After months of speculation the investigator hired to look into the controversy surrounding deflated footballs during the New England Patriots AFC Championship win over the Indianapolis Colts released the findings, and the results look bad for the Patriots, particularly QB Tom Brady.
Arguably the most damaging sentence of the report comes about Brady: "It is more probable than not that Tom Brady (the quarterback for the Patriots) was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities."
The report explains in very detailed manner that the investigators tried all manners of tests for which air would be released from footballs. Despite the experiments, and the Patriots explanation that atmospheric conditions would have caused the air drop, the report could find no examples.
"We have identified no set of credible environmental or physical factors that completely accounts for the additional loss in air pressure exhibited by the Patriots game balls as compared to the loss in air pressure exhibited by the Colts game balls measured during halftime of the AFC Championship Game."
The Patriots discredited accounts that a team employee released air from the balls before the AFC Championship began. The report does not.
"With minimal training (a single practice run), it is possible for an individual using a standard sports ball inflation needle to perform the following in approximately 60-70 seconds: open a door and enter a room, close the door, open a zippered bag containing 13 footballs, insert the needle into all footballs releasing a small amount of air from each, close and zipper the bag containing the footballs, and leave the room through the door, closing the door behind."
Leading up to the Super Bowl, New England owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick and Brady all refuted any claims of wrong doing by the Patriots. Over time, the Patriots responses grew quite testy. In a statement Wednesday, Kraft remained opposed to the findings of the report, but said New England would accept any punishment from the NFL for the deflated balls controversy.
"We understand and greatly respect the responsibility of being one of 32 in this league and, on that basis, we will accept the findings of the report and take the appropriate actions based on those findings as well as any discipline levied by the league.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement thanking Ted Wells and his team for the thorough report, but announced no disciplinary actions at this time.
To read the full report, click here.