly stopped checking. The other 8 Colts footballs simply, and conveniently, went unchecked.
Here's the Wells Report table showing the PSI of the 4 Colts footballs weighed at halftime as it appears on Page 8. Blakeman and Prioleau are the two NFL officials who measured the balls.
Why did NFL officials check only four Colts footballs instead of all 12?
"Only four Colts balls were tested because the officials were running out of time before the start of the second half," reads the Wells Report on Page 7.
Hmmm ... pretty interesting. A Patriots ballboy can run into a bathroom and quickly deflate to exact specifications 12 gameballs in 1 minute, 40 seconds. But NFL officials didn't have time to check eight Colts footballs in 15 minutes of halftime, in an operation intended to uphold the integrity of the league.
Convenient excuse, isn't it?
Consider this scenario: Imagine if 11 of 12 Colts footballs checked in under 12.5 PSI by at least one official. And, remember, 3 of 4 did. Those results certainly would have taken the wind out of the sails of the SS Witch Hunt. And that must have appeared like a very real probability once officials checked the first four Colts footballs.
Seems "more probable than not' that NFL offcials stopped out of convenience rather than a genuine interest in the truth or integrity.
After all, it would have been hard to cruciify one team on the altar of the precious 12.5 PSI threshold when both teams were playing with balls below the legal limit.
The Wells Report, of course, tells this story in terms convenient to it: "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."
They might have worded it this way: "One of the gauges found that 3 of 4 Colts footballs fell below the required 12.5 PSI." But they didn't.
It got more curious after the game: four balls were randomly selected from each team's stash after New England's 45-7 humiliation of the Colts and were measured again by officials.
All four Patriots footballs weighed in within the legal 12.5 to 13.5 PSI range, according to at least one official; and 3 of 4 weighed within the legal range according to both offcials. One Patrots football was OVERinlfated according to one official.
Meanwhile, 3 of4 Colts footballs were underinflated, according to one official; and one was underinflated according to both officials.
Post-game measuresments of Patriots footballs (3 of 4 within legal limit according to both officials; 1 of 4 OVERinflated according to one official):
Post-game measurements of Colts footballs (3 of 4 under-inflated according to at least one official; 1 underinflated according to both officials):
So, put another way, the Patriots played the entire second half with largely legally inflated footballs. Meawhile, it's "more probable than not" that the Colts played the enitre second half with under-inflated footballs. It's more likely the Colts, not the Patriots, played most of the game with deflated footballs.
None of which changes the probability that the Patriots may have doctored the footballs before kickoff. And if they did intentionally and knowingly bring the balls below the legal 12.5 PSI, they should be punished. Of course, the Wells Report doesn't prove that the Patriots did this, and it doesn't pretend to prove that they did.
But here's the point: it's impossible to argue that allegedly deflated footballs gave the Patriots a competitive advantage when it was the Colts, not the Patriots, who might have played most of the game with balls below the almighty 12.5 PSI. The Patriots played only one half with under-inflated balls.
Keep in mind, all this idiociy and outrage over a pound or two of PSI in a football came during a game in which the Patriots humiliated the Colts 45-7, no matter which team's footballs were over- or under-inflated.
And in the six quarters of football that followed the NFL's awkward halftime sting in the AFC title game, the Patriots outscored the powerhouse Colts and defending champ Seahawks by a combined score of 56-24, while produding the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in Super Bowl history.
The Wells Report simply proves that the Patriots were better than the Colts and the Seahwaks no matter the PSI of the balls on the field.
And that's pretty deflating for those fans and teams who have whipped this idiocy into a national scandal.