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American Enterprise Institute calls Ted Wells report “unreliable”

With the Tom Brady appeal hearing only 10 days away, it could be time for another Angry Ted Wells conference call.

The American Enterprise Institute, whose truly independent analysis helped several former Saints players ultimately avoid discipline in the bounty scandal, has examined the 243-page report from the NFL’s investigator in the #DeflateGate scandal. And AEI has determined the Wells report to be “unreliable.”

In an item written for the New York Times, AEI focuses on the conclusion that the Patriots tampered with air pressure in footballs prior to the AFC title game because the footballs used by the Patriots in the first half had a more significant drop in air pressure than the footballs used by the Colts in the first half. AEI rejects that finding based on two factors previously raised here: (1) NFL officials measured only four of the 12 Colts footballs at halftime due to supposed time constraints; and (2) the footballs used by the Colts experienced a likely increase in air pressure while in a warmer environment as the 11 footballs used by the Patriots were tested with two different gauges and then re-inflated.

The article in the Times also points out the different measurements from the two gauges used to set the air pressure in the footballs before the game and then to measure them at halftime, and concludes with a recommendation that the Brady appeal hearing “should proceed with the knowledge that the Wells report is unreliable.”

A separate and much longer report posted at AEI’s website reaches the same primary conclusion. AEI found that the footballs used by the Colts showed less of a reduction at halftime because they had a longer chance to experience an increase in air pressure in the warmer environment inside the locker room while the footballs used by the Patriots were being tested and re-inflated.

This report could give Commissioner Roger Goodell the “new information” needed to disregard the findings of the Wells report, concluding that the evidence did not point to tampering on the day of the AFC title game -- and in turn that Brady deserves no punishment. To reach that conclusion, however, Goodell will have to admit that he hired an investigator who did a poor job. Which would mean that Goodell did a poor job in hiring Ted Wells.

Which could mean that Goodell will give no credence to the findings of AEI.

While the points made by AEI are hardly new, they now have a degree of credibility that makes the work hard to ignore. The real question moving forward is how hard will the Commissioner work to ignore them?