After all this time, the Wells Report on the underinflated footballs in the AFC Championship game was finally released.

The league allowed Robert Kraft and the Patriots the courtesy of a preemptive statement on the report, the contents of which did not please Mr Kraft, or anyone who is a fan of the Patriots.

The basic conclusion of the report is that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) were responsible for the PSI levels of the footballs, and that it is “more probable than not” (51-49?) that Brady was aware of what they were doing. But they have no evidence of anything. Lots of text messages, which will provide endless fodder, but no evidence.

Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft, the rest of the coaches, and the Head Equipment manager were cleared of any wrongdoing.

Punishment for Brady (and others) could be forthcoming from the league offices.

I’m sure there will be more dissection and discussion about this report than we can possibly handle forthcoming in the next few days and weeks. Buckle in.

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70 thoughts on “Wells Report Points Finger at Tom Brady, Equipment Lackeys

  1. I’m already tired of this.

    What I’m wondering is whether the NFL will even try to penalize Brady. Ultimately, if they do, it will be based solely on an inference drawn from text messages on employee phones. I have to think the union would STRONGLY object to any penalties assessed on that level of evidence, assuming that the commissioner even has the power to assess that sort of penalty under the CBA.

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    1. There is no way, absolutely no way, the NFLPA is allowing Brady to take this lying down. If Commissioner Incompetent fines and/or suspends him based on a report that basically says, “well, we have no concrete proof but we think he did something wrong,” then it’s on. The “evidence” here is very flimsy and at best circumstantial. Moreover, if some of the Saints players could be exonerated in the Bountygate thing by Tagliabue, after the fact, then there’s no way any penalties against Brady will stick after appeal, unless Wells is prepared to introduce some actual, hard evidence. Kraft is bound by league rules not to fight back; Brady isn’t.

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      1. Goodell will suspend Brady to show he’s not Kraft’s toady, the union will appeal, and it will be rescinded. Goodell will be able to say he tried.

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        1. I don’t think so. I think Tony is right. The NFLPA is looking for a fight with Goodell. They are looking for leverage. What better cause than to back Poster Boy Tom Brady in a case where there is absolutely no evidence…no smoking gun…nothing. Maybe Brady gets a fine…if so he may pay it to get this behind him or he may fight it on principle. Either way Goodell should never have allowed the Wells report to be made public.

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      1. That’s actually the worst thing they could do. The phone is clearly Brady’s personal phone (i.e. not provided by the team), or else it would have been turned over. There’s just no way that the CBA would allow the NFL — who, mind you, is NOT Tom Brady’s employer — to demand his personal property w/r/t an investigation of his employer (which is what this is). The non-union employees of the NFL-member team are a different story entirely.

        If the NFL tried to penalize Brady explicitly for refusing to surrender his phone, the NFLPA would be filing an arbitration request within seconds, because that’s almost certainly a gross violation of the CBA. To even request his phone, the NFL would need to begin a formal proceeding against BRADY, and not the Pats, and follow the requirements outlined under the CBA to pursue a disciplinary action against a player.

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  2. I don’t think it’s right to say they have “no evidence of anything.”

    There is definitely some evidence.

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    1. No as best I can tell from reading through the parts I have seen…all they have is a guy taking the balls into a bathroom for 90 seconds. They have an awful lot of assumptions. They think they have some sort of smoking gun. They incorrectly think they have rebutted the science. Here is what they did not resolve:

      – Why is Walt Anderson’s memory taken as gospel. We do not know for sure what any of the Pats or Colts balls measured prior to the game starting.

      – If Anderson was so incensed by the missing balls prior to the game…when they were found why didn’t he regauge them? If he did not do it…could a person make the equally logical assumption that he did not suspect the balls were under inflated when the first half started?

      – If the Pats balls were all measured twice at half time and two different readings were found…why weren’t all of the Colts balls also measured. Further, why weren’t questions asked at half time as to why the first half was played with under inflated balls?

      – Where did the leaks come from especially the Mortensen leak.

      – Why was there no mention of the NFL employee who was fired for stealing balls meant for charity.

      – How is it that a phone call from Tom Brady to the equipment guy after Brady finds out about the controversy is federal offense. If he was telling the truth, that he did not know about the deflation, wouldn’t it make sense that he called the equipment manager to found out what happened? Why does Wells not consider that an option.

      – How do you get to dismiss Physics out right and not have your credibility questioned?

      There are a lot of other questions I have. I maintain that this whole debacle is a black eye for the league. The Jets got a $100K fine for tampering with Darell Revis…a far more egregious act that the Pats allegedly tampering with 1 or 2 PSI of footballs. The more this stays a national story…the more of a joke I think Goddell becomes.

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  3. Is John Jastremski the guy that Pitino referred to his infamous rant?

    “I was here when Jastremski (sic) was booed”

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  4. Lots and lots of assumptions in that report. Lots. The “evidence” is mostly circumstantial and unprovable as well. In the end, Wells did what Goodell asked him to do: he cleared the NFL offices of any wrongdoing and gave the media sharks just enough Patriot-stained blood to keep them happy, while operating under the guise of “independence.” He wasn’t able to give them the head of Bill Belichick on a silver platter, which is what they really want, but maybe next January some team will cook up another accusation against the Pats that needs to be seriously “investigated,” and some memo that BB wrote as a gofer for the (Baltimore) Colts back in ’75, or a video tape he made as DC of the Giants back in ’85, can be used to finally hang him from the media’s long noose. JOKE.

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    1. Can we start a GoFundMe campaign for a bounty to whoever finds a case of Woody Paige plagiarizing? Because we know he’s done it.

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  5. Funny:

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    1. I have a better theory why he wouldn’t turn his phone over- Giselle selfies.

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  6. Never was the difference between the two PM drive shows more apparent than today – on the one hand you have Felger spewing what he was spewing with the Echo in the corner “You’re absolutely right, Mike!! And let me take your opinion and add my own outrageous remark to it!” And on WEEI you had Dale and his indignation vs Jerry and his unbridled homerism, with Holley playing the middle, sometimes siding with Dale, sometimes with Jerry. But the biggest takeaway was at least the listener had a side to CHOOSE, unlike the two boobs on 98.5. Differing opinions or YARM. Three hosts arguing and having conversation or two idiots yelling and agreeing, and occasionally asking Jim Murray to offer a two sentence rebuttal to them every 20-30 minutes.

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  7. Brady 4 game suspension.
    Return 10/18 @ Indianapolis 8:30 prime time NBC
    Lay the points. Take the over.
    Buy Comcast stock.

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    1. Yeah, well I’ll one-up your prediction: Jimmy G. will lead the Patriots to a 4-0 record (averaging 41 pts per game) and then Belichick will bench Brady for the rest of the Super Bowl-winning season before trading Brady to Buffalo for a 1st round pick. Ha!

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      1. If that is the case, then this is the media gift that keeps on giving …

        “Tony, the team was 4-0 without Brady in there. Brady is going to be 40 in three years. Fact not opinion. It should be Garoppolo’s job to lose.”

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      2. ….and then that 1st rounder will be taken away for the next TBD offense…it is a truly perfect circle that we are witnessing.

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  8. I’m so mad about all of this. I want the Boston Sports media to turn into a pack of hyena’s and reveal every dirty dealing about every team the Patriots play this season. I want scorched earth on Patriots opponents, no more off the record, no more every media member knows but none will say it publicly. Air all their dirty laundry. This was 100% pure witch-hunt based on jealousy and the other teams need to feel the pain. I want blood.

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        1. See my note above. Known-plagiarist (and cripple-beater) Ron Borges is apoplectic over this and is now questioning Brady’s status as a first-ballot HOF selection. There truly are no words….

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    1. 90% of the local media is very biased against the team. The few who report it like it is like Curran and Reiss get slammed as being toadies. You honestly the local media is going to do any of that?

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  9. It appears to me Phil Perry of CSSNE has the best take on what happened.

    http://www.csnne.com/new-england-patriots/wells-report-an-insult-to-tom-brady-and-new-england-patriots

    The question is will anyone else take the time and thought that would accompany reading the whole Wells report and then reach the appropriate conclusion Perry does.

    The problem with Goodell and Wells is that they are Lawyers paid by the hour (no offense Dave R). Their job is the nuance of language. They are paid for opinions rather than decisions. They couch terms in the subjective voice, “if’s, maybe’s, possible, could have’s” when they are faced with no direct evidence because they have to say some thing without actually saying anything. As such they insinuate to fit agendas.

    Wells report does not seem to me to be anything other than an exercise in legal speak. It is exactly the wrong thing the NFL should have produced. Its clear there is no evidence the balls were tampered with to give the Patriots an unfair advantage. There is evidence that the NFL’s policy for dealing with the balls is ridiculously bad.

    The simplest solution is to change the rule to this. All balls will be new out of the box, inflated to 13 lbs by the NFL. They can then control all the balls into the game. If the ball is too slick so what. To insinuate the Pats were running a ball deflation racket to gain an advantage, one that deserved the several hundred thousands of dollars paid to investigate it, when it is clear the officials were inconsistent with their duties, which is on the NFL…is what will enrage all NE fans over the next few months.

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    1. Good article; thanks for the link. Two things:

      That Brady wanted his footballs inflated to the lowest possible LEGAL level is obvious.

      That the officials inflated a ball to (an illegal) 16 shows that the NFL didn’t give a crap about psi levels.

      Oh, three things – this entire “controvesy” is so absurd it defies logic.

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  10. To quote Sgt. Lincoln Ossiris: the media has gone full retard over this, despite the fact that the report, as flawed as it is, CLEARLY admits that there is no proof Brady and the Pats did anything wrong, and that it is only an opinion — which is exactly what this report is, one gigantic pile of pre-conceived notions and opinions — is that something illegal was done. Borges, the known plagiarist, is already questioning Brady’s status as a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. Nice measuring stick there—a confirmed plagiarist passing judgment on a guy who maybe, possibly, could have but we don’t really know, committed a minor rules violation….maybe. What kills me is that there are still media morons out there calling for BELICHICK to be punished as well, despite the fact that the report at least got one thing right: BB had nothing to do with anything. As Rich Levine said in his CSSNE column today: confirmation bias is a powerful drug, for both the NFL and Ted Wells, and for the anti-BB/Patriots media. Goodell deserves to go down for this, he really does. This “report” was about as fair and “independent” as the “trial” the Germans staged for the Valkyrie conspirators in the summer of ’44.

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    1. Full retard is being kind. This is generating 100x the outrage that Ray Rice and Greg Hardy did.

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  11. Not a good day to be on twitter or listen to the radio. There is a lot of stupid going around.

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  12. If this doesn’t sum up the reaction and how so many hate the team:

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  13. I thought Holley had the best take yesterday, the bottom line is that it’s upsetting because it was unnecessary. Does any logical thinking person really believe that the Pats would not have won any game due to the air pressure being slightly lower? All this means is that if you’re a Pats fan it’s another BS excuse that some other teams fan with use against you. But here’s the kicker, I don’t care what other people think. I
    believe that both spygate and deflategate had about as much to do with the Patriots winning as Saturn’s orbit around the sun. Reasonable people, with time, will also come to the same conclusion.

    The biggest laugh to me is all the righteous indignation out there. Everybody’s team is doing something. If you don’t believe that I’d love to know what color the sky is in your world. Adderall, steroids, stickum, salary cap, cocaine, and, possibly the most hilarious, deer antler spray have all been used by other teams on their way to Super Bowl victories. I believe Herr Felger has said many times he thinks at least half of the NFL is on HGH, but suddenly I’m supposed to be upset about the air in the ball? Grow up people, this isn’t Fantasyland, it’s a business. And in business if you’re not looking for a competitive edge, you’ll soon be looking for a new job

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  14. Don Yee is my new favorite agent. To be honest I always held him in high regard prior as his clients are always well represented, get paid well, but don’t cause their teams headaches.

    His statement was brilliant:

    http://www.csnne.com/new-england-patriots/tom-brady-agent-hammers-wells-report-lack-credibility

    He is putting the NFL on notice that his client is not and does not accept the innuendo and pseudo finding found int he Wells report. I think this statement coupled with Kraft’s statement is putting Goodell on notice that Brady is not going to accept being the fall guy in all this.

    There is no evidence Brady did anything wrong. There is evidence that Brady likes the footballs inflated to 12.5 PSI. There is evidence that the officials over inflated balls in prior games and that the Pats equipment guys wanted to make sure the balls were inflated softly. There are no checks and balances.in the handling of the footballs. Instead it is just keystone cops.

    The real villain in all this should be Walt Anderson who was incompetent. If he thought the Pats were tinkering with the footballs he should have checked them on the field after they were “found”. Further, Wells takes his word as gold…and we are to believe that Anderson was so upset that the balls were missing “agitated” was the word used prior to the game that when they were found he did not check them? Anderson did not know if he checked the Pats balls or the Colts balls first but he knew that the exact PSI of all 12 Pats and Colts balls. Sorry…not buying it and neither should Yee.

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    1. Michael Silver has been trolling Yee all day about releasing the info he claims to have. I hope he does and it clears Brady.

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      1. Silver’s another gem. He’s a Bay Area guy, I think, and so I suspect at one time or another he was a Raiders fan. I know for a fact that he’s been a “Tuck Rule Truther” for the last 14 years. That alone invalidates any and all criticisms he may have of the Patriots. Does he actually think that Yee, a lawyer (I presume), would make a statement like that and not have anything to back it up? What does Silver think Yee is, a journalist or something?

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  15. “Well, your honor, we have plenty of hearsay and conjecture. Those are kinds of evidence.”
    Who authored this report, Ted Wells or Lionel Hutz?

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    1. It’s the most glaring case of false advertising since Wells’ OWN case against the film “The Never-Ending Story.” 🙂

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  16. Pete Prisco, perhaps THE dumbest national NFL writer out there, Tweeted something about how Peyton Manning would have been treated “worse than Golden Boy Tom” had Manning been the subject of this “investigation.” First of all Pete, Manning NEVER would have been the subject of an investigation like this because media asshats like you have fallen on their swords to protect him from any and all criticisms over the course of his entire 17-year career, and so any accusations against Manning vis a vis deflated footballs would have been swept under the rug…and quickly. What in the holy hell is he smoking? The media truly lives in a world of their own making; a world totally detached from reality.

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    1. Just look at the incident with him not appearing on the injury report.

      Media basically swept that under.

      Another person who just screwed with that process has lawsuits against him.

      It’s one thing to “bend” NFL rules. It’s another when you do it to Vegas/gamblers..

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  17. It was also ‘more probable than not’ that O.J. Simpson committed those murders.

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    1. The lawsuit that the Goldman family won against Simpson was (like virtually all civil lawsuits in the US) decided on a “more probable than not” basis. It’s not like “more probable than not” is some wild and crazy thing the NFL has made up for itself.

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  18. Thanks to TB12 and the Wells report, Seldom Straight is trending NATIONALLY on Twitter for the first and last time ever in the history of the existence of the institution.

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  19. Felger is in hog heaven this week. He’s going on and on now about how
    “Belichick got off easy” and “This wasn’t just Brady.” It’s amazing, it really is. Even though the report found nothing concrete to even pin something on Brady, Felger is saying BB was somehow involved. Mind you, after this “scandal” broke, Pete Carroll, the opposing coach in the upcoming Super Bowl, was asked about it, and his reaction was that he had “no clue” as to how the Seahawks equipment staff and QBs prepared their footballs before a game. I would assume that Pete’s answer is the exact same answer the other 30 head coaches in the NFL would give. It’s just not something the head coach concerns himself with; he’s got a LOT more important things to worry about. I swear, someone is going to pop Felger in the mouth one of these days, and I will not feel the least bit sorry for him. Effin’ tool.

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    1. Holley said it best yesterday – certain guys (Shaunessey) will accept the Wells Report in full but then turn around and question it because it doesn’t punish Belichick too? You want it both ways?

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    1. This is a fascinating story because as best I can tell it is the most analogous to what the Patriots are alleged to have done.

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      1. Goes back to what Michael Hurley tweeted. The difference in “outrage” is absolutely insane. You would have thought Brady murdered 10k baby seals, crashed 10 Exxon Valdez, and stole candy from thousands of babies.

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        1. It would be like eating an entire meal with Grandmother and only using your salad fork. Trust me…you would hear about that for 30 years. Its all about perspective.

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  20. While not super Boston media related at this point, it just broke that Simmons will be leaving ESPN.

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  21. Tim Hasselbeck on with D&C&M this morning and it just further illustrated how utterly insane the national media is over this. He sounded like every other media member who just skimmed the report. Read the cliffs notes. ESPN just breeds stupid. Really miss Boomer on with D&C.

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  22. You know what I find to be a very interesting “nugget” in this report? The email from the Colts’ equipment guy to the NFL prior to the AFCCG stating that “it’s well known around the league (sic) that the Patriots deflate footballs after the refs inspect them (sic)”……which, by the way, was another lie by the NFL that was omitted from the report. Dean Blandino, in January, denied any knowledge of “suspicions” about the footballs prior to the AFCCG, but the report says he was CC’d on the email from the Indy equipment guy that went out a week before the game. Nice white-wash by Wells there. Anyway, the report then states that the Indy equipment guy, Sullivan, provided no evidence to backup his claim about the Patriots deflating footballs and that it was “well known” around the league. Still, the NFL went ahead and allowed the “sting” operation (yes, that’s what it was Mr. Wells) to happen anyway. Now, turn back the clock to January 2007. It’s the week before that infamous AFC title game at Indianapolis, and let’s say a member of the Patriots’ staff emails the league office and states: “It’s well known around the league that the Colts pump-in fake crowd noise during games at the RCA Dome in order to interfere with the opposing club’s ability to run its offense effectively.” Isn’t that EXACTLY the same type of situation? Would the NFL have tried to catch RCA Dome personnel “in the act” of pumping in fake crowd noise? I think we can all answer that question, since Polian was basically running the Competition Committee at the time, Saint Dungy was their head coach, and the league’s (and media’s) favorite Manning boy was the face of the franchise. This thing should NEVER have been allowed to happen the way it did. If another team has a beef and complains about it to the NFL, then the NFL has an obligation to warn the team being accused (privately warn them) that they need to stop whatever they’re doing, if, in fact, they are doing it. I still don’t believe anything nefarious went on. I think weather does explain everything, despite what the hatchet job of a report says. Still, how about showing a little professional courtesy to one of your own, NFL? Or is this really all about cutting the Patriots down to size because many of the other 31 franchises are jealous and full of hate? GOODELL MUST GO.

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      1. What’s really hilarious is that what these crybabies around the NFL call “cheating” today would have been laughed at…literally…by the league office AND most other teams about a decade/decade-and-a-half ago. For the love of God, the NFL Network itself routinely runs old clip of former Raiders stating that they had signs in their clubhouse during the glory days which read: “Raider Rule #1, Cheating is Encouraged; Raider Rule #2, See Raider Rule #1”. And what’s the reaction to that? Aw, shucks, that Al Davis, what a “maverick” he was. He had the ballz to challenge authority. He was a “rebel”. In other words, Al was a lovable scoundrel and if his team bent the rules a bit, well, it was just gamesmanship and it was “just football.” The NFL has become a complete joke.

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