BOSTON (CBS) – In his report, attorney Ted Wells used scientific data that he said proved it was “more probable than not” that the New England Patriots deflated their footballs during the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.
But new research done by an independent research firm claims just the opposite.
American Enterprise Institute released a study on Friday calling the science in the Wells Report unreliable and concluded it is “unlikely” the Patriots deflated their footballs.
In 2012, AEI performed statistical analysis of injury data in a study that was used to help overturn the punishments dished out by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to members of the New Orleans Saints during the “BountyGate” investigation.
Authors Kevin Hassett, Joseph Sullivan and Stan Veuger claim in their 16-page report that by measuring 11 Patriots footballs several minutes before measuring four Colts footballs, the Indianapolis balls had more time to warm back up.
The evidence we present points to a simple—and innocent—explanation for the change in pressure in the Patriots footballs. The Patriots balls were measured at the start of halftime, whereas the Colts balls were measured at the end of halftime, after sufficient time had passed for the balls to warm up and return to their pregame pressure. There is no need to consider the alternative hypothesis—that the Colts illegally inflated their footballs—because a simple physical explanation is available.
Veuger joined Adam Jones of 98.5 The Sports Hub and said that because of this factor, the Patriots balls measured at a level that would be expected.
In addition, he said the four Colts footballs measured came in at a higher PSI than should be anticipated, as did the Patriots ball intercepted by linebacker D’Qwell Jackson.
Our conclusion that the warming of the balls during halftime is the key factor overlooked in the Wells report is supported by the observation that the readings of the intercepted Patriots football, measured separately from the other Patriots balls, came in almost precisely at the prediction of the law. Under the hypothesis asserted by the Well report, the odds of this Patriots ball matching the Ideal Gas Law prediction were between 1 out of 3 and 1 out of 300. It is therefore unlikely that the Patriots deflated the footballs.
Veuger told Jones that his firm is truly unbiased, noting that none of the authors are being paid by either side in the dispute. He said one of the researchers was born in Massachusetts, but has not lived in the state for about 30 years.
“Kevin and Joe and I have no actual interest in this. Neither side is paying us. I grew up in Europe, thinking a football was round,” Veuger joked. “This is just a hobby on the side; it’s not something we have direct interest in.”
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been suspended four games for his role in DeflateGate. His appeal will be heard by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell later this month.
The organization was fined $1 million in addition to the loss of draft picks.
Veuger said that while non-scientific circumstantial evidence in the Wells Report does exist, the science used to punish the Patriots has many holes in it.
“The way the evidence is presented reflects pretty poorly on the authors of the report as a whole,” Veuger told Jones.
Listen to Adam Jones’ interview with Stan Veuger of American Enterprise Institute on 98.5 the Sports Hub below: