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DeflateGate: Highlights and Summary of the Tom Brady Appeal Transcript

The NFL didn't want this transcript released and it's very obvious why. They have nothing on Tom Brady.

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We've read the appeal transcript for Tom Brady and the NFL Players Association so you won't have to. Here is the full document. Here are the highlights:

The NFL absolutely didn't want this released.

The Players Association was the entity that requested the transcript be made public; the only people who try and put this in the public sphere have nothing to hide. The NFL refused, so the transcript remained hidden. Well, the NFLPA attached the transcript (along with a thousand other pages of exhibits) in their counterclaim to the NFL's filing in the New York Courts.

If you want an example of why the New York judge might be a good thing for Brady, the judge refused to acquiesce to the NFL's request to keep the documents sealed. The document makes the NFL look very bad, and they've used up a lot of the tricks up their sleeves.

The NFL has no evidence that Tom Brady did anything wrong. Ted Wells even steps away from saying that Brady "directed" any deflation instruction.

Ted Wells to Jeffrey Kessler: "I'm hesitating about the word "direct,"  because what I do say in the report is I don't think they would have done it without his knowledge and awareness. Now, but I don't have a phrase, you are correct, where I say he directed them. What I say is I believe that they would not have done it unless they believed he wanted it done in substance. "

Emphasis my own. Wells and the NFL have no evidence that shows that Brady directed the equipment staff to do anything nefarious to the footballs.

Tom Brady swore, under oath, that he did not have anything done to the footballs during the Colts game.

Ted Wells said that there would be no punishment for not handing over Tom Brady's phone, but that's the only grounds the NFL used for punishment.

Wells to Kessler: "The request what I asked for, I made clear I didn't want to take access to your phone. Mr. Yee can do it. I did not, as Mr. Kessler said -- I want to be clear -- I did not tell Mr. Brady at any time that he would be subject to punishment for not giving -- not turning over the documents. I did not say anything like that."

Wells to Kessler: "If those text messages did not exist, and all we had was a break in protocol and he goes into the bathroom and just the science, the result might very well be totally different. But when you combine the break in protocol, going into the bathroom, the text messages and the science, we felt comfortable reaching a judgment."

Effectively, Wells says "we never told Brady we'd punish him for not turning over his phone, but the fact that he didn't turn over the phone is the only reason "we felt comfortable reaching a judgment."

Ted Wells rejected the testimony of pretty much every single Patriots employee, and accepted everyone else's.

The NFLPA made sure it was known that Wells subjectively rejected the testimonies of every Patriots employee, whether they were equipment personnel, operations staff, or Tom Brady. The reasoning by Wells for rejecting these testimonies? "I did not think they were being candid."

Ted Wells and Exponent were paid a ton of money.

Paul Weiss, the firm where Ted Wells works, received between $2.5 million and $3 million in fees. Exponent received $600,000.

The NFL still doesn't understand the science behind the Ideal Gas Law.

The NFLPA brought in Edward Snyder as their expert, and he absolutely dismantled the Exponent portion of the Wells Report. Snyder is currently at Yale, after spending time at three of the best Business Schools in the country (Darden, Ross, and Booth). The NFL lawyer Lorin Reisner, a colleague of Ted Wells, was absolutely hammered in his cross examination because Snyder knew the report inside out and had done his work.

The main portion of Exponent's report that Wells used in his argument does not include any increase in pressure of the Colts footballs due to ambient time (ie: it doesn't account for the Colts footballs being measured after the Patriots). Snyder highlights that when this timing effect is taken into account, in addition to all of the other assumptions that are made on such a small data set, then the notion that something nefarious happened becomes far less likely.

But they have Ted Wells, on record, saying footballs will fall below the 12.5 PSI floor when it's cold outside.

Wells to Kessler: "I told you I agree. What I found in interviewing referees and just witnesses in general is that there was no appreciation for the Ideal Gas Law and the possible impact that that might have. And so people didn't appreciate that if you measured a ball in a hot locker room and then took it out to a cold field, you have automatic drop."

This fact isn't taken into account for the NFL's new measurement policies for the upcoming season because if they changed a rule to account for the change in pressure due to ambient pressure, they wouldn't really have a case against Brady.

Exponent talks a good game, but they talk around the major issues in their report.

The big flaw in Exponent's analysis that the NFLPA highlights is that they reference that "timing" is the most important factor in the change in pressure due to temperature, yet they didn't include timing in their equation. Exponent's justification for not including timing, even though they say it's the most important factor, is that there was an "inconsistency" between the "physical theory" and the "observed pattern in the halftime data."

Of course, the footballs definitely show a gradual increase in pressure:

So Exponent decides not to include their most significant factor because they're under the impression that the Patriots footballs are defying the laws of physics.

Exponent accepts that the Patriots footballs would have been 12.2 PSI to match the halftime measurements, which means this is all about a decrease of 0.3 PSI .

A major flaw in the Wells Report is that they effectively use the Exponent study as the basis for ignoring all factors that lead to a difference in the pressures (ex: temperatures, timing, wetness). Wells uses the difference in the halftime measurements, which is an incorrect comparison because the data points are obtained in different settings (ex: temperature increase, drier footballs).

If Wells had actually used the entirety of the Exponent report, and Exponent confirms this in their testimony at the appeal, it's that if the Patriots footballs started at 12.2 PSI prior to the game, then the halftime findings align with their expectations. So this is all over a supposed 0.3 PSI.

Ted Wells thinks "inflation" and "deflation" are the same thing.

The NFL's Troy Vincent admits that the rule that Tom Brady supposedly violated is not provided to the players.

Kessler to Vincent: "Now, the policy that you cite in your letter, in your discipline letter regarding Mr. Brady -- well, let me ask you this. Where do you find the policy that says that footballs can't be altered with respect to pressure? Is that going to be in the competitive integrity policy that Mr. Wells cited in his report?"

Vincent to Kessler: "Game-Day Operations Manual."

Kessler to Vincent: "In the manual? Okay. Is it correct, to your knowledge, that the manual is given to clubs and GMs and owners, et cetera, but the manual is not given out to players; is that correct, to your knowledge?"

Vincent to Kessler: "That's correct, to my knowledge."

Kessler to Vincent: "In fact, when you were a player, you were never given that manual, right?"

Vincent to Kessler: "No."

This is a key fact because players cannot be penalized for rules they aren't aware of, and now the NFL is on record saying the rules weren't provided to Tom Brady.

And Ted Wells didn't know that until THE DAY OF THE APPEAL IN JUNE.

Kessler to Wells: "Let's move on to another subject. Now, going back to that same first page of your report, page 1, you say, "The investigation was conducted pursuant to the policy on integrity of the game and enforcement of competitive rules." Do you see that?"

Wells to Kessler: "Yes."

Kessler to Wells: "To your knowledge, that's the only policy that you were told about that you were conducting your investigation pursuant, correct?"

Wells to Kessler: "That is correct."

Kessler to Wells: "Okay. Now, at the time you did this report, did you have any knowledge or did you determine whether or not that policy was ever given out to players?"

Wells to Kessler: "I have no knowledge one way or the other."

Kessler to Wells: "Did you learn for the first time today at this hearing that it was not given out to players?"

Wells to Kessler: "I think -- I think I heard something to that effect."

Kessler to Wells: "Today?"

Wells to Kessler: "In terms of whatever knowledge I have is what I heard today."

Kessler to Wells: "Today? And it was prior to today and certainly at the time you issued this report you didn't know one way or another whether that policy was something given out to players?"

Wells to Kessler: "That is correct."

The person leading the investigation had no idea that the rule he was investigating was never provided, nor does it apply, to Tom Brady, until the day of Brady's appeal.

The NFL wasn't trying to find the truth- they were trying to prosecute Tom Brady.

One of the most cringeworthy aspects of the appeal is how transparent the NFL was that they didn't care about trying to find the truth. They wanted to prosecute Brady to back what they had found. The questions weren't about the truth, it was about trying to frame Brady in a way that he wanted his footballs below the limit, even though there is no proof.

This just shows how partial the NFL was in their approach to the appeal hearing and how Roger Goodell, as the NFL's commissioner, couldn't remain independent in his role.

Tom Brady admit that he talked about the scandal with John Jastremski in the immediate aftermath, and Roger Goodell pretended like he didn't hear.

My man Doug Kyed over at NESN highlights that Goodell's verdict on Brady's appeal intentionally manipulated the public by blatantly disregarding Brady's answers. Goodell claimed in his verdict that Brady said the only communication between the quarterback and Jastremski after the AFC Championship game were about preparing the footballs for the Super Bowl.

Brady, on multiple occasions in his appeal, stated that he was talking with Jastremski about whether or not anything happened to the footballs and how Jastremski was handling the media scrutiny on a personal level.

Tom Brady had to get a new phone number because people were guessing it after reading the Wells Report.

Roger Goodell is the Boy King of the NFL and is absolutely hilarious in the hearing.

Goodell will never be mistaken for someone in control of this situation. But I can say, without any caveat, that Goodell was the funniest part of the entire transcript. His interjections throughout the appeal come from someone who was having their first dinner at the adults table on Thanksgiving, where he spoke for the sake of speaking to show that he belonged.


The league didn't want this transcript released because it's grossly apparent that the NFL has no real proof that Brady did anything, and the NFLPA did a great job of showing all of the flaws in the Exponent analysis, all of the assumptions and inferences that Wells had to make in order to come to any conclusion at all, that the rule the NFL was applying to Brady wasn't for players to know, and that the league could not remain objective in the appeals process due to their attorney-client privilege with the "independent" investigator.