The Tom Brady Appeal Transcript Has Been Released, and It Makes Ted Wells Look Stupid
Both the NFL and the NFLPA have now filed their Deflategate suspension lawsuits in New York federal court. However, the judge presiding over the case has refused to allow either party to submit their supporting evidence confidentially. Thus, everything is now public, including the 457-page Tom Brady appeal transcript.
As you can imagine, the transcript sheds light on some key issues, the biggest being (1) why Tom Brady didn’t hand over his cell phone, and (2) the science behind the air pressure of the AFC Championship Game footballs.
Let’s go through these in order.
First up we have the issue of Brady’s cell phone. As he explained it, he didn’t turn it over simply because his lawyers advised him not to:
Q. Okay. Now, we know that those were — nothing was turned over or the request was not responded to. How did you make the decision about that? What were you relying upon? How did you decide that?
A. Well, I was relying on their advice as my lawyers and what they basically said, There’s been a request, but we don’t think it’s proper for you to turn your phone over, so you don’t need to do that.
Q. If they had told you that you should turn over anything, would you have done so?
Now, if you have ever seen even a single episode of Law & Order, you probably don’t think this is a strange explanation. You don’t turn over evidence unless you have to. If you start volunteering info, they’ll just keep asking for more and more. But Ted Wells, an actual lawyer, concluded that because Brady didn’t want to just give him his cell phone, he must have been guilty.
Q. You rejected the testimony of Mr. Brady that he knew nothing about the ball deflation in the AFC Championship Game, right? You rejected that?
A. I did reject it based on my assessment of his credibility and his refusal or decision not to give me what I requested in terms of responsive documents. And that decision, so we can all be clear and I will say it to Mr. Brady, in my almost 40 years of practice, I think that was one of the most ill-advised decisions I have ever seen because it hurt how I viewed his credibility.
Q. If he had given you that, you would have accepted his statement?
A. I do not know. I can’t go back in a time machine, but I will say this. It hurt my assessment of his credibility for him to begin his interview by telling me he declined to give me the documents.
And I want to say this. At that time, neither his lawyer nor Mr. Brady gave me any reason other than to say, “We respectfully.” They were respectful. They said, “We respectfully decline.” There wasn’t anything about the Union or it wasn’t anything, This was what my lawyer told me and I am going to follow my lawyer’s advice.
I was given no explanation other than, “We respectfully decline.” And I did, I walked Mr. Brady through this request in front of his agents and lawyers. So I understood that he understood what I was asking for and they were declining.
Wells also admitted that he did not tell Brady that he would be punished for refusing to hand over his phone.
Q. When you said you repeated it, you are talking about the March 6th interview?
A. 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.
However, the NFL based it’s punishment on Wells’ conclusion that Brady probably cheated, and Wells admitted that he based that conclusion on the fact that Brady wouldn’t turn over his phone. So in effect, Brady was punished for not turning over his phone.
Now lets turn to the discussion of the air pressure.
The NFL hired a science firm called Exponent to analyze the air pressure of the AFC Championship Game balls to determine the likelihood of illegal tampering, and the firm concluded that eight of the 11 Patriots balls were probably tampered with.
However, Brady’s lawyers brought in Edward Snyder, Dean of the Yale School of Management, and Snyder basically concluded that Exponent’s analysis was bullsh*t.
The biggest problem was that they didn’t take time into account when measuring PSI—or more specifically, how long the balls were in the warm room at halftime after being out in the cold for a few hours.
Q. So let’s go to our Slide 12. And what is this showing?
A. This takes the earlier Figure 22, and I will refer to that again. It takes the top schedule, what Exponent calls their transient analysis, that’s their scientific framework.
It says, okay, you bring in a Colts’ ball. It was pre-game at 13. It’s brought right into the locker room. It’s going to be 11.87. This is, like, so 2:40 is, like, in locker room terms, it’s minute zero. And then 12 minutes later, it’s warmed up and it’s roughly 1.1 psi greater in 12 minutes.
Q. The same ball?
A. The same ball.
Q. What did Exponent do in its difference in difference analysis to account for time?
Q. How do you know?
A. Absolutely nothing. If you look at their difference in difference equation in their appendix and you look at Table A3, where they report their results, they have explanatory variables for their difference in difference analysis and time is not an explanatory variable.
You can read the Exponent report forwards, backwards, upside down. You see time referred to again and again and again and again. However, you have to look at what they actually did, the statistical analysis that they actually did. They left time out of the analysis that they said was the most important.
But there’s also the issue of gauges. As you may remember, two different gauges were used to measure Colts and Patriots footballs during the AFC Championship Game. Because different gauges return different readings, you need to adjust for this. And Exponent did—but only for the readings taken at halftime, not the readings taken before the game.
Correcting this oversight makes a pretty big difference in the number of Patriots balls that were underinflated.
Q. Let’s go to the next slide. And were you able to correct for that inconsistency that you described in Exponent’s master gauge conversion?
A. Yes. Now, the effective starting value is not 12.5, it’s 12.17.
Q. How do you get the 12.17?
A. You apply the master gauge conversion consistently to both halftime measurements, as well as the starting value.
Q. Okay. And let’s go to the next slide. And what is the impact of making that correction on the results?
A. Now eight of the Patriots’ balls are above the critical threshold predicted by Exponent, three are below.
Want to read the entire report? Knock yourself out!
Hat Tip – [Deadspin]