The Wells Report was released Wednesday, and it doesn’t look good for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Calling it “more probable than not” that Patriots employees deliberately tried to circumvent the rules, the report by independent investigator Ted Wells determined Brady “was at least generally aware” of the activities of Jim McNally and John Jastremski, two personnel suspected of being involved with intentionally releasing air from the team’s game balls before the AFC Championship Game.
The Wells Report cleared Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft of any wrongdoing in DeflateGate.
“We do not believe that the evidence establishes that any other Patriots personnel participated in or had knowledge of the violation of the Playing Rules or the deliberate effort to circumvent the rules described in this Report,” it reads. “In particular, we do not believe there was any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing by Patriots ownership, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick or any other Patriots coach in the matters investigated. We also do not believe there was any wrongdoing or knowledge of wrongdoing by Patriots Head Equipment Manager Dave Schoenfeld.”
There is a text-message exchange between McNally, the officials locker room attendant, and Jastremski, a Patriots equipment assistant, in which McNally refers to himself as “the deflator.” The two discussed in another text Brady complaining about the inflation of footballs earlier in the 2014 season.
The Patriots’ footballs measured at 12.5 PSI before the AFC Championship Game, while the Indianapolis Colts’ footballs measured at 13 PSI. Here is how 11 of the Patriots’ balls and four of the Colts’ balls measured at halftime:
[tweet https://twitter.com/DougKyedNESN/status/596001980973248512 align=center]
By way of comparison, the Wells Report determined the Patriots’ footballs deflated at a higher average than the Colts’. The average air-pressure drop of Patriots game balls “exceeded the average pressure drop of the Colts balls by 0.45 to 1.02 psi” depending on the gauge used, according to the report.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s statement on the report thanked Wells for his work on the investigation.
“I want to express my appreciation to Ted Wells and his colleagues for performing a thorough and independent investigation, the findings and conclusions of which are set forth in today’s comprehensive report,” Goodell said in the statement. “As with other recent matters involving violations of competitive rules, Troy Vincent and his team will consider what steps to take in light of the report, both with respect to possible disciplinary action and to any changes in protocols that are necessary to avoid future incidents of this type. At the same time, we will continue our efforts vigorously to protect the integrity of the game and promote fair play at all times.”
Thumbnail photo via Elise Amendola/Associated Press