That’s the “more probable than not” conclusion reached by super sleuth Ted Wells, whose comprehensive, legitimate and weighty report was released Wednesday.
This is the key graph. This is the part that will lead to a re-examination of great player’s legacy:
For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules. In particular, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee. Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.
Flash back to when the accusations first surfaced and Brady swore he did nothing wrong.
“I didn’t alter the ball in any way,” Brady said at a press conference. “I have no knowledge of wrongdoing.”
Brady looked uncomfortable. It was the most uncomfortable I’ve ever seen him in front of a camera. Now we know why. Because he was lying.
A source close to the investigation said that a suspension for Brady is “definitely on the table. Not set but could be part of the mix. All options are on the table.”
The source also said that a punishment of the team remains a possibility. The reason, the source said, was that Goodell has precedent. In the Saints’ Bountygate case, Goodell said that ignorance was no excuse, that the coach should have known. Something similar was said with Atlanta pumping in fake crowd noise. Rich McKay, the president of the team, was removed as head of the competition committee despite the fact McKay knew nothing of the fake noise.
The reason this is serious is in-game cheating. The fact that New England would have beaten Indianapolis regardless doesn’t lessen that fact. That’s not the point. The point is, if it wasn’t a competitive edge, if Brady didn’t know it would be, then why would they do it?
The NFL can’t have players and teams simply re-engineering the rules as they see fit. This is not a silly issue, as the owner, Robert Kraft, has always tried to portray it. This is not a joke. This is bad. Really bad.
Patriots fans will say there is no evidence, and there is indeed no camera footage showing Brady with a bicycle pump and a football. This is a circumstantial case, to be sure, but it is the Halle Berry of circumstantial cases.
McNally gave himself the nickname “The Deflator,” according to the report. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up.
The report is part stunning investigation, part science, and part Deep Throat. Wells penetrated, as he did in Miami during Bullygate, the closed and guarded environment of the NFL locker room. This report is legitimate, stunning and bad for Brady. This will impact his legacy greatly.
There are three highly problematic issues for Brady.
First, the report also points out that Brady deceived Belichick. Says the report:
Belichick asked Brady directly whether he had any knowledge about any of the issues raised by the press since the AFC Championship Game. According to Belichick, Brady said “absolutely not.” Belichick stated that he then asked if Brady or anyone Brady knew had tampered with or in any way altered the footballs. Brady again denied any knowledge or involvement. Belichick recalled that Brady also explained that once he inspects and approves game balls, those balls are exactly as he likes them and that he would not want anyone to do anything to them after that point. Belichick believed Brady. Belichick and Brady attended the team meeting, and Belichick told the team that there was “not one shred of truth” to the deflation allegations. When given the floor, Brady repeated what he had told Belichick about wanting game balls to be exactly as he approved them.
So Brady wasn’t just dishonest about the story overall but he misled his own coach.
The second problem for Brady is that investigators say flat out in the report they didn’t believe several of Brady’s explanations.
The third problem are the text messages between Brady and others, and that Brady refused to turn over his phone to Wells. Brady didn’t refuse to turn it over because there was too much Flock of Seagulls on it. He refused because he didn’t want Wells to see what he was trying to cover up.
As the report states:
Text messages most plausibly read as describing a conversation between Jastremski and Brady during which Brady mentioned McNally and said that McNally must have “a lot of stress” trying to get the footballs “done.” (“Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done…”).
That message and the others cited in the report crush any rational person’s view that he’s innocent. McNally and Jastremski talk in them about deflating footballs.
Brady will still be seen as one of the greats. That’s not in jeopardy. Yet what this report will do is the same thing Spygate did to the Patriots. Critics of this great franchise say that Spygate tarnishes all of the Patriots’ titles. I’ve always believed that is nonsense.
Now the same will be said of Brady. It does not eradicate every great thing he’s done, but it does raise legitimate questions. How long has Brady been doing this? If it wasn’t such a big deal, why lie about it so extensively? Why cover it up? Just to protect a squeaky clean, Facebook-joking image? Or was there something deeper?
Just how long has Brady been cheating? That is the legitimate question that must now be asked. And this is why Brady’s legacy is now seriously impacted forever. Because we just don’t know. What we do know, is that Brady cheated and misled in this case. That’s the truth. That’s a fact.
Go ahead, Patriots fans. Blame the media. Blame me. Blame Roger Goodell. Blame it on a rogue ballboy. Blame it on the Colts. Blame whomever you want. But most rational people, most people who don’t have a horse in this race, will blame Brady, as we should.
Setting up a VPN is a little complicated and if you’re doing it on a lot of iOS devices in a single household, it’s a bit of a pain. How-To Geek suggests creating a single configuration profile you can just send to anyone who needs to get on the network.
Herschel Supply Co. has released the video lookbook for their Summer 2015 collection. Released a few days ago, the still lookbook did well to evoke a yearning for summer, with a showcase of new seasonal offerings underscoring the luminous nature of the shoot. To get a better idea of how new Herschel Supply accessories stack up to the outdoors, the lookbook video features a couple gallivanting through expansive fields and rural towns with bags and hats from the new range in tow.
A research team at Lund University in Sweden has conducted a study to test the effectiveness of tomosynthesis breast screening against more conventional mammograms. The results are promising, showing the new technique to be better at detecting tumors, as well as being a more comfortable experience for the patient.