Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Case Against Tom Brady


The Case Against Tom Brady

Or, Why The Ideal Gas Law is a Crock
by
Mike Bara



 Background
Since January of 2015, shortly before Super Bowl 49, football fans have been dealing with something called “Deflategate,” the accusation that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady knew of and/or directed a scheme to deflate footballs used by the Patriots in NFL football games. Specifically, the game in question was the 2015 AFC Championship Game played in New England’s Gillette Stadium in January, 2015. After an investigation (The “Wells Report”) determined that it was “more probable than not” that Brady was “at least generally aware” of a scheme by his equipment managers to deflate footballs below the 12.5 PSI minimum allowed by NFL rules, Brady was suspended without pay for the first 4 games of the 2015 NFL season. The Patriots were also fined $1 million dollars and docked two draft picks, including a highly valuable 1st round pick which would have been the 29th overall selection in the 2016 NFL draft. After a private meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Patriots owner Robert Kraft announced that he would not oppose the penalties imposed by the commissioner. Brady’s appeal to the commissioner, Roger Goodell, was subsequently denied. The union, the NFL Players Association, then went to federal court where a judge with well-known union ties, Richard Berman, overturned the suspension on several legal technicalities. Among these was that Brady should have been specifically informed that illegally tampering with the equipment used in NFL football games was regarded as “cheating.” Berman’s decision was widely criticized by legal scholars as biased and legally baseless, and in late April, 2016 it was overturned on appeal by a 3-judge panel which agreed with the NFL that it had no legal basis in fact. That decision was upheld on appeal on July 12th, 2016. Neither of the court cases dealt with the evidence that Brady had knowingly engaged in a conspiracy to deflate the footballs, only with whether he had received a “fair hearing” from the commissioner. Brady and the NFLPA have stated they will appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court but as things stand his 4-game suspension has been reinstated and will be served the first four weeks of the 2016 NFL season.

Shortly after the story broke on the Sunday night after the 2015 AFCCG, Brady held a press conference commonly known as the “Pinocchio briefing” in which he seemed nervous and agitated but denied any wrongdoing in vague, leagal-esque terms. Asked directly if he was a cheater, Brady replied meekly, “I don’t believe so.” That is legalese for “yeah I did it but I don’t think you can catch me.”

After the press conference, ESPN’s Mark Brunnell, a former Pro Bowl quarterback, said flatly “I did not believe him.” Hall of Fame quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Dan Marino also stated they did not find his denials credible, pointing out that NFL quarterbacks always know everything about their equipment, especially game balls, and can easily tell the difference in a ball deflated by even 1 PSI below the spec. Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe concurred.

Implications
In order to understand the implications of a football icon like Tom Brady being accused of such an act, it is necessary to consider just what the impact of his actions were on the game itself. Brady engaging in a conspiracy to deflate footballs is at least on a par with Lance Armstrong’s blood doping and steroid use in the sport of endurance cycling. Deflated footballs create a significant competitive advantage for the team using them. This is especially true in cold weather games where Brady has excelled since the deflation scheme was implemented, which I argue was the 2007 season. Deflated footballs are easier to grip, throw and catch and much easier to hold on to, drastically reducing the risk of fumbling. Those that argue that even if Brady was part of the conspiracy, it was “no big deal” are simply wrong. It is a major advantage and almost certainly affected the outcome of many close games the Patriots played in the last 8 years. It is no different than if the first down chains used when the Patriots had the ball were only 9 yards long instead of 10. It adds up to a huge if not decisive edge over the course of a game, season and career.

It should also be noted, for the record, that the Patriots have a long history in the Bellichick/Kraft/Brady era of cheating. They were also fined and docked a 1st-round pick in 2008 for the Spygate scandal, and Belichick was officially fined $500,000 — the largest fine ever imposed on a coach in the league's then-87-year history, and the maximum permitted under league rules. The Patriots were also fined $250,000. The Patriots were also reported to have secretly spied on the St. Louis Rams final walk through practice before Super Bowl XXXVI (36), and Rams QB and 2-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner has stated repeatedly that he believe the accusations to be true. So a deflation scheme such as the one alleged by the NFL would not at all be out of character for the Patriots.
In addition, proof that Brady tampered with equipment could create a legal nightmare for a host of reasons, the least of which is that bettors who lost money on games in which deflated footballs were used could potentially sue casinos, teams or the NFL itself over their losses. So to pretend that it’s no big deal is silly. If it’s no big deal, why doesn’t Brady just accept his suspension, continue his denials and move on?

UPDATE: Brady has now withdrawn his appeals and will serve his suspension for the first 4 weeks of the 2016 NFL. He has continued to deny wrong doing in vague, legal-esque terms.

Opening Statement
I will show in this essay that Tom Brady had the motive, means and opportunity to hatch the scheme he is accused of by the NFL. The evidence that he knew about and probably initiated a conspiracy to deflate footballs below the NFL spec of 12.5 PSI at least reaches the civil standard of “a preponderance of the evidence.” In fact, I also believe it goes well beyond the criminal standard of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” Patriots’ fans of course have already proven that they have a different standard of “reasonable” than most human beings. I am not writing this to convince them. This essay is aimed at the unbiased reader, who I am confident will come to the same conclusions that I did from the beginning: Brady’s a cheater.

I will also not shy away from the so-called “science” arguments that the footballs simply deflated “naturally.” The longest (and first) section in this essay will deal with the application (or in this case, misapplication) of the so-called “Ideal Gas Law,” which I will show simply cannot account for the condition of the Patriots footballs that day.  I ask the reader to stay with me through that section, which will necessarily get a bit technical.
Finally, I will show that not only were the footballs for 2014 AFCCG tampered with, this scheme was most likely in use for more than 8-years, and may in fact have indirectly contributed to the Patriots 2011 Super Bowl XLVI (46) loss to the New York Giants.
So with that, let’s begin…

The Evidence

The case against Tom Brady will deal with 6 key points which indicate his guilt. These 6 lines of evidence are:

1.       Brady preferred deflated footballs

2.       Brady led the charge to let QBs “prep” their own game balls

3.       Brady’s performance drastically improved after getting access to the game balls

4.       Brady’s fumbles reduced drastically from his first 5 years in the NFL to the last 8 (after deflation)

5.       Tests show the “Ideal Gas Law” is not a factor in measurements.

6.       Brady destroyed evidence sought by NFL investigators.


Part 1 - The “Ideal Gas Law” Argument
(Note: This section includes excerpts from the “Deflategate” Wikipedia article)

Shortly after Brady was suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Patriots coach Bill Bellicheck argued at a press conference that footballs could deflate naturally due to “physics.” He was obviously fed this information by the Patriots organization, as demonstrated by his fumbling answers when questioned about it. A few months later, Patriots owner Robert Kraft introduced something called the “Ideal Gas Law” during Brady’s appeal. In these court papers, economists under Kraft’s employ argued that the footballs used by the Patriots had deflated naturally due to temperature.
First, it’s important to understand exactly what the Ideal Gas “Law” is vs. what it is not. It is not a scientific "Law" of any kind, despite its name. According to Wikipedia, “The ideal gas law is the equation of state of a HYPOTHETICAL ideal gas. It is a good APPROXIMATION of the behavior of many gases under many conditions, although it has several LIMITATIONS.”
So far from being a scientific “Law,” as scientifically ignorant defenders of Brady like Mike Florio of Pro FootballTalk have repeatedly claimed, it is merely a hypothetical approximation of how certain “ideal gasses” (which the air in a football is NOT) MIGHT behave under “ideal” laboratory conditions (which a football stadium is not). But the misapplication of it in this case has led some people (mostly Patriots fans) to conclude that the Patriots footballs somehow deflated all by themselves in a balmy 52 degree football stadium. Let’s look at exactly what the arguments, measurements and a little common sense show us.

The first thing to understand is exactly how the measurements were taken and what they showed. It is not certain what the exact pressure was of the footballs set by referee Walt Anderson prior to the game, but it is well known that Brady and the Patriots preferred the ball inflated to the lower end of the spec at 12.5 PSI, and this was always accommodated by the officials working Patriots football games. There is no known preference expressed by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck on football PSI. Given these facts and the recollections of referee Anderson, it is safe to assume that ALL of the Patriots footballs were inflated to 12.5 PSI. The Colts footballs were logically inflated to somewhere between 12.5 and 13 PSI. Following the distribution of the footballs to the two teams, video evidence showed Patriots equipment manager Jim McNally taking the approved and correctly inflated game balls into a locked bathroom for at least 90 seconds before taking them to the field of play. It has been well established that this is more than enough time to have stuck an air pump needle into all 12 of the Patriots footballs and deflate them below the 12.5 PSI minimum.

Former NFL official Mark Baltz later told Sports Illustrated that he had suspected McNally of tampering with footballs for years and had reported him to the NFL  “six or eight years ago,” for the behavior but as far as he knew, the NFL had never followed up on the investigation. Baltz said McNally would request the game footballs “way, way before” locker-room attendants were supposed to receive them.  “If he could get them 10 or 15 minutes before he was supposed to get them, instead of the usual two minutes before the game—and there were some crews that let him do that—he would do it,“ Baltz said. “I wouldn’t let him take them early, and I think he eventually figured that out because he stopped asking for a while. I probably did 10 or 15 games up there [in Foxboro] and those first few times, he’d always ask. I always thought it was very suspicious.”

After Brady was intercepted late in the first half of the game, the Colts complained to the game officials and the game balls were tested in the locker room at halftime.
Two gauges were used in taking the halftime measurements requested by the Colts. One was a calibrated “non-logo” gauge, which was the one used to test the balls prior to the game, and the other was a second non-calibrated “logo gauge” which had the NFL logo on it. The Logo Gauge was found to consistently run at least 0.35 psi above the (accurately calibrated) non-Logo gauge, but both were determined to be extremely consistent and precise. In particular, the Logo gauge is inaccurate (it runs high) but is precise (it consistently runs high by the same amount every time), and therefore can be used as additional confirmation that the non-Logo measurement is correct (with the exception of Colts ball #3, below). Wells has stated that he believes that referees Blakeman and Prioleau used the Non-Logo and Logo gauges respectively in the Patriots halftime tests, and that the two of them switched gauges with each other for the Colts halftime test. It is also established that there was a transcription error on Colts ball #3 which led to a flip-flop of the logo gauge and non-logo gauge measurements, which I have corrected in this table.

Because the logo gauge runs consistently high and was not calibrated, we will deal only with the calibrated non-logo gauge results for our analysis, although I have included both as a reference.

There are multiple lines of reasoning which show that the Patriots footballs were deflated by intentional human intervention, and not because of the so-called “Ideal Gas Law.”

First, if the so-called “Ideal Gas Law” could account for the deflation of the Patriots footballs, then that would be reflected in the comparison with the Colts footballs, i.e. both sets of balls would have deflated by roughly the same amount.

However, when we check the Colts footballs, they measure 12.325 PSI on average. That is only 0.175 below the minimum spec set by the NFL of 12.5 PSI. In other words, less than one-quarter PSI below the spec. By contrast, ALL 11 of the Patriots footballs measured well below 12 PSI on the same gauge within minutes or seconds of the Colts balls being measured. The Patriots footballs average only 11.1 PSI, more than 1.4 PSI below the minimum spec. Another way to look at it is that the Colts footballs were below spec by 1.4%, while the Patriots footballs were somehow deflated by 11.2%

Let me repeat that: The Patriots footballs were deflated below spec by an average of 11.2 percent.

If we assume that all of the Colts footballs were actually inflated to 13 PSI (which the referees have indicated is to the best of their recollection), then we get an average deflation of .675 PSI, a little over one-half PSI, but still far below the Patriots average of 1.4 PSI (11.2%). Even in this best case scenario for Brady and the Patriots, the Colts footballs deflated by only 5.19%, as compared to the Patriots deflation of 11.2%. In order for the Colts footballs to have deflated "naturally" by the same amount as the Patriots, NFL officials would have had to OVERINFLATE them by 0.38 PSI over the NFL maximum of 13.5 PSI. We can safely assume they did no such thing.

All we know for certain is that the Colts balls would have been somewhere between 12.5 PSI and 13 PSI. So the 0.675 PSI number is a best case scenario for Ideal Gas Law deflation. It could be only 0.175 PSI.

It should also be noted that the 1.4% deflation below spec that the Colts footballs measured to could be due completely to margin of error in the measurements or the fact that the balls were wet, which can effect inflation to a minute degree...

Like around 1.4 %.

To put it another way, the Colts footballs deflated by far less than the Patriots footballs. This single established fact is de-facto PROOF that the Ideal Gas "Law" cannot account for the deflation levels of the Patriots footballs.
The argument has been made by Patriots fans that under the IGL, the balls would have rapidly re-inflated in the warmth of the locker room. They make the assertion that because the Colts footballs were tested last, they were re-inflated more than the Patriots footballs. This is however easily falsified by simply examining the chart below, which shows the actual halftime measurements. Note that the last 3 Patriots footballs tested are all well below 11 PSI, and in fact ball #10, at 10.5 PSI, is the lowest pressure measurement recorded by either gauge. Since these measurements were done only perhaps a minute or even seconds before the Colts balls were measured, this effectively falsifies the assertion that locker room temperature affected the Patriots measurements more than the Colts.

Patriots Ball
Blakeman
Non-Logo, calibrated
Prioleau
Logo, not calibrated
#1
11.50
11.80
#2
10.85
11.20
#3
11.15
11.50
#4
10.70
11.00
#5
11.10
11.45
#6
11.60
11.95
#7
11.85
12.30
#8
11.10
11.55
#9
10.95
11.35
#10
10.50
10.90
#11
10.90
11.35


Colts ball
Blakeman
Logo, not calibrated
Prioleau
Non-Logo, calibrated
1
12.70
12.35
2
12.75
12.30
3*
12.95
12.50
4
12.55
12.15


Another way to look at it is illustrated in this helpful chart. Only 1 Patriots football even came close to the 12.5 PSI minimum.
Chart showing Patriots football inflation levels as measured at halftime of the 2014 AFC Championship Game. Red dots indicate the LOGO gauge, blue dots the (calibrated) non-logo gauge.

Another factor which discounts the so-called “Ideal Gas Law” theory is the question of variability. It is well established that all of the Patriots footballs were inflated to 12.5 PSI before the game. If the IGL was actually a factor, it would not only apply equally to both the Colts and Patriots footballs (it does not, see below) but it would also, within a very narrow band, apply equally to all of the Patriots footballs. To give one example, it is hard for a temperature-based theory to explain why Patriots ball #2 tested fully 0.6 psi lower than Patriots ball #1, when both ball #1 and #2 started before the game at the same psi. If temperature is the major factor, the Patriots PSI should stay roughly the same, or gradually increase, as subsequent balls are tested; instead, the PSI of the footballs changed substantially from one ball to the next. In fact, the difference between the least and most deflated Patriots footballs was 1.35 PSI, a variation of almost 12% between the 2 footballs. This variation by itself is enough to completely discredit the “Ideal Gas Law” theory. It should also be noted that if the deflation were actually caused by needles being stuck into the balls, this sort of variation is exactly what one would expect to see.

But of course, there’s more.

Of the 11 Patriots footballs tested on the calibrated non-logo gauge, ALL 11 measurements were below spec by at least 0.65 PSI, well beyond the margin of error for the calibrated gauge. In fact, NONE of the Patriots footballs were even over 12 PSI much less the 12.5 PSI minimum standard on the calibrated “non-logo” gauge. And, ONLY ONE was above 12 PSI on the non-calibrated “logo-gauge.” This gives an average of 11.1 PSI for the 11 footballs tested, and an average of 1.4 PSI below the minimum spec of 12.5 PSI for the 11 footballs tested. As we have already established, the maximum deflation under the so-called “Ideal Gas Law” is 0.675 PSI, as demonstrated by the Colts footballs, which we can be certain were not tampered with. Even in the “best case” IGL scenario, there is 0.725 PSI deflation in the Patriots footballs which cannot be accounted for. Another way to look at it is that fully half of the deflation of the Patriots footballs simply cannot be accounted for by natural means.

Given all this, we can safely reach the following conclusions:

1.      The so-called “Ideal Gas Law” cannot account for the deflation of the Patriots footballs, even under the most generous scenario.

2.      The remaining deflation MUST have been caused by human intervention, i.e. an equipment guy nicknamed “The Deflator” taking the balls into a locked room and sticking needles in them.

I wish to say here flatly that I do not believe temperature or the so-called “Ideal Gas Law” accounts for ANY of the deflation of the Patriots footballs. After the balls were re-inflated at half time, none of them lost any pressure at all. This, along with the other lines of evidence cited above, falsifies the Ideal Gas Law scenario.

The Case Against Tom Brady


The Case Against Tom Brady

Or, Why The Ideal Gas Law is a Crock
by
Mike Bara


 

 Background
 
Since January of 2015, shortly before Super Bowl 49, football fans have been dealing with something called “Deflategate,” the accusation that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady knew of and/or directed a scheme to deflate footballs used by the Patriots in NFL football games. Specifically, the game in question was the 2015 AFC Championship Game played in New England’s Gillette Stadium in January, 2015. After an investigation (The “Wells Report”) determined that it was “more probable than not” that Brady was “at least generally aware” of a scheme by his equipment managers to deflate footballs below the 12.5 PSI minimum allowed by NFL rules, Brady was suspended without pay for the first 4 games of the 2015 NFL season. The Patriots were also fined $1 million dollars and docked two draft picks, including a highly valuable 1st round pick which would have been the 29th overall selection in the 2016 NFL draft. After a private meeting with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Patriots owner Robert Kraft announced that he would not oppose the penalties imposed by the commissioner. Brady’s appeal to the commissioner, Roger Goodell, was subsequently denied. The union, the NFL Players Association, then went to federal court where a judge with well-known union ties, Richard Berman, overturned the suspension on several legal technicalities. Among these was that Brady should have been specifically informed that illegally tampering with the equipment used in NFL football games was regarded as “cheating.” Berman’s decision was widely criticized by legal scholars as biased and legally baseless, and in late April, 2016 it was overturned on appeal by a 3-judge panel which agreed with the NFL that it had no legal basis in fact. That decision was upheld on appeal on July 12th, 2016. Neither of the court cases dealt with the evidence that Brady had knowingly engaged in a conspiracy to deflate the footballs, only with whether he had received a “fair hearing” from the commissioner. Brady and the NFLPA have stated they will appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court but as things stand his 4-game suspension has been reinstated and will be served the first four weeks of the 2016 NFL season.
 
 


Shortly after the story broke on the Sunday night after the 2015 AFCCG, Brady held a press conference commonly known as the “Pinocchio briefing” in which he seemed nervous and agitated but denied any wrongdoing in vague, leagal-esque terms. Asked directly if he was a cheater, Brady replied meekly, “I don’t believe so.” That is legalese for “yeah I did it but I don’t think you can catch me.”

After the press conference, ESPN’s Mark Brunnell, a former Pro Bowl quarterback, said flatly “I did not believe him.” Hall of Fame quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Dan Marino also stated they did not find his denials credible, pointing out that NFL quarterbacks always know everything about their equipment, especially game balls, and can easily tell the difference in a ball deflated by even 1 PSI below the spec. Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe concurred.

Implications
In order to understand the implications of a football icon like Tom Brady being accused of such an act, it is necessary to consider just what the impact of his actions were on the game itself. Brady engaging in a conspiracy to deflate footballs is at least on a par with Lance Armstrong’s blood doping and steroid use in the sport of endurance cycling. Deflated footballs create a significant competitive advantage for the team using them. This is especially true in cold weather games where Brady has excelled since the deflation scheme was implemented, which I argue was the 2007 season. Deflated footballs are easier to grip, throw and catch and much easier to hold on to, drastically reducing the risk of fumbling. Those that argue that even if Brady was part of the conspiracy, it was “no big deal” are simply wrong. It is a major advantage and almost certainly affected the outcome of many close games the Patriots played in the last 8 years. It is no different than if the first down chains used when the Patriots had the ball were only 9 yards long instead of 10. It adds up to a huge if not decisive edge over the course of a game, season and career.

It should also be noted, for the record, that the Patriots have a long history in the Bellichick/Kraft/Brady era of cheating. They were also fined and docked a 1st-round pick in 2008 for the Spygate scandal, and Belichick was officially fined $500,000 — the largest fine ever imposed on a coach in the league's then-87-year history, and the maximum permitted under league rules. The Patriots were also fined $250,000. The Patriots were also reported to have secretly spied on the St. Louis Rams final walkthrough practice before Super Bowl XXXVI (36), and Rams QB and 2-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner has stated repeatedly that he believe the accusations to be true. So a deflation scheme such as the one alleged by the NFL would not at all be out of character for the Patriots.
In addition, proof that Brady tampered with equipment could create a legal nightmare for a host of reasons, the least of which is that bettors who lost money on games in which deflated footballs were used could potentially sue casinos, teams or the NFL itself over their losses. So to pretend that it’s no big deal is silly. If it’s no big deal, why doesn’t Brady just accept his suspension, continue his denials and move on?

Opening Statement
I will show in this essay that Tom Brady had the motive, means and opportunity to hatch the scheme he is accused of by the NFL. The evidence that he knew about and probably initiated a conspiracy to deflate footballs below the NFL spec of 12.5 PSI at least reaches the civil standard of “a preponderance of the evidence.” In fact, I also believe it goes well beyond the criminal standard of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” Patriots’ fans of course have already proven that they have a different standard of “reasonable” than most human beings. I am not writing this to convince them. This essay is aimed at the unbiased reader, who I am confident will come to the same conclusions that I did from the beginning: Brady’s a cheater.

I will also not shy away from the so-called “science” arguments that the footballs simply deflated “naturally.” The longest (and first) section in this essay will deal with the application (or in this case, misapplication) of the so-called “Ideal Gas Law,” which I will show simply cannot account for the condition of the Patriots footballs that day.  I ask the reader to stay with me through that section, which will necessarily get a bit technical.
Finally, I will show that not only were the footballs for 2014 AFCCG tampered with, this scheme was most likely in use for more than 8-years, and may in fact have indirectly contributed to the Patriots 2011 Super Bowl XLVI loss to the New York Giants.
So with that, let’s begin…

The Evidence

The case against Tom Brady will deal with 6 key points which indicate his guilt. These 6 lines of evidence are:

1.       Brady liked deflated footballs

2.       Brady led the charge to let QBs “prep” their own game balls

3.       Brady’s performance drastically improved after getting access to the game balls

4.       Brady’s fumbles reduced drastically from his first 5 years in the NFL to the last 8 (after deflation)

5.       Tests show the “Ideal Gas Law” is not a factor in measurements.

6.       Brady destroyed evidence sought by NFL investigators.

 

Part 1 - The “Ideal Gas Law” Argument
(Note: This section includes excerpts from the “Deflategate” Wikipedia article)

Shortly after Brady was suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Patriots coach Bill Bellicheck argued at a press conference that footballs could deflate naturally due to “physics.” He was obviously fed this information by the Patriots organization, as demonstrated by his fumbling answers when questioned about it. A few months later, Patriots owner Robert Kraft introduced something called the “Ideal Gas Law” during Brady’s appeal. In these court papers, economists under Kraft’s employ argued that the footballs used by the Patriots had deflated naturally due to temperature.
First, it’s important to understand exactly what the Ideal Gas “Law” is vs. what it is not. It is not a scientific "Law" of any kind, despite its name. According to Wikipedia, “The ideal gas law is the equation of state of a HYPOTHETICAL ideal gas. It is a good APPROXIMATION of the behavior of many gases under many conditions, although it has several LIMITATIONS.”
So far from being a scientific “Law,” as scientifically ignorant defenders of Brady like Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk have repeatedly claimed, it is merely a hypothetical approximation of how certain “ideal gasses” (which the air in a football is NOT) MIGHT behave under “ideal” laboratory conditions (which a football stadium is not). But the misapplication of it in this case has led some people (mostly Patriots fans) to conclude that the Patriots footballs somehow deflated all by themselves in a balmy 52 degree football stadium. Let’s look at exactly what the arguments, measurements and a little common sense show us.

The first thing to understand is exactly how the measurements were taken and what they showed. It is not certain what the exact pressure was of the footballs set by referee Walt Anderson prior to the game, but it is well known that Brady and the Patriots preferred the ball inflated to the lower end of the spec at 12.5 PSI, and this was always accommodated by the officials working Patriots football games. There is no known preference expressed by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco on football PSI. Given these facts and the recollections of referee Anderson, it is safe to assume that ALL of the Patriots footballs were inflated to 12.5 PSI. The Ravens footballs were logically inflated to somewhere between 12.5 and 13 PSI.

Two gauges were used in taking the halftime measurements requested by the Ravens. One was a calibrated “non-logo” gauge, which was the one used to test the balls prior to the game, and the other was a second non-calibrated “logo gauge” which had the NFL logo on it. The Logo Gauge was found to consistently run at least 0.35 psi above the (accurately calibrated) non-Logo gauge, but both were determined to be extremely consistent and precise. In particular, the Logo gauge is inaccurate (it runs high) but is precise (it consistently runs high by the same amount every time), and therefore can be used as additional confirmation that the non-Logo measurement is correct (with the exception of Colts ball #3, below). Wells has stated that he believes that referees Blakeman and Prioleau used the Non-Logo and Logo gauges respectively in the Patriots halftime tests, and that the two of them switched gauges with each other for the Colts halftime test. It is also established that there was a transcription error on Colts ball #3 which led to a flip-flop of the logo gauge and non-logo gauge measurements, which I have corrected in this table.

Because the logo gauge runs consistently high and was not calibrated, we will deal only with the calibrated non-logo gauge results for our analysis, although I have included both as a reference.

There are multiple lines of reasoning which show that the Patriots footballs were deflated by intentional human intervention, and not because of the so-called “Ideal Gas Law.”

First, if the so-called “Ideal Gas Law” could account for the deflation of the Patriots footballs, then that would be reflected in the comparison with the Colts footballs, i.e. both sets of balls would have deflated by roughly the same amount.

However, when we check the Colts footballs, they measure 12.325 PSI on average. That is only 0.175 below the minimum spec set by the NFL of 12.5 PSI. In other words, less than one-quarter PSI below the spec. By contrast, ALL 11 of the Patriots footballs measured well below 12 PSI on the same gauge within minutes or seconds of the Colts balls being measured. The Patriots footballs average only 11.1 PSI, more than 1.4 PSI below the minimum spec. Another way to look at it is that the Colts footballs were below spec by 1.4%, while the Patriots footballs were somehow deflated by 11.2%

Let me repeat that: The Patriots footballs were deflated below spec by an average of 11.2 percent.

If we assume that all of the Colts footballs were actually inflated to 13 PSI (which the referees have indicated is to the best of their recollection), then we get an average deflation of .675 PSI, a little over one-half PSI, but still far below the Patriots average of 1.4 PSI (11.2%). Even in this best case scenario for Brady and the Patriots, the Colts footballs deflated by only 5.19%, as compared to the Patriots deflation of 11.2%. In order for the Colts footballs to have deflated "naturally" by the same amount as the Patriots, NFL officials would have had to OVERINFLATE them by 0.38 PSI over the NFL maximum of 13.5 PSI. We can safely assume they did no such thing.

All we know for certain is that the Colts balls would have been somewhere between 12.5 and 13 PSI. So the 0.675 PSI number is a best case scenario for Ideal Gas Law deflation. It could be only 0.175 PSI.

It should also be noted that the 1.4% deflation below spec that the Colts footballs measured to could be due completely to margin of error in the measurements or the fact that the balls were wet, which can effect inflation to a minute degree...

Like around 1.4 %.

To put it another way, the Colts footballs deflated by far less than the Patriots footballs. This single established fact is de-facto PROOF that the Ideal Gas "Law" cannot account for the deflation levels of the Patriots footballs.
The argument has been made by Patriots fans that under the IGL, the balls would have rapidly re-inflated in the warmth of the locker room. They make the assertion that because the Colts footballs were tested last, they were re-inflated more than the Patriots footballs. This is however easily falsified by simply examining the chart below, which shows the actual halftime measurements. Note that the last 3 Patriots footballs tested are all well below 11 PSI, and in fact ball #10, at 10.5 PSI, is the lowest pressure measurement recorded by either gauge. Since these measurements were done only perhaps a minute or even seconds before the Colts balls were measured, this effectively falsifies the assertion that locker room temperature affected the Patriots measurements more than the Colts.

Patriots Ball
Blakeman
Non-Logo, calibrated
Prioleau
Logo, not calibrated
#1
11.50
11.80
#2
10.85
11.20
#3
11.15
11.50
#4
10.70
11.00
#5
11.10
11.45
#6
11.60
11.95
#7
11.85
12.30
#8
11.10
11.55
#9
10.95
11.35
#10
10.50
10.90
#11
10.90
11.35

 

Colts ball
Blakeman
Logo, not calibrated
Prioleau
Non-Logo, calibrated
1
12.70
12.35
2
12.75
12.30
3*
12.95
12.50
4
12.55
12.15

 
Another way to look at it is illustrated in this helpful chart. Only 1 Patriots football even came close to the 12.5 PSI minimum.
Chart showing Patriots football inflation levels as measured at halftime of the 2014 AFC Championship Game. Red dots indicate the LOGO gauge, blue dots the non-logo gauge.

Another factor which discounts the so-called “Ideal Gas Law” theory is the question of variability. It is well established that all of the Patriots footballs were inflated to 12.5 PSI before the game. If the IGL was actually a factor, it would not only apply equally to both the Colts and Patriots footballs (it does not, see below) but it would also, within a very narrow band, apply equally to all of the Patriots footballs. To give one example, it is hard for a temperature-based theory to explain why Patriots ball #2 tested fully 0.6 psi lower than Patriots ball #1, when both ball #1 and #2 started before the game at the same psi. If temperature is the major factor, the Patriots PSI should stay roughly the same, or gradually increase, as subsequent balls are tested; instead, the PSI of the footballs changed substantially from one ball to the next. In fact, the difference between the least and most deflated Patriots footballs was 1.35 PSI, a variation of almost 12% between the 2 footballs. This variation by itself is enough to completely discredit the “Ideal Gas Law” theory. It should also be noted that if the deflation were actually caused by needles being stuck into the balls, this sort of variation is exactly what one would expect to see.

But of course, there’s more.

Of the 11 Patriots footballs tested on the calibrated non-logo gauge, ALL 11 measurements were below spec by at least 0.65 PSI, well beyond the margin of error for the calibrated gauge. In fact, NONE of the Patriots footballs were even over 12 PSI much less the 12.5 PSI minimum standard on the calibrated “non-logo” gauge. And, ONLY ONE was above 12 PSI on the non-calibrated “logo-gauge.” This gives an average of 11.1 PSI for the 11 footballs tested, and an average of 1.4 PSI below the minimum spec of 12.5 PSI for the 11 footballs tested. As we have already established, the maximum deflation under the so-called “Ideal Gas Law” is 0.675 PSI, as demonstrated by the Colts footballs, which we can be certain were not tampered with. Even in the “best case” IGL scenario, there is 0.725 PSI deflation in the Patriots footballs which cannot be accounted for. Another way to look at it is that fully half of the deflation of the Patriots footballs simply cannot be accounted for by natural means.

Given all this, we can safely reach the following conclusions:

1.      The so-called “Ideal Gas Law” cannot account for the deflation of the Patriots footballs, even under the most generous scenario.

2.      The remaining deflation MUST have been caused by human intervention, i.e. an equipment guy nicknamed “The Deflator” taking the balls into a locked room and sticking needles in them.

I wish to say here flatly that I do not believe temperature or the so-called “Ideal Gas Law” accounts for ANY of the deflation of the Patriots footballs. After the balls were re-inflated at half time, none of them lost any pressure at all. This, along with the other lines of evidence cited above, falsifies the Ideal Gas Law scenario.