SPOILER alert. This post exposes some of the surprises in the book, although not how they were discovered and proven.
It outlines some key aspects of the proof for the Patriots and against the NFL. It’s intended to help the press recognize that this is very credible, never-before-reported information.
The NFL’s case was based on an un-stated, unchallenged, and untrue assumption that the Patriots stored their footballs in the referee’s shower. The balls were tested in there, but it was the officials who took the footballs into the shower area just two minutes before the average ball was approved. (See video explanation.) Contrary to what the NFL’s report falsely assumed, the footballs had very little time to cool down to the very-slightly cooler shower area temperature on game day before the referee approved them. The press never picked up on this because you had to read very carefully to verify that this is what happened. The scientists who critiqued the NFL were looking for biased spin in the science, rather than black-and-white dishonesty, so they missed it too.
Through that dishonest assumption, the NFL’s final simulation started at a temperature five degrees lower than what really happened on game day. Therefore, if they’d started their simulation with the right temperature, the results would have been 0.25 psi slower, exactly matching the actual average pressure on game day.
To distract you from scrutinizing that final simulation, the NFL pretended to disbelieve the referee’s claim of having used the same gauge he’d been using for years, the one with the needle twice as long, after the NFL had asked him before hand to be sure to follow his normal process. That allowed the NFL to falsely pretend that the second-to-last simulation was the one that applied on game day. To pretend to disbelieve the ref about the gauge, they had to also disbelieve six witnesses to the halftime events about the order things were done at half time. The press didn’t notice that it had been his gauge for years and that there were six witnesses ignored. Had they known that the final simulation, when corrected, shows innocence, the press would have drilled down on this. The press was overwhelmed with the NFL’s deceptions.
The NFL pretended that it was more likely for the referee and those other witnesses to be wrong than it was for the Patriots to have been innocent. For that reason, Deflategate wasn’t about what McNally did in the bathroom, it was about what the NFL’s Mr. Riveron did in the dressing area. The NFL’s Wells Report said Riveron went there, but not why or what he did there. Ted Wells accidentally revealed what Riveron had done, without knowing he had revealed it. Brady’s lawyers missed it. It solved a great number of mysteries. Riveron was not the idiot the NFL made him appear. His data was sufficient to remove all uncertainty. They didn’t even need to ask the referee which gauge he’s used because Riveron’s’ data told them the same thing the referee told them. So the NFL hid important data and obscured other data.
The final proof of innocence is more difficult than just checking the simulation results because the NFL’s scientists sneakily disavowed having made any attempt to simulate what they believe really happened during the ball inspection process at halftime. Even so, the press never reported on what the simulation, if it meant anything, really meant.
The NFL creatively hid so many things that it couldn’t have been an accident.
Biggest breadcrumb: The report says that game-day investigator Al Riveron took the intercepted ball into the dressing area but never says why that mattered or what he did there. During the internal appeal hearing, character-assassination hit-man Ted Wells accidentally revealed what Riveron did there, but probably didn’t realize he’d revealed it. Tom Brady’s lawyers certainly didn’t.
Biggest fake science: A 3D laser scanner test claimed that footballs’ volumes stay constant, but in reality the test avoided any before/after comparison of a dry ball brought into humid air.
Most blatant false simulation: The final simulation used a starting temperature that the investigators knew could not possibly have been the true temperature on the day of the game.
Biggest failure to scrub data hard enough: The scientists had other data showing that the football expands a lot when exposed to moisture, showing in that test more lost pressure than what was allegedly inexplicably missing in their final simulation. They failed to delete from their report the data that proved this.
Sneakiest wording: The report appears to say that they tried to simulate what really happened at halftime, but actually disavows any such claim. Honorable mention: Their final conclusion appears to say the Colts-Patriots pressure loss difference in the recorded halftime measurements was unexplained, but really says only that the outdoor events didn’t explain the difference, leaving open the possibility that the different handling indoors at halftime was the sole cause of the difference.
Most bizarre perjury: They arranged to ask their scientist a question about their objectivity. They limited the scope of the question to “at the outset”, thereby pre-arranging to sneakily avoid claiming to have been objective during the weeks of testing to be discussed under oath. But the scientist sold the deception too hard, making an open ended claim of objectivity, thus committing perjury.
Strangest false implication: The NFL’s case was based on an un-stated, unchallenged, and untrue assumption that the Patriots stored their footballs in the referee’s shower. The balls were tested in there, but it was the officials that took the footballs there, and only for 2 minutes, thus not enough time for he balls to adjust to the temperature there. The report omitted the question to the ref of “where were the footballs when you first saw them” and instead asked “when did you first see them”, which was just after giving a urine sample. A footnote provided enough information about the layout of the room to show that he was facing away from the shower when he was returning from giving his urine sample.
Strangest twist: The NFL and their scientists conspired to hide a known and correctable split-personality issue with the so-called “accurate” gauge that made it less trustworthy to the user: it would contradict itself in a predictable fashion. Hiding this fact helped create a false perception of imprecision about the actual pressures on game day and helped exaggerate the apparent pressure loss. Most importantly, it helped hide a red flag: the measurements that the report indicated were made by Mr. Daniel, in the sitting area, four minutes after the intercepted ball came inside, using the Patriots gauge, could not have used that gauge. In in reality, as indicated based on Ted Wells’ accidental leaks, they were really by Mr. Riveron, in the dressing area, eight minutes after the ball came inside, using the referee’s gauges, the first gauge making the first two recorded measurements, which were contradictory in just the way the gauge was seen to have a split personality problem, suddenly shifting from a higher-reading mode to a lower-reading mode.
Strangest refusal to believe witnesses: The NFL initially leaked to the press that most footballs were about 10.5 psi – 2 psi short of what the rules called for. They told the Patriots that one ball measured 10.1. Later the NFL denied these things, disbelieving their own Mr. Gardi’s accounts of having heard these things from the on-site investigators. Why deny what seemed like the lowest pressures, and thus the most damning evidence? Because the witness knew these were unrecorded measurements made immediately when the balls came inside, and that the Colts balls when first checked were close to 11 psi – a drop of the same 2 psi from where the Colts balls started at 13 psi.
Biggest basic science miss by the NFL and its critics: The rain chills the ball bag, so the air in the ball bag is cooler than the outside air temperature. It’s easy to look up the air temperature in the bag. It’s called the wet-bulb temperature.
There are about 45 other notable deceptions in the NFL’s report – too many to be an accident. The efforts to hide the truth, some of it quite creative, prove that the investigators knew the meaning of the data they were hiding.
This and much more is heavily documented in the book “Catching the Accusers.” It’s a true-life detective story. The data sources and calculations are further documented on a spreadsheet available at www.CatchingTheAccusers.com.