The never-ending saga that is Deflategate has taken another turn, with an update to the website previously established by Daniel L. Goldberg, who represented the New England Patriots during the NFL and Ted Wells' investigation into deflated footballs from the 2015 AFC Championship Game.
In the updated version of the Wells Report in Context website, Goldberg sought to debunk 15 myths discovered in Wells' original 243-page report (Warning: Report contains profanity) published last year.
One of the myths listed in the new report is the amount of time (nine minutes) NFL lawyers said it took to complete initial gauging of 11 footballs the Patriots used:
According to the NFL’s lawyers, just the gauging of the 11 Patriots footballs took up to 9 minutes: 2 to 4 minutes to start to gauge them and an added 4 to 5 minutes to complete the gauging. No records were kept of the timing of the halftime PSI measurements. Seven League officials witnessed the halftime events, but no interviews recounted in the Wells Report state what any witness said about when the gauging of the Patriots’ footballs began, how long it took, or when it ended.
A second myth Goldberg attempts to debunk is the claim that Indianapolis' footballs "were gauged immediately after the Patriots’ footballs were gauged, and before the Patriots’ footballs were re-inflated and re-gauged."
Goldberg's report notes that "the Wells Report does not describe what any of the seven League witnesses present at halftime actually said regarding the sequence of these events," and a possible sequence of events given the timeline would "also mean the officials likely started to gauge the four Colts’ footballs at least 11 minutes into halftime, after they had warmed up and their PSI had naturally started to return to their original pregame air pressure."
Further down the list, Goldberg refutes Wells' assertion that "Tom Brady’s statement that he did not think that anyone would tamper with the PSI of the footballs without his knowledge somehow proves that there was tampering and that he knew of it."
He asserts that Wells' statement about Brady "does not make either the PSI tampering or Mr. Brady’s knowledge of it 'more likely than not,' which is the League’s required standard of proof."
He also disputes that Brady's communication with John Jastremski, the equipment assistant Wells claimed "participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee," is somehow proof of tampering that Brady knew about:
If one assumes there was the long-running scheme involving Messrs. Brady and Jastremski, then one would also have to assume that the absence of any texts between them while that scheme was being implemented was quite deliberate — part of a vigilantly followed code of silence. Of course, once the story broke, there would be even more reason to be sure there were no texts being exchanged between them, and particularly none that referred to the breaking story.
On the heels of Goldberg's report being released, Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Richie Incognito sided with the AFC East rivals in a well-timed tweet:
Richie Incognito @68INCOGNITO
🍵🐸 https://t.co/EoKT7fjOqZ2016-3-11 18:45:42
Incognito was not shy about sharing his thoughts on the power NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Wells hold after he was suspended for bullying former teammate Jonathan Martin in 2013, per Bob Glauber of Newsday:
I just think it's bogus, the whole system in how it's set up with Roger and the complete, absolute power he has. He has so much power and he hires independent investigators who come in and are obviously not independent. They come in with an agenda and they come in looking to find facts to back up their argument. All the facts are slanted in their favor.
Incognito also told Glauber that Wells came into the investigation "with a mission against [him]" and that his findings left out testimony from teammates that would have helped his case.
The Deflategate situation was brought back into the spotlight on March 3, when the NFL's appeal for Brady's overturned suspension was heard in court.
While a final decision hasn't been rendered in the appeal, one attorney who attended the hearing told Glauber it was "not a good day" for Brady, and he sees "a 2-1 defeat" for New England's quarterback from the three-judge panel.
This entire case has been dragged out more than 12 months now, with opinions and facts still being disputed by both sides. There may come a point when it's finally resolved, but nothing would be surprising in this case anymore.