The Patriots Strike Back

This morning, the New England Patriots issued a detailed rebuttal to the Wells report, which was the basis for the sanctions imposed on the team and quarterback Tom Brady by the NFL. In my opinion, the Patriots’ rebuttal is quite devastating. It confirms, as I wrote here and here, that the Wells report fails to prove its case.

Particularly noteworthy is a report by Nobel Prize winning chemist Roderick MacKinnon, who concludes that if one assumes that the league’s official was correct about which pressure gauge he used prior to game time–the Wells report assumes that he was wrong–then the level of inflation found in the Patriots’ balls at halftime “falls precisely in the range predicted by the Ideal Gas Law (1.0 to 1.2 psi) for the temperature differences the balls were thought to experience on game day.” Further:

[T]he claim of a statistically significant difference in pressure drop between the two team balls regardless of which gauge was used did not account for the fact that the Colts balls were apparently measured at the end of halftime since the officials ran out of time and made only four measurements – in other words, the Colts balls were measured after the Patriots balls and had warmed up more.

The Patriots’ balls also received much heavier use during the first half, and were treated differently by the team’s staff during the game. In short, there is no reason to assume that someone must have tampered with the Patriots’ footballs after their inflation was measured by officials prior to the beginning of the game.

It also bears repeating that there is no evidence that Tom Brady ever expressed to anyone a preference that game balls be inflated to a pressure less than 12.5 psi. None.