538letter

Link to home page: www.BetterDialogue.com/DeflateGate (and sorry for the primitive site formatting — the time went into content, not formatting)

Sent 9/27/2015 (referencing 8/31 letter and adding more)

To: nrsilver@fivethirtyeight.com, datalab@…., contact@…

Subject: Corrections needed on 538 article that was not to your high standards

Nate (and corrections department if there is one),

I’m a big fan of yours, but a high-profile report on your site didn’t meet your standards and needs major corrections. Your site has no contact for “corrections.” To be mature, your site should offer one and respond to any reasonable request, as is The New York Times stated policy.

Aside from good corrections policy, here are credentials for why you should hear me out: My viewpoint has been endorsed by the most prominent speaker on the subject matter (Professor Robert Blecker of New York Law School), referenced in the Wall Street Journal, and posted my 59-page brief to the official court docket on the high-profile related court case. For those reasons, much of my analysis is already referenced in the applicable Wikipedia page; more will be as it gains greater notability.

The second paragraph of the 538 article stated that a [hundreds of pages] report, which the article was analyzing, “went to great lengths to show” something that, as apparently your team missed, the report’s concluding paragraph went to considerable lengths to avoid showing.

Therefore, that claim and these additional points in the 538 article need retractions: “What I love about this report is the various extents the researchers went to make their analysis iron-clad” and “Honestly, it’s probably overkill”.

This gist of the 538 article is that the evidence and research in the Wells report overwhelming shows that there is no good science explanation for the Patriots/Colts pressure differential. That gist is inconsistent with the concluding paragraph of the science portion of the Wells Report: it went out of its way to avoid saying that, even though that is clearly something Wells very much wanted to say if it could be justified. (I’ll show you the detail on that later in this email.)

From that simple logic, it is evident that the rest of the report is a smokescreen to hide the fact that the researchers knew that their science provided to them a complete explanation through natural causes for the pressure difference.

Picking up on that would have caused your team to look deeper at the science, and to uncover yet more lawyered-up language, and to have noticed that all this “iron-clad” science somehow simulated balls warming up exactly as fast as a ball does alone in the open despite the report documenting that the cold balls had remained in a bag. The lawyered-up report had gone out of its way to avoid claiming that their simulation had accounted for that difference.

Your team could also have thought deeper on the logic offered for disbelieving the ref regarding which gauge was used: it was all nonsense once you scrutinize it.

Above all, given the lengthy, lawyered-up report, your team was hasty to get out a definitive response on the same day the article was published. Your team did not apply the level of expertise you clearly want your site to be known for.

Fortunately, the press hasn’t gone after the story, so there’s still time for your team to exhibit leadership that has been sorely lacking.

Here is more detail documenting the how the lawyered-up language goes out of it way to create an impression that claims are being made without actually making the claims.  The section that follows is also available at www.http://betterdialogue.com/lawyered1/ where the formatting  may be better.

The public and even the defense lawyers thought the concluding paragraph of the NFL/Exponent “Science” report said:

Based on the information available to us and our experiments, we found no “good” explanation for the difference between Patriots and Colts ball pressures.

Oops!! Legally speaking, what it says is:

The “game characteristics” is the wrong place to look for the answer to why the Patriots and Colts balls had different pressures.

How much difference is there between the perception of the conclusion and the legal meaning of the conclusion? So much that, without any contradiction, the concluding paragraph could have added this:

When we looked at the information and research we did outside of the “game characteristics,” we found that the pressure difference was completely explained by those factors, and so we conclude the Patriots could not have cheated.

If the defense lawyers had noticed how narrow the concluding claim was, they could have turned around the whole case by pointing out this:

Had Exponent been able to claim their work had not found a complete explanation, they would have said so. [ed.: see note below] Therefore, from Exponent’s concluding paragraph, we can tell that Exponent knew that their work found a completely innocent explanation.

The convoluted wording is evidence that Exponent sought to confuse readers into believing there was no good explanation without, legally speaking, telling a lie.

More importantly, because Exponent knew there was a complete explanation for the pressure difference, Exponent knew the Patriots did not cheat

Note: How can we tell that Exponent would have made a stronger conclusion if they could have?

  • The question in everyone’s mind was “did the Patriots cheat”, not “was it the on-field events that caused the pressure difference or some other innocent factors”?
  • The scope Exponent claimed for their report was wider than just investigating the effect of “game characteristics”. The scope claimed by Exponent included “any physical or environmental factors present on the day” (see page IX, last paragraph), which encompasses many more variables, including the locker room environment.
  • Exponent sought to support the NFL’s position that cheating seemed likely. (For proof, see the materials at www.BetterDialogue.com, including the amicus brief, and also the work of Robert Blecker, as noted in the Wikipedia page on reaction to the Wells report: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deflategate#Reactions_to_the_report )

So far, the NFL/Exponent lawyers were brilliant in deceiving the defense lawyers. Later below see how the NFL/Exponent lawyers fooled themselves. But first…

Because uncovering the deceptive-but-not-lying wording trick turns the entire scandal on its head, it’s important to understand the lawyered-up trick that the defense lawyers missed. Key word: “within”

Here’s the full concluding paragraph of the Exponent “science” report to the NFL:

In sum, the data did not provide a basis for us to determine with absolute certainty whether there was or was not tampering as the analysis of such data ultimately is dependent upon assumptions and information that is not certain. However, based on all of the information provided to us, particularly regarding the timing and sequencing of the measurements conducted by the game officials at halftime, and on our testing and analyses, we conclude that within the range of game characteristics most likely to have occurred on Game Day, we have identified no set of credible environmental or physical factors that completely accounts for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure exhibited by the Colts game balls measured during halftime of the AFC Championship Game.

Wells Report Appendix 1: Exponent report page 68, item 13 (Emphasis added)

Take a closer look at what they “concluded”:

we conclude that within the range of game characteristics most likely to have occurred on Game Day, we have identified no set of credible environmental or physical factors that completely accounts for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure exhibited by the Colts game balls measured during halftime of the AFC Championship Game.

(Note: Exponent did not format the words to have strikethroughs)

Simplify it a bit (without materially changing the meaning) by deleting the struck-through words:

we conclude that within the game characteristics we have identified no factors that completely account for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure.

Re-order the phrases (without changing the meaning) to be clearer:

we conclude that we have identified no factors within the game characteristics that completely account for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure

Notice that the statement is silent about factors outside the game characteristics.

Scientifically, it turns out that a large factor behind the pressure difference was that, while in the warm half-time locker room, the cold Patriots’ footballs, unlike the Colt’s footballs, had been kept in a damp bag until measured.

A New York Times reporter, while incorrectly asserting that the Patriots almost certainly cheated, falsely claimed that the Exponent report had noted that the Patriots’ and Colts’ balls had been handled in a similar way. Nowhere does the report actually say that. Its data proves the opposite if you know where to look.

Note: on 9/18/2015 I requested that The Times correct the story. They told me on the phone they are looking into it. They claim that when they make a decision, they will explain why. No word back yet (as of 9/25/2015).

Anyone suspicious of the NFL/Exponent would know where to look if they hadn’t been fooled by the lawyered-up description of the simulation of the half-time period.

Apparently nearly everyone thought Exponent had said this:

We simulated the half-time period as best we knew how

When, legally speaking, it really said this:

We disavow any attempt to accurately simulate the half time period, other than that we used the same two gauges and measured at the times as happened on game-day.

In contrast to previous parts of the simulation description, which went out of their way to specify how similar bags were used in the same was as happened on game-day, the half-time-in-locker-room part of the simulation description went out of its way to excluded simulating how the bag was used on game-day.

Had the defense lawyers not been fooled, they would have smelled blood and had someone look for the technical data that proved that the Colts footballs had not stayed well sheltered in the bag.

To see the lawyered-up trick, see what Exponent said and then google the definition of “namely.”

The procedure used to generate the halftime measurements during Game Day was replicated. Namely, the Logo and Non-Logo Gauges were used.
–Source: Bottom of Exponent page 56.

Namely… adverb… [first definition] that is to say;
Source: Google.com, search for definition of namely. Above retrieved most recently Sep 25, 2015.

Thus the description becomes:

The procedure used to generate the halftime measurements during Game Day was replicated. [That is to say], the Logo and Non-Logo Gauges were used.

Or in other words:

We do NOT say that we replicated the procedure; we only guarantee the same gauges were used in our simulation as were used on the day of the game.

Where the NFL/Exponent lawyers fooled themselves

Based on the above, it’s clear that the intent was to deceive without, legally speaking, lying. Unfortunately, the NFL/Exponent lawyers screwed up and allowed one important “conclusion”, the one used by the NFL to punish the Patriots, to be, legally speaking, a lie:

Experimental Simulations Conclusion

In both the Non-Logo Gauge and Logo Gauge simulations, we see that the average measurements for the Colts footballs are generally at or near the line representing the average measurements from Game Day. In contrast, all of the average measurements for the Patriots footballs generated by the simulations are noticeably higher than the line representing the average measurements from Game Day. Therefore, subject to the discovery of an as yet unidentified and unexamined factor, the measurements recorded for the Patriots footballs on Game Day do not appear to be completely explainable based on natural causes alone.

Source: Exponent report, page 61 (7 pages before the final conclusion of the report)

Recall that the lawyered-up wording I explained first (final conclusion, use of the word “within”) proves that the NFL/Exponent lawyers knew that Exponent knew that they could explain the pressure difference based on natural causes. Therefore, totally irrespective of the simulation, they knew the pressures were explainable.

The lawyered up wording described next, about the half-time part of simulation (key word “namely, exponent page 56) shows that Exponent knew the simulation did not match game-day events. Therefore Exponent knew that just because the Patriots’ game-day pressure didn’t match the simulation results doesn’t mean that the Patriots’ game-day pressure wasn’t exactly where it was supposed to be.

To make the above not a lie, legally speaking, they should have said that “we conclude that if the simulation accurately reflected reality as best we knew how to do, then the pressure difference was not completely explainable by natural causes. To be honest, they would have added: The simulation does not accurately reflect reality. When we adjust for the upward bias in our simulation, we conclude that the Patriots footballs had just the right pressure, so therefore we can tell that the Patriots did not cheat.

Legally speaking, I’m curious about this: If someone intends to intentionally deceive, but they screw up by actually stating something they had meant to trick people into believing they had stated, is that, for the purpose of an anti-defamation suit, lying. For that matter, even if they deceived without lying, is that sufficient for a public figure injured by the deception to recover damages. I hope the answer to both is “yes.”

For those looking for a quick hint as to what those factors “outside” of “game characteristics” were which explained the Patriots/Colts pressure difference:

  • Most important: When the ref finished inspecting the footballs before the game, the Colts’ footballs had more pressure than the Patriots’ footballs.
  • Almost as important: The Patriots footballs, because they were kept in a damp bag, warmed several times slower, so had several times less pressure increase per minute than would footballs freely exposed to the air. In contrast, there is no testimony that the Colts balls were kept in the bag the whole time. In fact, the pressures that were measured in the Colts balls could not have happened if the Colts balls measured were typical of 11 that had remained in the bag until tested.
  • Least-important: The Colts balls had much more time to warm up (and thus have their pressure increase) before they were measured than did the Patriots

For those interested in how the Exponent data proves the Patriots were unlikely to have cheated at all, and could not possibly cheated by an amount detectable by the testing, and could not possibly have cheated by an amount that makes a discernable difference in game play, please see the materials at www.BetterDialogue.com/DeflateGate.

The above shows strong logical evidence that Exponent knew the Patriots did not cheat. The detailed analysis on the website proves that the Exponent data proves the Patriots did not cheat.

I hope that when the pundits react, the message will be not be “yet another problem found NFL/Exponent work” but rather “Scandal over: NFL data proves the Patriots did not cheat.”

It would be misleading and lazy journalism for the headline to be merely that there is yet another problem with the Exponent report.

My original letter to 538 appears below my name.

Sincerely,

Robert Young
Robert.Young@betterdialogue.com

Original letter of 8/31/2015

chadwick.matlin@fivethirtyeight.com andrew.flowers@fivethirtyeight.com bmorris@fivethirtyeight.com ben.casselman@fivethirtyeight.com

Subject: Your commentary on Exponent: new opportunity

Third letter to NY Times; more reasons to reverse their claim of science working against Patriots

Link to home page: www.BetterDialogue.com/DeflateGate (and sorry for the primitive site formatting — the time went into content, not formatting)

Below is the letter I emailed to the New York Times 9/26/2015

More info against The Times’ Science-Against-Patriots report

Dear corrections department and journalism integrity department,

Here are additional concerns and additional evidence beyond my prior emails. [ed. note: letter 1 | letter 2]

Another way to tell The Times’ report conclusion was wrong:  NFL/Wells’ “scientists” Exponent never claimed to be unable to explain Patriots/Colts pressure difference.

Exponent never claimed they couldn’t completely explain the Patriots/Colts pressure difference through natural causes.  If they could have claimed that, they would have.  Therefore they knew they had an explanation.  Therefore they knew the science worked for the Patriots, rather than against the Patriots (details in appendix to this email).

One of the sources used by the reporter to validate the Exponent report has since changed his mind:

Email from Alan Nathan:

When I talked with the NYT reporter, I had only briefly skimmed the report.  I spotted the name Dan Marlow, whom I know by reputation, and essentially said that if he puts his stamp of approval on it, that is good enough for me.

Since then, I have read the report more carefully and have come to a different conclusion.  The investigative work reported there was done very sloppily and leaves a lot of room for doubt about the conclusions (two gauges reading different pressures; confusion over which gauge was used and when; heating up of the balls at halftime; etc.)  Had I read the report more carefully before talking to the NYT, I would have said something very different (e.g., the investigators would have failed their Physics 101 laboratory report!).

But I have decided not to get involved any more.  I think nearly everyone has decided to move on and I have too.  So I thank you for reaching out, but I think I’ll take a pass.

Best…Alan Nathan

The other source the reporter used, Professor Timothy Gay, seems likely to change his mind if pressed:

When I spoke with him, believed, as I do, that the bag would make a big difference in the warming rate as compared to footballs being out of the bag.  This is further evidence that if you were to ask him to scrutinize the report carefully with respect to the warming simulation, he would soften or reverse his position on the report.  That is especially true if you ask him to review all the information I have provided to The Times.

The reporter for The Times story appears to have been stripped of reporting responsibilities since the problems with the Wells/Exponent report surfaced:

Based on The Times landing page for James Glanz, Mr. Glanz had written many reports for years, but that reporting ceased in June 2015, which I believe is likely not merely by coincidence the time the problems with the Exponent report were being publicized.

Mr. Glanz outgoing voice mailbox message says that he works in the investigations department.  If he were still a reporter I’d expected it to say so.

When I spoke with Professor Gay, The Times had still not contacted him.  To me, that suggests that either The Times is not serious about investigating journalistic integrity or, more likely, the Times had already concluded that the reporter’s journalism was poor and thus had no need for further confirmation.

More reasons for doubt, plus journalistic integrity issue:

The reporter noted that Professor Gay knew Patriots’ Coach Bill Belichick.  That is irrelevant to the point the article, especially since the Wells report cleared Bill Belichick of any awareness or involvement in the matter.  Therefore even if it turns out to be factually correct in some narrow way, it still needs to be removed from the article to avoid misleading readers or casting innuendo.  Does The Times correct only things that are factually completely wrong, and leave those that are misleading or cast inappropriate innuendo in the context where they appear?

The reporter noted that the report language was “fussy” and yet looked only to academic researchers to validate it, rather involving lawyers or other people with expertise in dissecting lawyered-up language.   Insufficient time was available for the interviewed researchers to have dissected such a lengthy report with fussy language, whether or not the professors felt they had reviewed the “science” or not.

The article erred in not making note that Professor Marlow was paid by the NFL (as noted in the Wells Report that the article was responding to.) This is particular egregious given that the report called out Professor Gay as knowing Bill Belichick. It is far more relevant that professor Marlow was paid by the NFL than it is that Professor Gay knows Bill Belichick.

More journalistic integrity, corrections-department integrity issues:

I believe it shows an ongoing lack integrity on the part of The Times to recognize that a reporter committed major problems in writing an article but fail to revise, soften, or otherwise correct the article.

I believe it shows a lack of integrity on the part of The Times that nearly a week after being asked to correct the assertion that the Wells/Exponent report had “noted” something, The Times has failed to either make the correction or explain to me where the report “noted” that.  The former reporter still works for The Times.  The Well’s report is public and text-searchable.  How hard could it be to either find the passage The Times alleges to “note” something or agree that there was no such “note?”  This is a simple attribution error of the kind The Times typically corrects within 24 hours.  The Times claims that in the event they elect not to make a correction, they explain why.   It seems as if The Times corrections policy is only followed when there is little or no consequence to the public or to The Times.

Folks trust The Times; The Times says the Patriots almost certainly cheated.  One of those things needs to change.  I prefer the latter, which is where the corrections department and integrity department come in into play.  Admitting the error is what gives readers the confidence that if there are problems found in any Times reports, readers will be notified and the problems will be fixed.   To quote the Patriots’ coaching philosophy, “Do your job.”

Sincerely,

Robert Young

Appendix regarding lawyered-up language and Exponent never claiming to not have a complete an innocent explanation for the Patriots/Colts pressure difference.

The public and even the defense lawyers thought the concluding paragraph of the NFL/Exponent “Science” report said:

Based on the information available to us and our experiments, we found no “good” explanation for the difference between Patriots and Colts ball pressures.

Oops!! Legally speaking, what it says is:

The “game characteristics” is the wrong place to look for the answer to why the Patriots and Colts balls had different pressures.

How much difference is there between the perception of the conclusion and the legal meaning of the conclusion? So much that, without any contradiction, the concluding paragraph could have added this:

When we looked at the information and research we did outside of the “game characteristics,” we found that the pressure difference was completely explained by those factors, and so we conclude the Patriots could not have cheated.

If the defense lawyers had noticed how narrow the concluding claim was, they could have turned around the whole case by pointing out this:

Had Exponent been able to claim their work had not found a complete explanation, they would have said so. [ed.: see note below] Therefore, from Exponent’s concluding paragraph, we can tell that Exponent knew that their work found a completely innocent explanation.

The convoluted wording is evidence that Exponent sought to confuse readers into believing there was no good explanation without, legally speaking, telling a lie.

More importantly, because Exponent knew there was a complete explanation for the pressure difference, Exponent knew the Patriots did not cheat

Note: How can we tell that Exponent would have made a stronger conclusion if they could have?

  • The question in everyone’s mind was “did the Patriots cheat”, not “was it the on-field events that caused the pressure difference or some other innocent factors”?
  • The scope Exponent claimed for their report was wider than just investigating the effect of “game characteristics”. The scope claimed by Exponent included “any physical or environmental factors present on the day” (see page IX, last paragraph), which encompasses many more variables, including the locker room environment.
  • Exponent sought to support the NFL’s position that cheating seemed likely. (For proof, see the materials at www.BetterDialogue.com, including the amicus brief, and also the work of Robert Blecker, as noted in the Wikipedia page on reaction to the Wells report: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deflategate#Reactions_to_the_report )

So far, the NFL/Exponent lawyers were brilliant in deceiving the defense lawyers. Later below see how the NFL/Exponent lawyers fooled themselves. But first…

Because uncovering the deceptive-but-not-lying wording trick turns the entire scandal on its head, it’s important to understand the lawyered-up trick that the defense lawyers missed. Key word: “within”

Here’s the full concluding paragraph of the Exponent “science” report to the NFL:

In sum, the data did not provide a basis for us to determine with absolute certainty whether there was or was not tampering as the analysis of such data ultimately is dependent upon assumptions and information that is not certain. However, based on all of the information provided to us, particularly regarding the timing and sequencing of the measurements conducted by the game officials at halftime, and on our testing and analyses, we conclude that within the range of game characteristics most likely to have occurred on Game Day, we have identified no set of credible environmental or physical factors that completely accounts for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure exhibited by the Colts game balls measured during halftime of the AFC Championship Game.

Wells Report Appendix 1: Exponent report page 68, item 13 (Emphasis added)

Take a closer look at what they “concluded”:

we conclude that within the range of game characteristics most likely to have occurred on Game Day, we have identified no set of credible environmental or physical factors that completely accounts for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure exhibited by the Colts game balls measured during halftime of the AFC Championship Game.

(Note: Exponent did not format the words to have strikethroughs)

Simplify it a bit (without materially changing the meaning) by deleting the struck-through words:

we conclude that within the game characteristics we have identified no factors that completely account for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure.

Re-order the phrases (without changing the meaning) to be clearer:

we conclude that we have identified no factors within the game characteristics that completely account for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure

Notice that the statement is silent about factors outside the game characteristics.

Scientifically, it turns out that a large factor behind the pressure difference was that, while in the warm half-time locker room, the cold Patriots’ footballs, unlike the Colt’s footballs, had been kept in a damp bag until measured.

A New York Times reporter, while incorrectly asserting that the Patriots almost certainly cheated, falsely claimed that the Exponent report had noted that the Patriots’ and Colts’ balls had been handled in a similar way. Nowhere does the report actually say that. Its data proves the opposite if you know where to look.

Note: on 9/18/2015 I requested that The Times correct the story. They told me on the phone they are looking into it. They claim that when they make a decision, they will explain why. No word back yet (as of 9/25/2015).

Anyone suspicious of the NFL/Exponent would know where to look if they hadn’t been fooled by the lawyered-up description of the simulation of the half-time period.

Apparently nearly everyone thought Exponent had said this:

We simulated the half-time period as best we knew how

When, legally speaking, it really said this:

We disavow any attempt to accurately simulate the half time period, other than that we used the same two gauges and measured at the times as happened on game-day.

In contrast to previous parts of the simulation description, which went out of their way to specify how similar bags were used in the same was as happened on game-day, the half-time-in-locker-room part of the simulation description went out of its way to excluded simulating how the bag was used on game-day.

Had the defense lawyers not been fooled, they would have smelled blood and had someone look for the technical data that proved that the Colts footballs had not stayed well sheltered in the bag.

To see the lawyered-up trick, see what Exponent said and then google the definition of “namely.”

The procedure used to generate the halftime measurements during Game Day was replicated. Namely, the Logo and Non-Logo Gauges were used.
–Source: Bottom of Exponent page 56.

Namely… adverb… [first definition] that is to say;
Source: Google.com, search for definition of namely. Above retrieved most recently Sep 25, 2015.

Thus the description becomes:

The procedure used to generate the halftime measurements during Game Day was replicated. [That is to say], the Logo and Non-Logo Gauges were used.

Or in other words:

We do NOT say that we replicated the procedure; we only guarantee the same gauges were used in our simulation as were used on the day of the game.

Where the NFL/Exponent lawyers fooled themselves

Based on the above, it’s clear that the intent was to deceive without, legally speaking, lying. Unfortunately, the NFL/Exponent lawyers screwed up and allowed one important “conclusion”, the one used by the NFL to punish the Patriots, to be, legally speaking, a lie:

Experimental Simulations Conclusion

In both the Non-Logo Gauge and Logo Gauge simulations, we see that the average measurements for the Colts footballs are generally at or near the line representing the average measurements from Game Day. In contrast, all of the average measurements for the Patriots footballs generated by the simulations are noticeably higher than the line representing the average measurements from Game Day. Therefore, subject to the discovery of an as yet unidentified and unexamined factor, the measurements recorded for the Patriots footballs on Game Day do not appear to be completely explainable based on natural causes alone.

Source: Exponent report, page 61 (7 pages before the final conclusion of the report)

Recall that the lawyered-up wording I explained first (final conclusion, use of the word “within”) proves that the NFL/Exponent lawyers knew that Exponent knew that they could explain the pressure difference based on natural causes. Therefore, totally irrespective of the simulation, they knew the pressures were explainable.

The lawyered up wording described next, about the half-time part of simulation (key word “namely, exponent page 56) shows that Exponent knew the simulation did not match game-day events. Therefore Exponent knew that just because the Patriots’ game-day pressure didn’t match the simulation results doesn’t mean that the Patriots’ game-day pressure wasn’t exactly where it was supposed to be.

To make the above not a lie, legally speaking, they should have said that “we conclude that if the simulation accurately reflected reality as best we knew how to do, then the pressure difference was not completely explainable by natural causes. To be honest, they would have added: The simulation does not accurately reflect reality. When we adjust for the upward bias in our simulation, we conclude that the Patriots footballs had just the right pressure, so therefore we can tell that the Patriots did not cheat.

Legally speaking, I’m curious about this: If someone intends to intentionally deceive, but they screw up by actually stating something they had meant to trick people into believing they had stated, is that, for the purpose of an anti-defamation suit, lying. For that matter, even if they deceived without lying, is that sufficient for a public figure injured by the deception to recover damages. I hope the answer to both is “yes.”

For those looking for a quick hint as to what those factors “outside” of “game characteristics” were which explained the Patriots/Colts pressure difference:

  • Most important: When the ref finished inspecting the footballs before the game, the Colts’ footballs had more pressure than the Patriots’ footballs.
  • Almost as important: The Patriots footballs, because they were kept in a damp bag, warmed several times slower, so had several times less pressure increase per minute than would footballs freely exposed to the air. In contrast, there is no testimony that the Colts balls were kept in the bag the whole time. In fact, the pressures that were measured in the Colts balls could not have happened if the Colts balls measured were typical of 11 that had remained in the bag until tested.
  • Least-important: The Colts balls had much more time to warm up (and thus have their pressure increase) before they were measured than did the Patriots

For those interested in how the Exponent data proves the Patriots were unlikely to have cheated at all, and could not possibly cheated by an amount detectable by the testing, and could not possibly have cheated by an amount that makes a discernable difference in game play, please see the materials at www.BetterDialogue.com/DeflateGate.

The above shows strong logical evidence that Exponent knew the Patriots did not cheat. The detailed analysis on the website proves that the Exponent data proves the Patriots did not cheat.

I hope that when the pundits react, the message will be not be “yet another problem found NFL/Exponent work” but rather “Scandal over: NFL data proves the Patriots did not cheat.”

It would be misleading and lazy journalism for the headline to be merely that there is yet another problem with the Exponent report.

Another way to tell The Times’ report conclusion was wrong:  NFL/Wells’ “scientists” Exponent never claimed to be unable to explain Patriots/Colts pressure difference.

Exponent never claimed they couldn’t completely explain the Patriots/Colts pressure difference through natural causes.  If they could have claimed that, they would have.  Therefore they knew they had an explanation.  Therefore they knew the science worked for the Patriots, rather than against the Patriots (details in appendix to this email).

One of the sources used by the reporter to validate the Exponent report has since changed his mind:

Email from Alan Nathan:

When I talked with the NYT reporter, I had only briefly skimmed the report.  I spotted the name Dan Marlow, whom I know by reputation, and essentially said that if he puts his stamp of approval on it, that is good enough for me.

Since then, I have read the report more carefully and have come to a different conclusion.  The investigative work reported there was done very sloppily and leaves a lot of room for doubt about the conclusions (two gauges reading different pressures; confusion over which gauge was used and when; heating up of the balls at halftime; etc.)  Had I read the report more carefully before talking to the NYT, I would have said something very different (e.g., the investigators would have failed their Physics 101 laboratory report!).

But I have decided not to get involved any more.  I think nearly everyone has decided to move on and I have too.  So I thank you for reaching out, but I think I’ll take a pass.

Best…Alan Nathan

The other source the reporter used, Professor Timothy Gay, seems likely to change his mind if pressed:

When I spoke with him, believed, as I do, that the bag would make a big difference in the warming rate as compared to footballs being out of the bag.  This is further evidence that if you were to ask him to scrutinize the report carefully with respect to the warming simulation, he would soften or reverse his position on the report.  That is especially true if you ask him to review all the information I have provided to The Times.

The reporter for The Times story appears to have been stripped of reporting responsibilities since the problems with the Wells/Exponent report surfaced:

Based on The Times landing page for James Glanz, Mr. Glanz had written many reports for years, but that reporting ceased in June 2015, which I believe is likely not merely by coincidence the time the problems with the Exponent report were being publicized.

Mr. Glanz outgoing voice mailbox message says that he works in the investigations department.  If he were still a reporter I’d expected it to say so.

When I spoke with Professor Gay, The Times had still not contacted him.  To me, that suggests that either The Times is not serious about investigating journalistic integrity or, more likely, the Times had already concluded that the reporter’s journalism was poor and thus had no need for further confirmation.

More reasons for doubt, plus journalistic integrity issue:

The reporter noted that Professor Gay knew Patriots’ Coach Bill Belichick.  That is irrelevant to the point the article, especially since the Wells report cleared Bill Belichick of any awareness or involvement in the matter.  Therefore even if it turns out to be factually correct in some narrow way, it still needs to be removed from the article to avoid misleading readers or casting innuendo.  Does The Times correct only things that are factually completely wrong, and leave those that are misleading or cast inappropriate innuendo in the context where they appear?

The reporter noted that the report language was “fussy” and yet looked only to academic researchers to validate it, rather involving lawyers or other people with expertise in dissecting lawyered-up language.   Insufficient time was available for the interviewed researchers to have dissected such a lengthy report with fussy language, whether or not the professors felt they had reviewed the “science” or not.

More journalistic integrity, corrections-department integrity issues:

I believe it shows an ongoing lack integrity on the part of The Times to recognize that a reporter committed major problems in writing an article but fail to revise, soften, or otherwise correct the article.

I believe it shows a lack of integrity on the part of The Times that nearly a week after being asked to correct the assertion that the Wells/Exponent report had “noted” something, The Times has failed to either make the correction or explain to me where the report “noted” that.  The former reporter still works for The Times.  The Well’s report is public and text-searchable.  How hard could it be to either find the passage The Times alleges to “note” something or agree that there was no such “note?”  This is a simple attribution error of the kind The Times typically corrects within 24 hours.  The Times claims that in the event they elect not to make a correction, they explain why.   It seems as if The Times corrections policy is only followed when there is little or no consequence to the public or to The Times.

Folks trust The Times; The Times says the Patriots almost certainly cheated.  One of those things needs to change.  I prefer the latter, which is where the corrections department and integrity department come in into play.  To quote the Patriots’ coaching philosophy, “Do your job.”

Sincerely,

Robert Young

Appendix regarding lawyered up language and Exponent never claiming to not have a complete an innocent explanation for the Patriots/Colts pressure difference.

The public and even the defense lawyers thought the concluding paragraph of the NFL/Exponent “Science” report said:

Based on the information available to us and our experiments, we found no “good” explanation for the difference between Patriots and Colts ball pressures.

Oops!! Legally speaking, what it says is:

The “game characteristics” is the wrong place to look for the answer to why the Patriots and Colts balls had different pressures.

How much difference is there between the perception of the conclusion and the legal meaning of the conclusion? So much that, without any contradiction, the concluding paragraph could have added this:

When we looked at the information and research we did outside of the “game characteristics,” we found that the pressure difference was completely explained by those factors, and so we conclude the Patriots could not have cheated.

If the defense lawyers had noticed how narrow the concluding claim was, they could have turned around the whole case by pointing out this:

Had Exponent been able to claim their work had not found a complete explanation, they would have said so. [ed.: see note below] Therefore, from Exponent’s concluding paragraph, we can tell that Exponent knew that their work found a completely innocent explanation.

The convoluted wording is evidence that Exponent sought to confuse readers into believing there was no good explanation without, legally speaking, telling a lie.

More importantly, because Exponent knew there was a complete explanation for the pressure difference, Exponent knew the Patriots did not cheat

Note: How can we tell that Exponent would have made a stronger conclusion if they could have?

  • The question in everyone’s mind was “did the Patriots cheat”, not “was it the on-field events that caused the pressure difference or some other innocent factors”?
  • The scope Exponent claimed for their report was wider than just investigating the effect of “game characteristics”. The scope claimed by Exponent included “any physical or environmental factors present on the day” (see page IX, last paragraph), which encompasses many more variables, including the locker room environment.
  • Exponent sought to support the NFL’s position that cheating seemed likely. (For proof, see the materials at www.BetterDialogue.com, including the amicus brief, and also the work of Robert Blecker, as noted in the Wikipedia page on reaction to the Wells report: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deflategate#Reactions_to_the_report )

So far, the NFL/Exponent lawyers were brilliant in deceiving the defense lawyers. Later below see how the NFL/Exponent lawyers fooled themselves. But first…

Because uncovering the deceptive-but-not-lying wording trick turns the entire scandal on its head, it’s important to understand the lawyered-up trick that the defense lawyers missed. Key word: “within”

Here’s the full concluding paragraph of the Exponent “science” report to the NFL:

In sum, the data did not provide a basis for us to determine with absolute certainty whether there was or was not tampering as the analysis of such data ultimately is dependent upon assumptions and information that is not certain. However, based on all of the information provided to us, particularly regarding the timing and sequencing of the measurements conducted by the game officials at halftime, and on our testing and analyses, we conclude that within the range of game characteristics most likely to have occurred on Game Day, we have identified no set of credible environmental or physical factors that completely accounts for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure exhibited by the Colts game balls measured during halftime of the AFC Championship Game.

Wells Report Appendix 1: Exponent report page 68, item 13 (Emphasis added)

Take a closer look at what they “concluded”:

we conclude that within the range of game characteristics most likely to have occurred on Game Day, we have identified no set of credible environmental or physical factors that completely accounts for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure exhibited by the Colts game balls measured during halftime of the AFC Championship Game.

(Note: Exponent did not format the words to have strikethroughs)

Simplify it a bit (without materially changing the meaning) by deleting the struck-through words:

we conclude that within the game characteristics we have identified no factors that completely account for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure.

Re-order the phrases (without changing the meaning) to be clearer:

we conclude that we have identified no factors within the game characteristics that completely account for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure

Notice that the statement is silent about factors outside the game characteristics.

Scientifically, it turns out that a large factor behind the pressure difference was that, while in the warm half-time locker room, the cold Patriots’ footballs, unlike the Colt’s footballs, had been kept in a damp bag until measured.

A New York Times reporter, while incorrectly asserting that the Patriots almost certainly cheated, falsely claimed that the Exponent report had noted that the Patriots’ and Colts’ balls had been handled in a similar way. Nowhere does the report actually say that. Its data proves the opposite if you know where to look.

Note: on 9/18/2015 I requested that The Times correct the story. They told me on the phone they are looking into it. They claim that when they make a decision, they will explain why. No word back yet (as of 9/25/2015).

Anyone suspicious of the NFL/Exponent would know where to look if they hadn’t been fooled by the lawyered-up description of the simulation of the half-time period.

Apparently nearly everyone thought Exponent had said this:

We simulated the half-time period as best we knew how

When, legally speaking, it really said this:

We disavow any attempt to accurately simulate the half time period, other than that we used the same two gauges and measured at the times as happened on game-day.

In contrast to previous parts of the simulation description, which went out of their way to specify how similar bags were used in the same was as happened on game-day, the half-time-in-locker-room part of the simulation description went out of its way to excluded simulating how the bag was used on game-day.

Had the defense lawyers not been fooled, they would have smelled blood and had someone look for the technical data that proved that the Colts footballs had not stayed well sheltered in the bag.

To see the lawyered-up trick, see what Exponent said and then google the definition of “namely.”

The procedure used to generate the halftime measurements during Game Day was replicated. Namely, the Logo and Non-Logo Gauges were used.
–Source: Bottom of Exponent page 56.

Namely… adverb… [first definition] that is to say;
Source: Google.com, search for definition of namely. Above retrieved most recently Sep 25, 2015.

Thus the description becomes:

The procedure used to generate the halftime measurements during Game Day was replicated. [That is to say], the Logo and Non-Logo Gauges were used.

Or in other words:

We do NOT say that we replicated the procedure; we only guarantee the same gauges were used in our simulation as were used on the day of the game.

Where the NFL/Exponent lawyers fooled themselves

Based on the above, it’s clear that the intent was to deceive without, legally speaking, lying. Unfortunately, the NFL/Exponent lawyers screwed up and allowed one important “conclusion”, the one used by the NFL to punish the Patriots, to be, legally speaking, a lie:

Experimental Simulations Conclusion

In both the Non-Logo Gauge and Logo Gauge simulations, we see that the average measurements for the Colts footballs are generally at or near the line representing the average measurements from Game Day. In contrast, all of the average measurements for the Patriots footballs generated by the simulations are noticeably higher than the line representing the average measurements from Game Day. Therefore, subject to the discovery of an as yet unidentified and unexamined factor, the measurements recorded for the Patriots footballs on Game Day do not appear to be completely explainable based on natural causes alone.

Source: Exponent report, page 61 (7 pages before the final conclusion of the report)

Recall that the lawyered-up wording I explained first (final conclusion, use of the word “within”) proves that the NFL/Exponent lawyers knew that Exponent knew that they could explain the pressure difference based on natural causes. Therefore, totally irrespective of the simulation, they knew the pressures were explainable.

The lawyered up wording described next, about the half-time part of simulation (key word “namely, exponent page 56) shows that Exponent knew the simulation did not match game-day events. Therefore Exponent knew that just because the Patriots’ game-day pressure didn’t match the simulation results doesn’t mean that the Patriots’ game-day pressure wasn’t exactly where it was supposed to be.

To make the above not a lie, legally speaking, they should have said that “we conclude that if the simulation accurately reflected reality as best we knew how to do, then the pressure difference was not completely explainable by natural causes. To be honest, they would have added: The simulation does not accurately reflect reality. When we adjust for the upward bias in our simulation, we conclude that the Patriots footballs had just the right pressure, so therefore we can tell that the Patriots did not cheat.

Legally speaking, I’m curious about this: If someone intends to intentionally deceive, but they screw up by actually stating something they had meant to trick people into believing they had stated, is that, for the purpose of an anti-defamation suit, lying. For that matter, even if they deceived without lying, is that sufficient for a public figure injured by the deception to recover damages. I hope the answer to both is “yes.”

For those looking for a quick hint as to what those factors “outside” of “game characteristics” were which explained the Patriots/Colts pressure difference:

  • Most important: When the ref finished inspecting the footballs before the game, the Colts’ footballs had more pressure than the Patriots’ footballs.
  • Almost as important: The Patriots footballs, because they were kept in a damp bag, warmed several times slower, so had several times less pressure increase per minute than would footballs freely exposed to the air. In contrast, there is no testimony that the Colts balls were kept in the bag the whole time. In fact, the pressures that were measured in the Colts balls could not have happened if the Colts balls measured were typical of 11 that had remained in the bag until tested.
  • Least-important: The Colts balls had much more time to warm up (and thus have their pressure increase) before they were measured than did the Patriots

For those interested in how the Exponent data proves the Patriots were unlikely to have cheated at all, and could not possibly cheated by an amount detectable by the testing, and could not possibly have cheated by an amount that makes a discernable difference in game play, please see the materials at www.BetterDialogue.com/DeflateGate.

The above shows strong logical evidence that Exponent knew the Patriots did not cheat. The detailed analysis on the website proves that the Exponent data proves the Patriots did not cheat.

I hope that when the pundits react, the message will be not be “yet another problem found NFL/Exponent work” but rather “Scandal over: NFL data proves the Patriots did not cheat.”

It would be misleading and lazy journalism for the headline to be merely that there is yet another problem with the Exponent report.

NFL “science” against Patriots so lawyered-up it fooled the lawyers; Exponent never claimed lack of completely explanation for Pats/Colts’difference

Link to home page: www.BetterDialogue.com/DeflateGate (and sorry for the primitive site formatting — the time went into content, not formatting)

The public and even the defense lawyers thought the concluding paragraph of the NFL/Exponent “Science” report said:

Based on the information available to us and our experiments, we found no “good” explanation for the difference between Patriots and Colts ball pressures.

Oops!! Legally speaking, what it says is:

The “game characteristics” is the wrong place to look for the answer to why the Patriots and Colts balls had different pressures.

How much difference is there between the perception of the conclusion and the legal meaning of the conclusion? So much that, without any contradiction, the concluding paragraph could have added this:

When we looked at the information and research we did outside of the “game characteristics,” we found that the pressure difference was completely explained by those factors, and so we conclude the Patriots could not have cheated.

If the defense lawyers had noticed how narrow the concluding claim was, they could have turned around the whole case by pointing out this:

Had Exponent been able to claim their work had not found a complete explanation, they would have said so. [ed.: see note below] Therefore, from Exponent’s concluding paragraph, we can tell that Exponent knew that their work found a completely innocent explanation.

The convoluted wording is evidence that Exponent sought to confuse readers into believing there was no good explanation without, legally speaking, telling a lie.

More importantly, because Exponent knew there was a complete explanation for the pressure difference, Exponent knew the Patriots did not cheat

Note: How can we tell that Exponent would have made a stronger conclusion if they could have?

  • The question in everyone’s mind was “did the Patriots cheat”, not “was it the on-field events that caused the pressure difference or some other innocent factors”?
  • The scope Exponent claimed for their report was wider than just investigating the effect of “game characteristics”. The scope claimed by Exponent included “any physical or environmental factors present on the day” (see page IX, last paragraph), which encompasses many more variables, including the locker room environment.
  • Exponent sought to support the NFL’s position that cheating seemed likely. (For proof, see the materials at www.BetterDialogue.com, including the amicus brief, and also the work of Robert Blecker, as noted in the Wikipedia page on reaction to the Wells report: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deflategate#Reactions_to_the_report )

So far, the NFL/Exponent lawyers were brilliant in deceiving the defense lawyers. Later below see how the NFL/Exponent lawyers fooled themselves. But first…

Because uncovering the deceptive-but-not-lying wording trick turns the entire scandal on its head, it’s important to understand the lawyered-up trick that the defense lawyers missed. Key word: “within”

Here’s the full concluding paragraph of the Exponent “science” report to the NFL:

In sum, the data did not provide a basis for us to determine with absolute certainty whether there was or was not tampering as the analysis of such data ultimately is dependent upon assumptions and information that is not certain. However, based on all of the information provided to us, particularly regarding the timing and sequencing of the measurements conducted by the game officials at halftime, and on our testing and analyses, we conclude that within the range of game characteristics most likely to have occurred on Game Day, we have identified no set of credible environmental or physical factors that completely accounts for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure exhibited by the Colts game balls measured during halftime of the AFC Championship Game.

Wells Report Appendix 1: Exponent report page 68, item 13 (Emphasis added)

Take a closer look at what they “concluded”:

we conclude that within the range of game characteristics most likely to have occurred on Game Day, we have identified no set of credible environmental or physical factors that completely accounts for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure exhibited by the Colts game balls measured during halftime of the AFC Championship Game.

(Note: Exponent did not format the words to have strikethroughs)

Simplify it a bit (without materially changing the meaning) by deleting the struck-through words:

we conclude that within the game characteristics we have identified no factors that completely account for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure.

Re-order the phrases (without changing the meaning) to be clearer:

we conclude that we have identified no factors within the game characteristics that completely account for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure

Notice that the statement is silent about factors outside the game characteristics.

Scientifically, it turns out that a large factor behind the pressure difference was that, while in the warm half-time locker room, the cold Patriots’ footballs, unlike the Colt’s footballs, had been kept in a damp bag until measured.

A New York Times reporter, while incorrectly asserting that the Patriots almost certainly cheated, falsely claimed that the Exponent report had noted that the Patriots’ and Colts’ balls had been handled in a similar way. Nowhere does the report actually say that. Its data proves the opposite if you know where to look.

Note: on 9/18/2015 I requested that The Times correct the story. They told me on the phone they are looking into it. They claim that when they make a decision, they will explain why. No word back yet (as of 9/25/2015).

Anyone suspicious of the NFL/Exponent would know where to look if they hadn’t been fooled by the lawyered-up description of the simulation of the half-time period.

Apparently nearly everyone thought Exponent had said this:

We simulated the half-time period as best we knew how

When, legally speaking, it really said this:

We disavow any attempt to accurately simulate the half time period, other than that we used the same two gauges and measured at the times as happened on game-day.

In contrast to previous parts of the simulation description, which went out of their way to specify how similar bags were used in the same was as happened on game-day, the half-time-in-locker-room part of the simulation description went out of its way to excluded simulating how the bag was used on game-day.

Had the defense lawyers not been fooled, they would have smelled blood and had someone look for the technical data that proved that the Colts footballs had not stayed well sheltered in the bag.

To see the lawyered-up trick, see what Exponent said and then google the definition of “namely.”

The procedure used to generate the halftime measurements during Game Day was replicated. Namely, the Logo and Non-Logo Gauges were used.
–Source: Bottom of Exponent page 56.

Namely… adverb… [first definition] that is to say;
Source: Google.com, search for definition of namely. Above retrieved most recently Sep 25, 2015.

Thus the description becomes:

The procedure used to generate the halftime measurements during Game Day was replicated. [That is to say], the Logo and Non-Logo Gauges were used.

Or in other words:

We do NOT say that we replicated the procedure; we only guarantee the same gauges were used in our simulation as were used on the day of the game.

Where the NFL/Exponent lawyers fooled themselves

Based on the above, it’s clear that the intent was to deceive without, legally speaking, lying. Unfortunately, the NFL/Exponent lawyers screwed up and allowed one important “conclusion”, the one used by the NFL to punish the Patriots, to be, legally speaking, a lie:

Experimental Simulations Conclusion

In both the Non-Logo Gauge and Logo Gauge simulations, we see that the average measurements for the Colts footballs are generally at or near the line representing the average measurements from Game Day. In contrast, all of the average measurements for the Patriots footballs generated by the simulations are noticeably higher than the line representing the average measurements from Game Day. Therefore, subject to the discovery of an as yet unidentified and unexamined factor, the measurements recorded for the Patriots footballs on Game Day do not appear to be completely explainable based on natural causes alone.

Source: Exponent report, page 61 (7 pages before the final conclusion of the report)

Recall that the lawyered-up wording I explained first (final conclusion, use of the word “within”) proves that the NFL/Exponent lawyers knew that Exponent knew that they could explain the pressure difference based on natural causes. Therefore, totally irrespective of the simulation, they knew the pressures were explainable.

The lawyered up wording described next, about the half-time part of simulation (key word “namely, exponent page 56) shows that Exponent knew the simulation did not match game-day events. Therefore Exponent knew that just because the Patriots’ game-day pressure didn’t match the simulation results doesn’t mean that the Patriots’ game-day pressure wasn’t exactly where it was supposed to be.

To make the above not a lie, legally speaking, they should have said that “we conclude that if the simulation accurately reflected reality as best we knew how to do, then the pressure difference was not completely explainable by natural causes. To be honest, they would have added: The simulation does not accurately reflect reality. When we adjust for the upward bias in our simulation, we conclude that the Patriots footballs had just the right pressure, so therefore we can tell that the Patriots did not cheat.

Legally speaking, I’m curious about this: If someone intends to intentionally deceive, but they screw up by actually stating something they had meant to trick people into believing they had stated, is that, for the purpose of an anti-defamation suit, lying. For that matter, even if they deceived without lying, is that sufficient for a public figure injured by the deception to recover damages. I hope the answer to both is “yes.”

For those looking for a quick hint as to what those factors “outside” of “game characteristics” were which explained the Patriots/Colts pressure difference:

  • Most important: When the ref finished inspecting the footballs before the game, the Colts’ footballs had more pressure than the Patriots’ footballs.
  • Almost as important: The Patriots footballs, because they were kept in a damp bag, warmed several times slower, so had several times less pressure increase per minute than would footballs freely exposed to the air. In contrast, there is no testimony that the Colts balls were kept in the bag the whole time. In fact, the pressures that were measured in the Colts balls could not have happened if the Colts balls measured were typical of 11 that had remained in the bag until tested.
  • Least-important: The Colts balls had much more time to warm up (and thus have their pressure increase) before they were measured than did the Patriots

For those interested in how the Exponent data proves the Patriots were unlikely to have cheated at all, and could not possibly cheated by an amount detectable by the testing, and could not possibly have cheated by an amount that makes a discernable difference in game play, please see the materials at www.BetterDialogue.com/DeflateGate.

The above shows strong logical evidence that Exponent knew the Patriots did not cheat. The detailed analysis on the website proves that the Exponent data proves the Patriots did not cheat.

I hope that when the pundits react, the message will be not be “yet another problem found NFL/Exponent work” but rather “Scandal over: NFL data proves the Patriots did not cheat.”

It would be misleading and lazy journalism for the headline to be merely that there is yet another problem with the Exponent report.

9/27/2105 10:30AM: Expanded title to reference pressure difference

8:16PM EDT 9/25/2015.  If there is a need for more changes, they’ll be noted in a change history added here to keep track of them.  If significant, the original version will be kept available.

Follow up to request for NY Times to reverse endorsement of Exponent science

Link to home page: www.BetterDialogue.com/DeflateGate

This follow up letter was sent to the New York Times correction department September 21, 2015 for these purposes:

  • Defeat the various reasons The Times might possibly use to not seriously consider the need for correction, including that they might argue that their article had not taken any position but merely reported on what others had said.
  • Show a new specific reporting error: The Times report said the Well’s report noted that the Colts and Patriots footballs were handled in a similar way [during halftime], when the alleged warming occurred crucial to The Times story.  Not true, which is a clue as to why The Times’ conclusion was wrong.

 

Additional, specific error in “Science works against Patriots”, and follow up

Dear corrections department,

Today I have noticed an additional, very-specific error in the article. I also wish to follow up on my previous request, because the op-ed I offered that urged you to correct the article was somewhat charitable to The Times. Outside the context of an op-ed, I want to make it clear to The Times that, understandable as it may be for the time it was written, The Times none-the-less misreported on the single most important question in the entire controversy.

The additional error:

This statement made by The Times reporter is false:

“The Colts’ game balls were handled in a similar way and did not show the same pressure drop that the Patriots’ footballs did, the report notes”.

Source: In the End, Science Works Against the Patriots”

The report did not note that.

Note that The Times’ report was particularly about half-time warming of the footballs. Kudos for realizing that such handling was critical to the science but shame for getting the fact 100% wrong.

You can read the entire report. Nowhere will you find such a statement.

You can consult the NFL-supplied testimony referenced by Exponent regarding half-time conditions. It describes that the Patriots’ balls remained in the bag until measured but makes no such assurance about the Colt’s balls. (See Exponent page 5).

Even if the four Colts’ balls tested had even been sort of “in” a bag (no data is available on that question), they were certainly freely exposed to the air (as proven by my amicus brief using Exponent data to prove it). In contrast, the average Patriot ball had not been freely exposed to air – it had remained under other cold footballs for significant time, in a damp bag that was likely closed for the first two minutes.

You can search for each instance of the whole or partial word “similar” and find no such indication. The same for each instance of the word “handled.” [Reader note part of the letter to Times: the same for each instance of the word or partial word “note”]

You will find this, which the reporter could have misinterpreted as an assertion the balls were handled the same way. Exponent bottom of page 47 leading into top of page 48:

… therefore, the tests outlined below use the Colts balls as a “control” group when evaluating and setting test parameters. In other words, because we could reasonably assume that the Colts measurements collected at halftime on Game Day were the result only of natural causes, each environmental factor was set for the purpose of our experiments at a level (within the realistic ranges provided by Paul, Weiss) that resulted in measurements for the Colts balls that matched the Game Day measurements. Aligning our experiment in such a way confirmed that the test conditions selected were a good approximation of the environmental factors on the day of the AFC Championship Game. In effect, by setting the Colts balls as the control group and selecting a range of environmental factors in which the transient measurements for the Colts balls intersect the Colts halftime measurements, we are able to concurrently assess what the Patriots measurements would be under the same conditions.

Exponent report bottom of Page 47 leading into top of Page 48, emphasis added.

Notice the conditional “would” in bold. The Exponent statement does not say that on game day the handling was similar at half time. It wasn’t – which the reporter could have proved using the Exponent report and Exponent data. Digging deeper would have allowed your reporter to resolve the scandal rather than perpetuate it.

Follow up:

I’d expect the natural human reaction at The Times would be to seek a reason to ignore this issue, so as to avoid needing to make a radical correction. Here is what is wrong with the strategies for doing that:

A) Untenable face-saving strategy: ignore this particular accusation of error because others have already complained about the conclusion in the report

Untenable because: The auto-reply email from The Times states this:

ACCURACY: If you have pointed out an error, a correction will appear on Page A2 as soon as possible. Corrections for articles in weekly sections usually appear in those sections. Because dozens of readers often point out the same error, we cannot notify each person that we are publishing a correction. Please accept our thanks now.

If we decide that a correction is not necessary, an editor will be in touch to explain our reasons.

[Emphasis added]

B) Untenable-face saving strategy: We’ve received complaints about the article before and found none to require a correction, so we lack the time to investigate yet another complaint.

Untenable because:

a) The additional correction I pointed out above to a specific point is simple and black and white and thus clearly something The Times had not looked at before.

b) I have brought a new level of credibility and specificity to the issue that surely The Times has not seen before,

c) The amount of time required to establish probable cause that my complaint is unique and worthy of investigation is small (see next point)

C) Untenable-face saving strategy: ignore this particular accusation or error because the person calling it out lacks sufficient standing to justify The Times making the effort to understand the reasoning behind the accusation.

Untenable because a) It is not complicated or time-consuming to establish probable cause for deeper analysis:

· Robert Blecker, who was interviewed by 60-Minutes Sports on DeflateGate issues, referenced my work in his op-ed. I provided his email if you need a quick sanity check.

· The concept that keeping items in a bag reduces how fast they warm up is not complicated. It is not complicated to see the evidence that in Exponent’s simulation that effect is missing. Nor is it complicated to google the definition of “namely” to understand that the test description excluded any attempt to replicate the real-day warming conditions.

Also untenable because b) I’m uniquely qualified to have my observations considered:

· I wrote the 59-page amicus brief that Judge Berman placed on the official court Docket.

· The Wall Street Journal commented on the brief.

· Noted DeflateGate speaker professor Blecker’s op-ed links to my website as proof of a vital deception related to the football warming.

· In contrast to the numerous professors who specialize in peer reviewing documents generally prepared in good faith, my line of work calls for expertize in identifying and proving intentional deceptions, usually made without directly lying, in technical work – a vital skill/interest that the professors do not generally practice and evidently lacked.

· Having class rank 2/1005 from a top school as an engineering major is a higher qualification for scrutinizing the Exponent report than merely being a professor of physics. The physics is not complicated – the issue is not physics but rather figuring out the trickery in the report.

· The professors who commented had to do so quickly, and without much peer interaction on the topic. They did not have the luxury of the extra time and perspective that I did. I’ve seen written evidence that one such professor has recanted privately.

· Unlike Professor Marlow, who you observed to be unwilling to discuss his observations, I am willing to do so in whatever detail you require.

D) Untenable face-savings strategy: claim that the story took no position but rather only reported on what others were saying.

Untenable because: If you wanted the story to be a report on what people were saying, without passing judgment on the validity of what was said, you’d have to have made several changes:

1. The title needs to be changed (“In the End, Science Works Against the Patriots”). It needs to indicate 3rd party opinion rather than a Times reporter conclusion. Examples that would have worked:

· “NFL and Experts: Science Works Against Patriots”

· “Pundits: Science Works Against Patriots”

· “NFL report claims Science Works Against Patriots”

2. The opening paragraph needs to be changed so as not to pass positive judgment on what the parties quoted said. The second sentence in the report needs to be re-worded to be clearly presented as what others are saying, rather than something the reporter has passed judgment on: “But those same laws could not save the Patriots from the conclusion that they almost certainly tampered with footballs.”

3. If you believe that the above-referenced sentence had implied context that this was merely a view that others had expressed, not one endorsed by the reporter, then it’s necessary to delete or radically alter the first sentence of the report: “The laws of physics worked in favor of the New England Patriots when a football spiraled into the arms of one of their players at the end of the Super Bowl.”. As it stands now, because that first sentence is clearly an observation and view made by the reporter rather than anyone else, that first sentence establishes a context for the paragraph that indicates that the second sentence is also a view of the reporter.

4. Third paragraph opening needs to be made conditional upon the validity of the report: “The report punctured a key assertion of some physicists around the country”. As it stands now, that sentence passes positive judgment on the idea that the report successfully defeated the assertion of the referenced physicists.

5. The concluding sentence needs to be altered: “The report seems to have confirmed his observation.” It needs instead to say “seems to those we contacted” or “alleges” or to give some other indication that the view is not endorsed by the reporter.

6. In the event you were to theorize that the use of all the other quotes in other parts of the article creates an implied context for the final sentence of the report that the reporter is merely passing along what others have said, without judgment, then the first sentence of the last paragraph needs to be deleted or radically altered. As it stands now, because that first sentence of that paragraph is an observation that the reporter is uniquely bringing into the discussion of his own judgment, the context for the final sentence is set to be a reporting of the reporter’s conclusion.

For the reasons above, I believe I’ve proven to any reasonable person that The Times reporter reported as fact that the Science, particularly regarding the warming, implicates the Patriots.

Therefore, I believe that the when a correction is issued, rather than just to say that some updates were made to the article, The Times must, at the very least, make it clear in the correction that The Times Reporter took a position that the Wells Report established that science worked against the Patriots when The Times did not intend to take a position (or now does not wish to take a position) on the validity of the Wells Report scientific argument.

Given the damage done, the moral obligation is to revisit the issue and take the right position.

E) Untenable face-saving strategy: claim that The Times report was accurate for the information available at the time.

All the information needed to reach exactly the opposite conclusion to what your reporter made was available to the reporter once he accessed the Wells report. The reporter’s mistake in endorsing the analysis was understandable, but it was a mistake.

Conclusion

The report’s mistaken headline and position caused great damage to public perception of the Patriots and Tom Brady, damage that will require much work to correct after the fact. The Times has a moral obligation to be very public in forming a new opinion of the truth and reporting it vigorously.

NY times letters: Reversal needed to claim science is against Patriots

Home page for DeflateGate: see www.BetterDialogue.com/DeflateGate

The response I eventually received from my original corrections request failed to adhere to The Times stated corrections policy.

Here is the follow up that I sent 12/18/2015:

Below is the text.  For a version with graphics, please see the pdf:

Times Follow Up Corrections Policy Not Honored
Times Follow Up Corrections Policy Not Honored
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Corrections policy not followed re: Science Against Patriots

Dear Department of Journalistic Integrity (Public@NYTimes.com),

Several weeks ago, from my other email account ######, I asked The Times to make several important corrections to “In the End, Science Works Against the Patriots” (May 6, 2015).  That includes the need to reverse the headline of the article.

The New York Times has not adhered to its corrections policy on this matter.  The policy calls for The Times to provide reasons for why corrections were unnecessary.  That never happened.

Introduction:

The Times’ article took a position that the science proved that the Patriots almost certainly cheated, something even the NFL never claimed, rather than merely reporting that others were making that claim.  That position was contingent upon the Times’ erroneous claim about what the NFL’s report has to say about how the footballs were handled during halftime. 

To prove likelihood of cheating, the NFL’s report would have had to establish that the Patriots balls had been out of the bag, so they had a decent chance to warm up before they were measured.  The Times claims that such warming was proven, and had the effect of “puncturing” the previous view that science exonerated the Patriots, a view not considering such warming.

There is no way to get from the descriptions in the report of the game-day events to the conclusion that the most of the Patriots balls were out of the bag while they awaited measurement.  If anything, the descriptions say the opposite.   Had The Times vetted the Times’ claim that the NFL’s report established that the two teams balls were handled similarly, it would have seen that a critical link that in the logic The Times attributed to the NFL’s report was broken.  Applying common sense to what is known about what was going on at half-time also indicates the opposite; there’s just no reason to believe all the balls were immediately emptied out of the bags, then put back in the bags again just before measurement.  Therefore, the balls didn’t warm much, therefore science worked for the Patriots rather than against them.

Specific issues:

The New York Times has not honored this part of its stated corrections policy:

If we decide that a correction is not necessary, an editor will be in touch to explain our reasons.

The response I received did not meet that criterion.  I presume that Ken Plutnicki is “an editor.”   If not then there’s a bigger problem: no editor response at all.  My follow-up to Ken and my follow up to the corrections department both went unanswered.

Ken Plutnicki’s several-sentence response was in reality only a denial that there were any problems with the article; he provided no facts or reasoning to refute any of the errors I pointed out.

1)      Correction needed: The Times’ article incorrectly claims that The Wells Report “notes” that  the teams’ game balls were “handled in a similar way and did not show the same pressure drop”

 “The Colts’ game balls were handled in a similar way and did not show the same pressure drop that the Patriots’ footballs did, the report notes”. 

Source:  In the End, Science Works Against the Patriots, The New York Times (online), May 6, 2015.  The “report” referred to in the above quote from The Times is the NFL’s “Wells” report, which can be found here: http://static.nfl.com/static/content/public/photo/2015/05/06/0ap3000000491381.pdf

Whether or not the report has indications that the balls were handled similarly is a different question entirely from whether the report “notes” that the balls were handled similarly. Whether or not the balls were handled similarly, the Wells report makes no direct statement that the balls were handled similarly, let alone a direct statement combining the alleged similarity of the handling with an observation about the pressure drop as The Times reported above. 

The only way to provide a “reason” for defending the article’s claim that the report “notes” that is to identify words in the report that “note” that.   Mr. Plutnicki provided me another copy of over-230-page Wells Report, even though I had implicitly shown that that I had already read it.  Providing another copy of the whole report does not provide a “reason” for how The Times could possibly have concluded that the report noted anything in particular about similarity of ball handling.  Perhaps if a simple text search for the word “similar” had led directly to such a note then it would have been sufficient to provide the document without further elaboration.  It doesn’t.

The only response I received related in any way to that point was this from Ken Plutnicki:

I would say “they were handled in a similar way” is accurate, given the description in the report

The above shows that Mr. Plutnicki has reached the conclusion that the handling was similar based on his analysis of the description in the report, rather than because the report comes right out and says this directly.

Therefore Mr. Plutnicki has essentially admitted that the article was wrong to claim that the report “notes’ that. 

Status: The Times has essentially concurred that article was in error in using the word “noted” and has thus violated its corrections policy by not issuing a correction.

Mr. Plutnicki’s response to me also made this point: “[the report] does note several times and does conclude that Exponent could not identify environmental or physical factors that account for the Patriots halftime measurements or for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls, as compared to the loss in air pressure exhibited by the Colts game balls. “

Had The Times merely reported that the NFL report claimed that the science works against the Patriots, then Mr. Plutnicki’s response would be reasonable.  But The Times made its own conclusion that the report was valid and made in good faith.  The Times made its own stronger conclusion that the Patriots almost certainly cheated – something the Wells report did not say.

As you’ll see below, the NFL’s report was not made in good faith.  Numerous examples have come to light, a few of which are evident below.  Had The Times properly examined the question of how the balls were handled, and thus how much opportunity they had to warm up, the Times would have reached the opposite conclusion.

 

2)      Correction needed: The Times’ article incorrectly asserts that The Wells Report indicates that the balls for the two teams were handled in a similar way with respect to the opportunities the balls had to warm before being measured.

Mr. Plutnicki says he believes the description indicates they were handled similarly (thus that he disagrees with me about the need for correction) but he did not give reasons for his belief.  Thus he violated the corrections policy.

If the balls had different opportunities to warm, then the argument the Times made about the Colts-Patriots pressure difference being not explainable by science fails.  The Times’ argument that the testing proved that the Patriots balls had warmed enough that they should have had more pressure than they did fails because the Patriots balls didn’t have the claimed opportunity to warm, whereas the Colt’s balls did.

The “description in the report” is silent about how the balls were handled most of the time, unless you read into it the assumption that the silence about where the balls were most of the time means that the balls had remained in the bag most of the time, between the two points in time that the description covers: when they entered the room (balls in the bag) and later immediately before each ball was measured (balls in the bag)

The Wells Report descriptions, which I provide below, establish that each ball was in a bag at two points in time, but not where the balls were in between those two points in time.  Each ball started out in the bag upon entering the locker room and was in the bag immediately before being measured.   Proof:

First, the report says at the top of page 5 of the Exponent report (which is Appendix 1 in the Wells report):

At the start of halftime, the game balls from each team were brought into the Officials Locker Room, each team’s balls in their own respective bags

Second, at the bottom of the same page:

1.      A ball was removed from the respective team’s equipment bag.

2.      This ball was measured by the first official with his gauge and the pressure reading was recorded.

3.      The same ball was handed to the next official, who made a second pressure reading with the second gauge, which was then also recorded

4.      The next ball was removed from the equipment bag and the process repeated from 1.

 

It takes an errant leap of faith in the integrity of the Wells Report to assume that had anything relevant happened to the balls between those times, the report would have noted it.

If they remained in the damp bag most of the time, then they didn’t warm up much.  The Times’ conclusion is that they had warmed up significantly, enough to, as the Times claimed, “puncture” the view that the balls were still about as cold as they had been on the field, and thus “puncture” the view that the cold temperature on the field explains the ball temperature.

If the Times is right about the description implying that the balls were handled similarly (i.e. both remained in the bag), then they didn’t warm much, so the Time’s conclusion (and the NFL’s Well’s report conclusion) is exactly opposite to the truth that Science vindicates the Patriots.

If you believe the NFL’s report was produced carefully and in good faith, then you must believe that their simulation would have accounted for how the balls were handled.  Whether they warmed much or not at half time is, as The Times so helpfully shows, the central question in determining whether Science convicts or exonerates the Patriots.   It was already known that if they didn’t warm, they had the right pressure.  The whole question of tampering or non-tampering depends on warming or lack of warming.

Therefore, if the report is good science in good faith and you believe that the description indicates similar ball handling, then you must believe that the simulations were of balls in the bag, such that the simulations would have proved that even accounting for the bag, the balls would still have warmed up significantly.  Unfortunately, this was not the case.  The simulations were of the opposite.

The simulations were of balls out in the open, not in a bag.  The report doesn’t come out and say that, but the report’s data proves it because the warming rates observed in the simulations matched so well the warming rates seen in earlier lab tests the scientists did of balls out in the open by themselves.  Common sense, and publicly viewable test results, both show that keeping balls in a bag (even a dry one) dramatically slows their warming.  See the Wikipedia page on DeflateGate, scroll or jump to the section on reactions to the Wells report, and consult the resources referenced there and linked to (via footnotes).  It’s helpful to see the graphics, which can be seen in the latest version of the amicus brief referenced in the Wikipedia article, which can be found at http://betterdialogue.com/amicus-brief-offered/

Here’s a graphic showing just how well the simulation rate of pressure rise matched the earlier experiments rate of pressure rise for balls NOT in a bag:

clip_image002

Source of graphic: Amicus brief of Robert F. Young, which explains it in more detail.

Here is where the NFL even goes so far as to comment, as if it were a good thing, that the simulation correlates so well with the earlier, not-in-a-bag experiment:

“The data sets generated by the two methods (game day simulations and the transient curves) correlate well to one another:”

Exponent, Page 59, last paragraph

The report did provide evidence that the four Colts balls measured on game-day were out of the bag.  It is thus a glaring omission for the description of the simulations to not call this out given that the description of game-day events has mention only of balls being in the bag.

The report provided no reason to believe that most of the 11 Patriots balls measured had similarly been out of the bag most of the time.  Having established through experiment that the four Colts balls (out of the 12 total) that got tested must have been out of the bag, the most reasonable inference is that a few balls for both teams must have been taken out of the bags for curiosity and for preliminary testing  that was used to develop the final test plan.   There’s no reason to infer that officials would have emptied from the bag all 11 (or 12) of the balls off both teams immediately upon entering the locker room at half time, and then put back in the bag later, and then made no mention of it in their description of what transpired.

At best, the NFL’s “scientists” made an assumption that the balls were all emptied out of the bag and then put back in later at the last second, but omitted to mention that their entire conclusion depended on this assumption.  That would still be a show of bad faith, as well as an indication that it was an arbitrary assumption, rather than the science, that lead to the conclusion that the patriots more likely than not cheated (the NFL’s position) or “almost certainly cheated”  (the NYTimes’ position)

If Times is wrong about the description, then The Time’s conclusion is invalid: the Science only establishes that guilt or innocence depends on one’s point of view about how the balls might have been handled.

The only way for the Times to have been right about both The Times’ conclusion and The Times’ understanding of the description of the ball handling is the description to indicate that for both teams the balls were all removed from the bag immediately upon entering the locker room, before being put back in the bag immediately before testing.   There’s just no reading of the description that says that.

Thus, right or wrong on what the description means, the Times’ conclusion and headline is wrong either way.

 

3)      Correction needed: The Times’ article incorrectly asserts that The Wells Report (and in particular the Exponent report appendix to it) “punctured” the key assertion of physicists that claimed the science supported the Patriots.

 

Because the Wells Report did not establish that the Patriots footballs on game day had the opportunity to warm significantly before being measured (see above), the following assertion made by The Times needs to be retracted:

 

The report punctured a key assertion of some physicists around the country who believed that the temperature difference between the locker room, where the balls were inflated, and the playing field could provide an innocent explanation for the pressure drop.

 

As shown above, the simulation was of balls out of a bag, warming significantly, but the report did not establish that on game-day the actual footballs were out of the bag.

If most Patriot footballs had indeed remained together in the damp bag, then their warming would be dramatically slowed.  Therefore, the Wells report does not actually “puncture” the view that the science fully explained the Patriots ball pressure.

Even the slightest slow-down in warming, relative to Exponent’s out-of-the-bag simulation, drops the middle “simulation” point into the range of measurement uncertainty, making the observed pressure difference entirely explainable by science, thus contradicting The Times assertions that the science showed that the Patriots almost certainly cheated. Below is a graphic illustration of that point, taken from my amicus brief which can be found on district court docket.

clip_image003

Source of graphic: Amicus brief of Robert F. Young, which justifies it in more detail.

 

4)      Correction needed: Contrary to The Times’ claim, the data does not show that the Patriots almost certainly cheated.

This assertion by The Times is wrong for the same reasons that The Times’ “punctured” assertion discussed above is wrong.

5)      Correction needed: Contrary to The Times’ claim, science did not work against the Patriots. (It worked for the Patriots)

Even using the flawed Figure 30 (the grand finale of the conclusion that science didn’t explain the Patriots pressure, adjusting for the damp bag dramatically slowing warming (shown in the below figure 11) is sufficient to show that science supports the Patriots:

clip_image004

Source of graphic: Amicus brief of Robert F. Young, which justifies it in more detail.

Making matters worse, the simulation depicted above in Exponent’s figure 30 were based on an assumption that the pre-game locker-room temperature was 67, even though Exponent knew that it was physically impossible for the air to have been that cold in the locker room on game day. (They selected the coldest indoor reading they could find on a cold day – despite that game-day was mild in comparison, a fact that would not have been lost on Exponent.)   Also, the balls would not have been able to reach equilibrium at the coldest temperature in the room – that would have taken too long compared to how long the balls were in the room – something Exponents extensive testing also proved.

Having established that the simulation was made in bad faith using a temperature that is too low, one then needs to adjust expectations.  As Exponent showed, the warmer the air in the pre-game locker room, the lower the resulting half-time pressure.   Exponent’s data shows that even a couple degrees make a 0.1 PSI difference.  Thus a good faith simulation would have resulted in the red dots being 0.1 PSI lower, and thus the green dotted lines also being 0.1psi lower.   With that adjustment, there’s just no way to explain the average Patriots ball pressure OTHER than to conclude that no air was removed from them.  And thus the Science supports the Patriots.

As for the notion that the ref misremembered which gauge was used, that is not a matter of science but of flawed logic.  Exponent’s implicit suggestion that teams would want to avoid a gauge that over-reads more than a gauge that is merely inaccurate is laughable.   Central to the cheating hypothesis is the idea that teams want to find ways to get away with putting less air in the ball.  A gauge that over-reads helps that alleged goal rather than hinders it.  Exponent’s implicit suggestion that teams were especially concerned with gauge accuracy such that they would have calibrated their gauges and thus avoided imprecise ones is laughable.  The “testing” claimed by Exponent to indicate that it was highly unlikely the ref used the gauge he said he did is based on the decision by Exponent to procure for testing only gauges identical to the one the ref said he did not use.  Had Exponent done the opposite, their “testing” would have indicated that the gauge the ref said was not used was the unusual one.

If The Times wished to assert that it was almost certain that the ref was wrong about which gauge was used, the Times would be responsible for examining and commenting on that question.  Had The Times put much effort into that, the Times would know that Exponent could not possibly have actually believed the reasons they advanced for why the ref would be wrong about which gauge the ref used.

 

6)      Correction needed: Disclose professor Marlow’s lack of independence: he was paid by the NFL.

The Times article puts great weight on the opinion of Professor Marlow.  The article did not disclose that Professor Marlow was paid by the NFL to render his opinion.  With the NFL having paid millions for the report, and invested PR in attacking the Patriots, the NFL is clearly motivated to defend the report.  Journalistic integrity seems to require reporters to note if experts relied upon in their article have been paid by a party that that has motivation to have a particular opinion supported.  I asserted that the article erred in not disclosing that the NFL paid Professor Marlow.  I’ve received no response from The Times that makes any reference, direct or indirect, to this issue.

Conclusion:

Through misreporting about what The NFL’s report said about ball handling, The Times implies that information about the Colt’s balls sheds some light on the question whether the Patriots balls did or did not warm significantly between entering the locker room at cold-field temperature and later being measured.   This misreporting drives The Times to the opposite conclusion to what it should have made.

 

PREVIOUS LETTERS:

Sent 1:30 PM, September 18, 2015.  Posted to this page 9/25/2015

Related: 9/21/2015 Follow up letter with additional correction needed, including addressing any reasons The Times might consider for ignoring the request.

Related: 9/26 follow up letter with yet more evidence, including that Exponent never claimed Pats/Colts pressure difference was unexplained, and journalistic integrity concerns and call to action.

Note: the below was written to be charitable to The Times, giving them an “out” to change their story and blame their mistake on the NFL.  The more I’ve looked, the more I’ve realized that in addition to missing the NFL deception (which is understandable), there were other errors and it was just plain bad journalism.  I believe the Times already knows the reporter was bad: since the story, he’s only written one other article (as of 9/24/2015), and his voice mailbox says he is in the investigations department, rather than that he is a reporter.  All the more reason to be concerned that The Times is acting improperly in delaying retraction of the story.

Dear New York Times editors, corrections department, and op-ed department,

Please print this as a letter or op-ed and act upon it by issuing a correction to your 5/6/2015 story.

Subject: Gas law and NY Times role in football history

I believe The Times has a moral obligation to issue a dramatic update to an important (to football) story even though the public’s focus has since moved on.
James Glanz’ May 6, 2015 report: “In the End, Science Works Against the Patriots” was excellent rapid-reporting for the time, but needs a complete reversal in light of the information provided here.

Mr. Glanz made an important observation: Based on Exponent’s work, due to warming at half time, the gas law indicates that the Patriots’ footballs should have had more pressure than they did.  Glanz mostly reported on what others said, but his title and conclusion puts the Times credibility behind the warming point.  That point has stood up well, until now.

It has since emerged that the NFL and Exponent created various deceptions.  The best public focus on that has been from Professor Robert Blecker in his 8/31/2015 wbur.org Cognoscenti op-ed, false appearance of guilt and his interview by 60-minutes-sports.

Therefore, it is no longer appropriate to trust Exponent’s integrity with regard to the half-time warming; instead one must scrutinize their report to look for deceptions.

Through clever use of the word “namely” in their test description, Exponent never actually claimed to have made any attempt to simulate the warming properly.  That’s deceptive but not a lie.  The outright lie was Exponent claiming to be unable to 100% explain the Patriots’ ball pressure (Exponent page 61, Experimental Simulations Conclusion).

Comparing Exponent’s earlier, table-top, single-football lab test to their later, full game-day “simulation” proves that in their half-time “simulation,” Exponent freely exposed the balls to room air so that they warmed exactly as fast as occurred in the earlier table-top experiment with a single ball in the open.  Exponent did that even though Exponent documented that on game-day the cold, damp footballs had remained together in a bag.  Furthermore, video and Exponent-documented game-day conditions show that the bag was damp.

Adjusting for the effect of the bag removes most of the claimed warming.  The result:  the Patriots’ average pressure was exactly what it was supposed to be – it was fully explained by the gas law, the ref’s reporting of which gauge was used, the NFL witness testimony on when measurements were made, and the known game-day conditions together with all other aspects of Exponent’s work.

Exponent’s conclusion was a lie rather than an error.  Exponent knew of the issues: they commented on the correlation between the two different experiments.  In contrast, they surely had the sense to know that keeping cold groceries in a bag slows their warming, and that the same applies to footballs.  They knew their two different experiments should have produced two very different warming rates.  They knew that their simulation didn’t match reality.  They worded their test description in a way that nobody would do except to hide the issue.

More detailed proof, including the amicus brief Judge Berman posted to the docket, can be found at www.BetterDialogue.com/DeflateGate.

Even to a deflate-fatigued public, this is big football news: The NFL/Exponent cheated and the Patriots did not.  Scrutinizing Exponent’s document proves it.

An appropriate update from The Times will set in motion a course of events that will restore the Patriots draft picks, changing football history, as well as changing public perception of history.