Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Kap Trap

Let me make sure I understand.

You can't stand how people are so easily offended nowadays. It troubles you that you can't speak your mind anymore without facing a torrent of outrage from oversensitive whiners.

By now, it probably seems to you that some people are just itching to snap into attack mode, to jump down your throat, haranguing you for your insensitivity.

You can't mention a man's race. You can't mention where he came from. You can't mention his religion. You can't mention his beer belly or his hernia. Just open your mouth, and someone is lecturing you about your failure to understand other people's feelings. 

We can't just speak off the cuff anymore. We have to carefully examine every word before we say it, in order to avoid damage to anyone's eggshell egos. Whatever happened to the easy days of yesterday, when we could say exactly what we were thinking, without fear of being hassled? The whole situation is absolutely maddening.

Right?

It's really a foolproof position. Mention any of the above at the next party you go to, and heads are sure to nod all around. People identify with this stuff! 

There's just one tiny problem. His name is Colin Kaepernick.

You didn't even think when you saw what Kaepernick did, did you? You just reacted. You swallowed your gum, or spit out your beer, or cursed at the TV before the national anthem was even over.

Of course, Kaepernick wasn't firing a gun, or driving drunk, or beating up his girlfriend. He wasn't even talking. He was making a statement, though: A statement that really, really pissed you off.

So YOU unleashed a torrent of outrage at Mr. Kaepernick, and YOU snapped into attack mode, and YOU jumped down Kaepernick's throat, and the throats of anyone who dared to defend that un-American piece of filth, and YOU harangued him for his insensitivity, and YOU angrily judged him for his disrespect for the brave souls who fought and died for the flag that he was now desecrating. 

In other words, you reacted exactly like the people you hate.

Now, of course, we'll begin the dissembling phase, in which you'll assure me that this is completely different, that we all just need to shut up about Donald Trump mocking a man's disability or Leslie Jones being compared to a gorilla, but that Colin Kaepernick should have his tattoos removed with a cheese grater for sitting instead of standing during the National Anthem. Spare me.

No one ever admits their hypocrisy, so I don't expect that from you. But I'd appreciate it if you'd at least be honest with yourself. Try it sometime.


What if I sent Roger Goodell the same letter every day for 100 days?

Roger Goodell, Commissioner
National Football League
345 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10154


Dear Commissioner Goodell:

As a lifelong NFL fan, I have lately found myself less able to enjoy the game I love due to the pervasive culture of scandal that plagues this league. Yes, arrests happen. Drug violations happen. Domestic violence happens, too. But a scandal is never a one-time event in the NFL: First comes a rash of news stories about the incident itself; next, a wave of headlines about how the NFL handled it.

This negative attention must not come as a surprise, since the league rarely even bothers to issue a public report after completing an investigation. Just recently, for instance, the NFL announced that it had exonerated Peyton Manning of any PED violations after a seven-month investigation, and no report was issued. The announcement itself was 129 words long, too short even for a middle school term paper, and yet, the NFL immediately put the matter to rest and turned its attention to other issues. Really? After seven months of investigating, this is what we get?

You seem to believe that, if you aren’t currently discussing something, and the media isn’t asking about it, it’s a dead issue. But there’s a residual effect that you appear unable to comprehend. Anyone who reads the news knows that Peyton was in fact a patient at the Guyer Institute, and that Ari Fleischer, Manning’s media rep, admitted that drugs were in fact sent from the Guyer Institute to Ashley Manning—exactly as Charlie Sly alleged on video.  We also know that Manning hired private investigators to interrogate Sly, and to dig through Peyton’s files at the Institute.

Yes, I know you say you looked into everything and that Manning is clean. That isn’t the point. The point is that it looks bad, that Manning acted like a guilty man, and the NFL offered no facts or explanations to dispel that notion. You succeeded in burying the story, but for many, the takeaway will be, “What are they hiding from us?”

Commissioner Goodell, despite the dismal state of your reputation, you still have a chance to put things right. You can prove through your actions that you are honest and aboveboard by providing through, meaningful answers to the following:

  1. As mentioned above, Ari Fleischer confirmed that Peyton Manning was a client of the Guyer Institute, that Manning’s wife, Ashley, was prescribed medication from that same clinic, and that the medication was sent to her home, as alleged by Charlie Sly. Was the “medication” in fact HGH?
  2.  How much credence did you give to Sly’s blanket “retraction”, which was issued on YouTube before Al Jazeera’s story even aired, and before Sly even knew what statements he was retracting?
  3.  Since Sly claimed on video that drugs were sent to Ashley Manning, and Ari Fleischer confirmed the same, doesn’t this necessarily mean that Sly told the truth on video, and that his retraction is not credible?
  4. Did you assess the credibility of the various individuals involved in this case? Who did you find to be credible, and who did you find to be not credible? Why?
  5. Would Ashley Manning be violating HIPAA by saying she did NOT take a certain drug? If not, could she safely deny ever taking HGH, if in fact she has not done so?
  6. During the course of your investigation, did you find any evidence that the Guyer Institute prescribed HGH to anyone (not necessarily the Mannings)? If so, was the HGH prescribed for lawful uses?
  7. In a prior investigation, you determined that an increase in the frequency of phone calls between alleged conspirators was an indication of guilt. Was it an indication of guilt in your opinion that Manning hired attorneys, private investigators and media consultants after the allegations against him were made public?
  8. Speaking of phones, did Peyton Manning surrender his cell phone(s)  to your office for analysis? Did you ask him for his phone, or at least for a download of information taken from it? If not, why not?
  9. Is asking for a cell phone, or a download of information from a cell phone, standard NFL investigative procedure? If not, what determines whether you will ask for phones / phone data?
  10. Why wouldn’t you ask for cell phones or cell phone data in every investigation? Isn’t this the primary mode of communication nowadays? What possible reason could you have for not asking for this information?
  11. Was it an indication of guilt in your opinion that Peyton Manning began his own, independent investigation into the allegations before the NFL did? Has any accused person ever launched an independent investigation at any point in NFL history prior to this case?
  12. Did Manning consult with you or anyone at NFL HQ prior to opening his own investigation? Is conducting an independent investigation permitted under NFL rules?
  13. Do you think Peyton Manning trusts the NFL’s investigative process? Why would a man who trusts the process hire his own representation and conduct his own investigation?
  14. Did Peyton Manning give you, or anyone at your office, an explanation of why he conducted his own investigation? Did you ask for an explanation?
  15. Did Manning’s independent investigation compromise the NFL’s investigation in any way? If no, how can you be sure?
  16. Doesn’t the mere questioning of witnesses by an outside party compromise the investigation, since it tips off those being questioned as to what the facts are, and allows them to prepare their answers to future questions?
  17. Was it an indication of guilt in your opinion that Manning’s private investigators went to the Guyer Institute and rummaged through his patient files?
  18. Did you authorize Manning’s investigators to review the files prior to them doing so? If yes, why didn’t you send your own personnel to supervise the process? If not, does it concern you that representatives for a player who was accused of wrongdoing saw, and potentially tampered with, evidence before your office was able to review it?
  19. Did you ask Manning’s investigators exactly what they did with his files?
  20. Did the investigators remove or add anything to the files?
  21. Were the investigators supervised for the entire time they were in possession of the files?
  22. Did the investigators have written authorization from Manning to review his, or his wife’s, private health information?
  23. Was it an indication of guilt in your opinion that Manning’s representatives traveled to Sly’s residence to question him, and when he was unavailable, questioned his parents?
  24. Was a formal report generated after this investigation? If so, why wasn’t it made public? If not, why wasn’t the raw information made public?
  25. Why does the NFL sometimes release a report and sometimes not? Isn’t there a standard procedure that governs such things?


Perhaps your job, and your stratospheric salary, are safe, but your reputation and your credibility are not. Please take the first step to remedy this by answering the questions above.

I sincerely look forward to your reply.

Cordially,


The Sports Police

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How did a guy with a chronic neck injury start so many games in a row?

We've all heard the allegations about Peyton Manning, along with his angry denials, and the media's rush to defend him. There's been such a hoopla that you may have missed something:

Peyton never actually denied that his wife Ashley has been prescribed HGH.

He's denied taking it, sure. It was four years ago; there'd be no trace of it in his system now, even if he were to be tested. No one will ever be able to prove that he took it. However, it is possible to prove that HGH was prescribed to his wife--there will be written records of that--and, sure enough, neither Peyton nor his paid representative, Ari Fleischer, will confirm or deny that Ashley was prescribed HGH. Why?

"It's an invasion of his privacy," you say. But it's not an invasion of privacy to say what you haven't done. If someone accused Peyton or Ashley of doing crack or crystal meth, he would have denied it immediately. And yet, when it comes to Ashley and HGH, all we get is silence. Perhaps Peyton ought to 'fess up and tell us the truth. If the whole thing is so innocent, why wouldn't he?

It would be a pretty huge coincidence, wouldn't it, if Ashley were doing HGH right exactly at the same time that Peyton was recovering from four neck surgeries? And that HGH is commonly used by NFL players who are recovering from major injuries?

Oh, and before you tell me that HGH is used for fertility treatments, you might want to do some research. HGH can only legally be used for three purposes, and three purposes only:

1. Childhood growth-hormone deficiency;
2. Short-bowel syndrome (for cancer patients who have had a section of their colon removed);
3. HIV wasting.

It is illegal, as in it is a CRIMINAL ACT, to prescribe HGH for anything other than the three ailments listed above. This means that, if Dr. Guyer was prescribing HGH for Ashley Manning, and if she does not have any of those ailments, then the doctor has committed a crime.

But never mind all of that. I just made a simple observation, so simple that I can't believe I didn't think of it before.

Peyton's neck condition is extremely serious, so serious, in fact, that his brother Cooper, who suffered from the same thing, never played a down in the NFL because of it, and yet Peyton started in 227 consecutive games! How could that be? Let's take a look at some figures:


Look at the disparity between Peyton Manning, an immobile pocket passer with neck issues, and the rest of the QBs on this list. For all my stat geek friends out there, there is only a 0.75% chance that this huge differential occurred by chance. This HGH thing is looking more plausible by the minute.

Unless, of course, Peyton would like to clear this up and go on the record, saying once and for all that his wife was never prescribed HGH.

We're waiting...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Operation Spoilsport: ESPN's 11,500-word temper tantrum

I'm sure it's a total coincidence that the NFL suffered a humiliating defeat in Judge Richard Berman's courtroom less than a week ago, and now there's a full-length article up on ESPN.com which basically says, "Well, the Patriots are rulebreakers anyway!"

Never mind that 90% of the article rehashes old allegations that were published eight years ago. Never mind that it contains a total of thirty-seven unattributed quotes and one unnamed source after another. Never mind that the star witnesses for ESPN's case are:


  1. Matt Walsh, a disgruntled former Patriots employee, who was fired not for poor performance as the authors claim, but for surreptitiously recording a conversation with his supervisor without permission. Walsh strongly implied that he had a videotape of the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough prior to Super Bowl 36, then admitted he was lying--and yet, our friends at ESPN accept his every word as infallible gospel;
  2. Arlen Specter, who is dead; and,
  3. A bunch of people who refused to allow their names to be used.


A few key points from the analysis below:

ESPN makes a Federal case (chuckle) out of the Patriots' use of stolen defensive signals, and tries mightily to imply that these signals helped them win games. But of course, this type of assessment is completely subjective, and ESPN itself presents evidence that signal stealing isn't very effective. And even if the signals DID make a difference, this does not prove impropriety. Stealing signals is legal and quite common. Even videotaping signals is allowed, but it must be done from approved locations; sideline taping was banned by a league memo in 2006. Yes, a memo, not an actual rule.

The authors paint a picture in which the other 31 NFL teams are pious, churchgoing old ladies, and the Patriots are lawless hooligans. Any evidence of other teams' rulebreaking is ignored, even though it provides valuable context of what it's like to run an NFL team in 2015. Eric Mangini was caught videotaping at Gillette Stadium in 2006, and the NFL did nothing. The Miami Dolphins purchased tapes of the Patriots offense and used them to decipher their offensive signals, leading to an important win against New England. The NFL refused to even investigate. The Baltimore Ravens, and specifically Ray Lewis, bragged that his defense knew what all of the code words in Brady's one-word offense meant, and no one accused him of spying or cheating. The Patriots also reported that they were being watched during their practice for Super Bowl 36, and to my knowledge, neither the NFL nor our friends at ESPN have looked into it. Funny, right?

ESPN knows very well how football works. You are allowed to try to figure out what your opponents are doing. You are allowed to try to decipher their signals and calls from the line of scrimmage. It's not against the rules in any way. Every single team in the NFL does it, and if they do not, they lose. But ESPN is searching high and low for raw brains to feed to the zombied masses, who need to believe that the Patriots aren't as good as they seem to be. Any allegation, however ridiculous or unfounded, will do: No one is reading past the word "cheater" anyway, which is probably why it appears about 372 times in ESPN's article.

Point is, trying to figure out what your opponents are doing can sound pretty damn ominous if you don't tell the full story. If you're willing to tell just half the truth, and hide the other half, you can make a team look really bad. Welcome to the ESPN - the National Enquirer of sports.

The article carefully quotes unnamed members of the Eagles and Steelers who suspect that the Patriots somehow spied on them, though they provide zero evidence, but they ignore, or bury, quotes from Jeff Lurie, Eagles owner, Andy Reid, Eagles coach, Art Rooney, Steelers owner, and Bill Cowher, Steelers coach, all of whom say that the Patriots' wins over their teams were fully legitimate.

The few new allegations contained within this article are supported only by anonymous quotes and zero evidence. They are nonetheless presented as hard facts.

The purpose of the ESPN article is not to find the truth: It is to further smear the reputation of the greatest franchise in NFL history. It's impossible to beat Belichick and Brady on the football field consistently, and those who dislike them grow more frustrated about that by the day.

There are some formatting issues here, but I wanted to get this out as soon as possible. It may be a bit hard to follow in parts. But I have a feeling you'll like it anyway.




Date Allegation Source(s) Against NFL Rules? Y/N Anonymous Source? Y/N Notes
9/9/2007 Matt Estrella caught on sideline, "illegally taping Jets coaches' defensive signals" Undisputed N N Scouting opponents' defensive signals is legal and quite common. Videotaping signals is also allowed from certain locations. The Patriots were penalized for videotaping from their own sideline, which violated a memo sent by Ray Anderson in September 2006. The NFL cannot create new laws via memo; they must be voted on by owners, and this was not.
September, 2007 League investigators found a scouting library containing videotapes and handwritten notes of opponents' signals and diagrams of formations unspecified N Y Scouting libraries are not against the rules. Handwritten notes and diagrams are not against the rules. Videotaping from your own sideline is also not illegal, but it violates a memo that was sent in 2006.
September, 2007 "League executives stomped the tapes into pieces and shredded the papers inside a Gillette Stadium conference room." unspecified N Y This is strikingly similar to the furor over Brady's cell phone. In both cases, no one has come forward claiming to know what was on either the tapes or the phone, but the destruction has caused widespread accusations that Someone Must Be Hiding Something.
Was this destruction of evidence in keeping with prior NFL practices? And why didn't you admit that some/all of these tapes were shown to the media before being discarded?
2006 "At least two teams had caught New England videotaping their coaches' signals in 2006, yet the league did nothing." unspecified N Y Eric Mangini was caught videotaping in 2006 also, and the league did not discipline him either. We only know about this because it was reported by the media, who were struck by the irony that Mangini was the one who turned the Patriots in to the NFL.
How many others besides Mangini were caught?
2006 "NFL competition committee members had, over the years, fielded numerous allegations about New England breaking an array of rules." unnamed competition committee members ?? Y There are no specifics listed as to what is included in this "array of rules"
2015 "Goodell deemed the Patriots and Brady "guilty of conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of football," the league's highest crime, and punished the franchise and its marquee player." Roger Goodell Y N "Conduct Detrimental" applies to teams, not players. Players cannot be punished under this clause per the CBA. Further, per Judge Berman's ruling, it was improper to invoke conduct detrimental over football inflation, when there were already equipment violation rules on the books.
2015 "After Goodell had upheld Brady's punishment, on the basis mainly of his failure to cooperate by destroying his cellphone…" Undisputed N N Ted Wells did not ask for Brady's cell phone. He only asked for the information FROM the phone, which Brady provided. Roger Goodell refused this information because it would have been "impractical" to follow up with the 28 NFL-related people with whom Brady had been in touch.
2007 "...the NFL's stonewalling of a potential congressional investigation into the matter…" authors' opinion N N In a June 16, 2008 interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, Specter said he "had gone as far as he could" with the matter, and would not request a senate hearing. You can't stonewall an investigation that no one is pursuing.
2000 ...before a Patriots preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jimmy Dee, the head of New England's video department, approached one of his charges, Matt Walsh, with a strange assignment: He wanted Walsh to film the Bucs' offensive and defensive signals, the arm waving and hand folding that team coaches use to communicate plays and formations to the men on the field.  Matt Walsh N N The article goes into great detail with respect to how the videotaping was done, in the Tampa game and others. Again, videotaping opponents' signals is legal; only doing so from a team's own sideline is prohibited by the 2006 memo. Even if we assume (wrongly) that a memo is a rule, most of the incidents described pre-dated this memo, and were therefore completely legal in any case.
2008 Walsh recalled to Senate investigators that [Ernie] Adams told old stories from the Browns about giving a video staffer an NFL Films shirt and assigning him to film the opponents' sideline huddles and grease boards from behind the bench.  Matt Walsh N N Belichick left the Browns in 1995, 11 years before the Ray Anderson memo prohibited sideline videotaping. Everything described here was legal. Incidentally, the authors do not claim otherwise, and in fact rarely comment on the legality of any act, despite the ominous tone of the article.
c. 2004 "an entire system of covert videotaping was developed and a secret library created…" unspecified N Y The videotaping wasn't covert. It was conducted on the Patriots' sideline in front of tens of thousands of spectators. And no, taping over your Patriots' logo doesn't make it covert.
Of course the library was "secret". Did you expect them to post their scouting videos on patriots.com?
c. 2004 "Sources with knowledge of the system say an advance scout would attend the games of upcoming Patriots opponents and assemble a spreadsheet of all the signals and corresponding plays. The scout would give it to Adams, who would spend most of the week in his office with the door closed, matching the notes to the tapes filmed from the sideline" unspecified N Y This type of scouting is 100% legal today and always has been. All 32 NFL teams scout their opponents.
c. 2004 "the Patriots' videographers were told to look like media members, to tape over their team logos or turn their sweatshirt inside out, to wear credentials that said Patriots TV or Kraft Productions. The videographers also were provided with excuses for what to tell NFL security if asked what they were doing: Tell them you're filming the quarterbacks. Or the kickers. Or footage for a team show" Matt Walsh N N A-HA! Lying! There must be an NFL rule against that! And, BTW, why do we automatically assume that Matt Walsh's testimony is so completely unassailable? This is a man who was first disciplined for poor job performance, then fired outright for surreptitiously taping a conversation with his boss without permission. A disgruntled former employee with an axe to grind could be making things up or embellishing his story out of spite.
Unspecified "sometimes the team would add recently cut players from upcoming opponents and pay them only to help decipher signals, former Patriots staffers say" "Former Patriots staffers" N Y It's common practice to sign a player who's been cut from an upcoming opponent in order to collect scouting information. Legal and common.
Unspecified "A former Patriots employee who was directly involved in the taping system says "it helped our offense a lot," especially in divisional games in which there was a short amount of time between the first and second matchups, making it harder for opposing coaches to change signals." Former Patriots employee N Y Great, except another employee says that Ernie Adams was "horrible" and that the tapes weren't useful at all. Besides, if this "former employee" worked for the Patriots pre-2006, then the tapes were 100% legal.
Unspecified "Several of them acknowledge that during pregame warm-ups, a low-level Patriots employee would sneak into the visiting locker room and steal the play sheet, listing the first 20 or so scripted calls for the opposing team's offense. (The practice became so notorious that some coaches put out fake play sheets for the Patriots to swipe.) " Former New England coaches and employees Y Y Let me make sure I understand.
Opponents left their play sheets out in the open, unattended, and a low-level employee was able to sneak in and out of the locker room undetected, knowng exactly where the play sheets were being stored. And even though there were no windows to peer into to verify that the locker room was empty, he just barged right in anyway.
 And these opponents, after finding that their play sheets had been stolen, chose not to report it to anyone, and instead left fake play sheets. Even now, when it's open season on the Patriots, and when one major scandal would probably mean the end of Belichick's career, no one is speaking up.
This would be a huge scandal by any measure. Why wouldn't / didn't the opponents say anything to anyone about it, ever?

Lastly, as we all know by now, there are security cameras at Gillette Stadium. Why would the Patriots order one of their employees to do something like this, which would be clearly captured on video?
Unspecified "Numerous former employees say the Patriots would have someone rummage through the visiting team hotel for playbooks or scouting reports. " Numerous former employees N Y How does one "rummage through" a hotel? Do you mean the garbage? If so, that's been going on since the days of George Halas and probably before. Believe it or not, Bill Belichick did not invent this. IF your anonymous sources are even telling the truth.
Unspecified "Walsh later told investigators that he was once instructed to remove the labels and erase tapes of a Patriots practice because the team had illegally used a player on injured reserve" Matt Walsh Y N Common across the league. Maximum penalty is a monetary fine. Do you pretend that this had ANY effect whatsoever on a game? (If Matt Walsh is even telling the truth)
Unspecified "At Gillette Stadium, the scrambling and jamming of the opponents' coach-to-quarterback radio line -- "small s---" that many teams do, according to a former Pats assistant coach -- occurred so often that one team asked a league official to sit in the coaches' box during the game and wait for it to happen. Sure enough, on a key third down, the headset went out." Former Pats assistant coach Y Y Since the authors don't dispute that many teams do this, I'm going to assume that’s true. The Bill Walsh 49ers were accused by Bill Parcells (for one) of turning off their opponents' radios during the 49ers first 15 scripted plays, for example. And, since the NFL official was right there, surely he took action, right? And yet we've heard nothing about this story. Sounds like BS to me.
Also the authors conveniently forget to mention that, when one team's radios go out, the other team must turn theirs off as well, so I'm assuming that happened in this game. 
2001-2006 "A former member of the NFL competition committee says the committee spent much of 2001-06 "discussing ways in which the Patriots cheated," even if nothing could be proved" former member of the competition committee ?? Y How do they know the Patriots were cheating, if nothing could be proved? What kind of cheating are we talking about here? This article is one vague generality after another. No substance.
2007 "There were regular rumors that the Patriots had taped the Rams' walk-through practice before Super Bowl XXXVI in February 2002" unspecified Y Y The Boston Herald reported this story, then ran a front- and back-page retraction and apology. Seven years ago. ESPN themselves apologized for reporting the same thing last month. Now, after apologizing, ESPN is back on the same story again?
2007-8 "If it had passed, defensive signals would have been unnecessary. But it failed. In 2007, the proposal failed once again, this time by two votes, with Belichick voting against it. (The rule change passed in 2008 after Spygate broke, with Belichick voting for it.)" unspecified N Y Wow! Belichick voted one way one year, then changed his mind the next year? Clearly illegal!!!
9/6/2006 "The allegations against the Patriots prompted NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson to send a letter to all 32 team owners, general managers and head coaches on Sept. 6, 2006, reminding them that "videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent's offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited from the sidelines."" public records N N You only listed part of the quote. Here's the full one:
"videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent's offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches' booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game."

Oct-06 ". In November 2006, Green Bay Packers security officials caught Matt Estrella shooting unauthorized footage at Lambeau Field. When asked what he was doing, according to notes from the Senate investigation of Spygate that had not previously been disclosed, Estrella said he was with Kraft Productions and was taping panoramic shots of the stadium. He was removed by Packers security. That same year, according to former Colts GM Bill Polian, who served for years on the competition committee and is now an analyst for ESPN, several teams complained that the Patriots had videotaped signals of their coaches" Senate investigation notes N N We don’t need notes from a Senate investigation to tell us that the Patriots were taping other teams' signals. The Patriots readily ADMITTED this when they were asked. They made no effort to conceal the videotaping; it was done out in the open, in front of 80,000 people. These facts were established 8 years ago, and severe punishments were issued. Unless you have something new, why are we rehashing this?
You left off everything after "sidelines", because you know full well that, the way the rule is written, no team could ever tape anything at a game. But every single team takes coaching video of every single NFL game, without exception. So obviously, there is some interpretation that all teams do when it comes to this rule, and just as obviously, the NFL is not interpreting their own rule to the letter. If a "club staff member" is taking video, then whatever location s/he is in would obviously be "accessible to club staff members", and therefore that person would be breaking the rule.
You cut off the quote because to leave the whole thing intact would prove that this was a selective enforcement of a memo that wasn't even an actual rule in the first place.
2006 "The tension was raised later that year, when the Patriots accused the Jets of tampering and the Jets countered with an accusation that the Patriots had circumvented the salary cap. " unspecified Y Y The Patriots have never been found guilty of circumventing the salary cap.
2007 "Mangini saw it as a sign of disrespect that Belichick taped their signals -- "He's pissing in my face," he told a confidant" unspecified N Y Mangini was caught taping the Patriots in 2006 in Foxboro, something you forgot to mention. Was Mangini "pissing in Belichick's face" by taping him?
2007 "They took him into a small room off the stadium's tunnel, confiscated his camera and tape, and made him wait. He was sweating. Someone gave Estrella water, and he was shaking so severely that he spilled it. "He was shitting a brick," a source says." unspecified N Y I wonder where it's written that NFL security employees can confiscate team property and force an employee of an NFL team to come with them. Are these law enforcement officers?
2007 ""Goodell didn't want to know how many games were taped," another source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation says, "and Belichick didn't want to tell him."" unspecified N Y At some point during the investigation, Bill Belichick told Goodell that he had been taping signals throughout his time in New England. Roger Goodell had a very good idea of how many games were affected, despite your efforts to make this sound like new information.
2007 "the Patriots told the league officials they possessed eight tapes containing game footage along with a half-inch-thick stack of notes of signals and other scouting information belonging to Adams, Glaser says. The league officials watched portions of the tapes. Goodell was contacted, and he ordered the tapes and notes to be destroyed, but the Patriots didn't want any of it to leave the building, arguing that some of it was obtained legally and thus was proprietary. So in a stadium conference room, Pash and the other NFL executives stomped the videotapes into small pieces and fed Adams' notes into a shredder, Glaser says. She recalls picking up the shards of plastic from the smashed Beta tapes off the floor and throwing them away." Jay Glaser N N Not sure who the "she" referred to here is. No mention of how much of the tapes the league officials watched. 90%? 20%? It matters, and no one is saying.
2007 "Sources with knowledge of the investigation insist that the Patriots were "borderline noncompliant." And a former high-level Patriots employee agrees, saying, "The way the Patriots tried to approach it, they tried to cover up everything," although he refused to specify how. " A former high-level Patriots employee N Y So you have an anonymous source, who, despite being anonymous, still won't tell you what the Patriots did wrong. And you included it in your story. Wow.
Jay Glaser adamantly denies that assertion, saying all the Patriots' evidence of stolen signals was turned over to the league that day. On Sept. 20, Glaser says the team signed a certification letter promising the league that the only evidence of the videotaping of illegal signals had been destroyed two days earlier and that no other tapes or notes of stolen signals were in the team's possession. The letter does not detail the games that were recorded or itemize the notes that were shredded.
2004 "The Panthers now believe that their practices had been taped by the Patriots before Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. "Our players came in after that first half and said it was like [the Patriots] were in our huddle," a Panthers source says. During halftime -- New England led 14-10 -- Carolina's offensive coordinator, Dan Henning, changed game plans because of worries the Patriots had too close a read on Carolina's schemes. And, in the second half, the Panthers moved the ball at will before losing 32-29 on a last-second field goal. "Do I have any tape to prove they cheated?" this source says. "No. But I'm convinced they did it." A Panthers source / Dan Henning Y Y So a coordinator from the Panthers, who lost to the Patriots in Carolina's only Super Bowl appearance, is going to give you a neutral, unbiased opinion of the team that beat him? Do you think there's any possibility of bitterness there?
Another parallel to the Wells Report: Automatically assuming that rulebreaking occurred as a sort of diagnosis of exclusion. "Well, it couldn't have been anything else, so they must have cheated". There is zero evidence that any practice was taped by the Patriots, ever. Which practice was supposedly taped? When? Where? Aren't these practices closed? And even IF a practice is videotaped, what good is it if you don't know which play is going to be run at which time? How could a videotape of a practice even be used in game preparation?
Oh, and by the by, funny story: Carolina's longest drive of that game was an 8-play, 95 yard TD drive--in the SECOND QUARTER, when the Patriots were supposedly "in their huddle". The first two drives of the second half, after the game plan was changed, were both punts. "Moving the ball at will", indeed. Yes, they had three TDs in the 4th quarter, but the first of these drives featured a 33-yard run for a score, and the second, an 85-yard TD catch. Big, impressive plays, yes. Moving the ball at will, no.
2002 "[Hines] Ward told reporters that Patriots inside information about Steelers play calling helped New England upset Pittsburgh 24-17 in the January 2002 AFC Championship Game. "Oh, they knew," Ward, now an NBC analyst who didn't return messages for this story, said after Spygate broke. "They were calling our stuff out. They knew a lot of our calls. There's no question some of their players were calling out some of our stuff.""
Some of the Steelers' defensive coaches remain convinced that a deep touchdown pass from Brady to Deion Branch in the January 2005 AFC Championship Game, which was won by the Patriots 41-27, came from stolen signals because Pittsburgh hadn't changed its signals all year, sources say, and the two teams had played a game in the regular season that Walsh told investigators he believes was taped. "They knew the signals, so they knew when it went in what the coverage was and how to attack it," says a former Steelers coach. "I've had a couple of guys on my teams from New England, and they've told me those things."
Hines Ward / "sources" / A former Steelers coach Funny how you mention Hines Ward, and some anonymous people, but you don't mention the coach, Bill Cowher, who said: "We didn’t lose the game because of any 'Spygate,' because of them having any additional things. [If] they’re guilty of anything they’re guilty of arrogance because they were told not to do something but it was something everybody does. They got caught doing it with a camera.”
“Stealing someone’s signals was a part of the game and everybody attempted to do that. We had people that always tried to steal signals,” said Cowher. “What happened when we lost that game is they outplayed us. It had nothing to do with stealing signals or cheating or anything else.”
2004 "How did New England seem completely prepared for the rarely used dime defense the Eagles deployed in the second quarter, scoring touchdowns on three of four drives? The Eagles suspected that either practices were filmed or a playbook was stolen. "To this day, some believe that we were robbed by the Patriots not playing by the rules ... and knowing our game plan," a former Eagles football operations staffer says." former Eagles football operations staffer Y Y Moreover, Ray Lewis bragged before the 2012 AFC Championship Game that the Ravens had figured out the Patriots' one-word offense, and knew what all the various QB calls meant. Were they spying?
2008 "When Specter pressed Goodell on the speed of the investigation and his decision to destroy evidence, Goodell became "defensive" and had "the overtone of something to hide" according to notes taken by Danny Fisher, a counsel on Sen. Specter's Judiciary Committee staff and the lead investigator on the Spygate inquiry. "No valid reason to destroy," Specter wrote in his own notes." Danny Fisher N N Or what about Miami in 2006? Several players from that team admitted to purchasing tapes of the Patriots offense that allowed them to decipher Tom Brady's audible and line-blocking calls. The NFL's reaction? Nothing to see here--move on. Why didn't Goodell help his "friend", Bob Kraft? Was this illegal, or wasn't it? I'll bet you a dollar that, if the Patriots "purchased a tape" of another team, it would be front-page headlines. But for another team, it's not even against the rules.
2008 In his 2012 book, "Life Among the Cannibals," Specter wrote that a powerful friend -- he wouldn't name the person -- told him that if he "laid off the Patriots," there could be a lot of money for him in Palm Beach. Specter told the friend, "I couldn't care less."" Arlen Specter N N Do any the witnesses in this case have names?? Does he pretend that this offer was made on behalf of the Patriots? And why DID Specter "lay off the Patriots" eventually? Was it because Matt Walsh gave him nothing?
2002 "the public didn't know the great lengths that video assistants were told to use to cover up the videotaping of signals. Belichick had insisted that it was done openly, with nothing to hide." Matt Walsh N N Covering up videotaping is not against the rules. If the Patriots were videotaping from the press box, for example, no one from the other team would even see them, and therefore would not know about the taping at all, and it would be completely legal. Is there something sinister about that?
A man who is videotaping from a sideline, with 80,000 people in the stands, IS doing it openly--whether the videographer has turned his sweater inside out or not.
So WHAT if they were trying to conceal their videotaping? How is that a congressional matter?
2003-2005 "Walsh told Specter that the taping continued in the years after he left the team, by Steve Scarnecchia, his successor as video assistant, whom Walsh claimed to see taping opposing coaches' signals at Gillette Stadium from 2003 to 2005. Specter asked whether he had told Goodell about it. "No," Walsh said. "Goodell didn't ask me about that."" Matt Walsh N N Goodell probably didn't ask Walsh about it because Belichick already admitted to Goodell that he had been taping for his entire career in New England. And the years of 2003- 2005 were all pre-memo anyway, so it was 100% legal at that time.
2002 Walsh reported what he had seen to Patriots assistant coach Brian Daboll, who asked an array of questions about the Rams' formations. Walsh said that Daboll, who declined through the Patriots to comment for this story, drew a series of diagrams -- an account Daboll later denied to league investigators." Matt Walsh N N Daboll would have no reason to deny this. The event described is 100% legal. Employees are allowed to describe something they saw at a practice to their coaches.
Interesting, isn't it, how we start out with the allegation that Walsh had a videotape of the entire practice, and we end with a little sketch on a piece of paper. And oh, BTW, I noticed you forgot to mention Willie McGinest's allegation that the Rams were actually spying on the PATRIOTS' practice before the Super Bowl. When are you releasing your 11,000-word expose on that?
2002 "Faulk had returned only one kickoff in his career before the Super Bowl. Sure enough, in the second quarter, he lined up deep. The Patriots were ready: Vinatieri kicked it into a corner, leading Faulk out of bounds after gaining 1 yard." unspecified N Y Yeah, because there's no way they could've looked down the field and seen Marshall Faulk standing there waiting to receive the kick. Wow. Really dude?
2002 "When they ran the same plays late in the Super Bowl's fourth quarter, the Patriots' defense was in position on nearly every down" unspecified Y Dude. You just admitted that your star witness, Matt Walsh, had nothing. Now you're building a case that the Pats had something. Which is it?
2002 "The Patriots' game plan had called for a defender to hit Faulk on every down, as a means of eliminating him, but one coach who worked with an assistant on that 2001 Patriots team says that the ex-Pats assistant coach once bragged that New England knew exactly what the Rams would call in the red zone. "He'd say, 'A little birdie told us,'" the coach says now." a coach who worked with an assistant on the 2001 team Y Do you, or do you not, think the practice was taped? If so, how and by whom? Sounds to me like they played a hell of a defensive game and you're trying to attribute it to cheating.
2002 "But in his handwritten notes the day before, beneath Matt Walsh's name, Specter jotted the phrase, "Cover-up."" Danny Fisher N …even though, when asked directly, Specter denied there was a cover-up, just an enormous amount of haste.
2008 "Martz also recalls that Goodell asked him to write a statement, saying that he was satisfied with the NFL's Spygate investigation and was certain the Patriots had not cheated and asking everyone to move on -- like leaders of the Steelers and Eagles had done." Mike Martz N Now Martz says he didn't write the statement with his name on it. He says he had more questions, but he "got in line". So basically he's admitting to lying in a written statement released to the public, and now we're supposed to believe him, because now he's telling the truth?
2015 "Another legacy of Spygate -- consequences for failing to cooperate with a league investigation -- was used against the Patriots and, ultimately, Brady. " authors' opinion Y N Are you saying that Brett Favre would not have been punished for non-cooperation had it not been for Spygate? Was the entire concept of non-cooperation completely foreign to the NFL prior to 2007?
2015 "That, in fact, was the only notable similarity between the two investigations: the order to destroy evidence." authors' opinion N N Wrong. The cell phone itself was not evidence. The data contained on it was, and Brady offered this to Goodell. Goodell refused, because it would have been "impractical" to track down the 28 NFL-related parties that Brady had been in touch with, even though Ted Wells had just completed a 4-month, $5M investigation. Cool.

Monday, September 7, 2015

...In fact, I'm pretty sure the brontosaurus was jealous of Eli...

I enjoy watching people defend Eli Manning.

He's mediocre. You know he's mediocre. But, for a few reasons, Eli's got friends all over the place, lustily rooting for him through every three-and-out and bonehead interception. It's a sad kind of funny when people cheer for someone who sucks--whether you're clapping for your kid's wounded-duck trumpet solo in a middle school band concert, or yelling, "Good answer!" on Family Feud after your teammate's cringe-worthy response, you're lying to yourself, and you look ridiculous.

Oh, yes, many of you will go through the silly charade of propping Elisha (yeah, that's his real name) up, so I'll prove my point with statistics in just a minute. The point is, Eli Manning is not an elite quarterback, and never has been, and he doesn't deserve to be the highest paid player in the game.

Eli's got a couple of major things going for him, however, and though neither one of them has to do with his current skill level as a player, he's got a lot of support for the obscene contract terms he's demanding from the Giants through his agent nonetheless:

He's a Manning. I've learned that sports fans don't like feeling inferior to their heroes. Sure, Michael Jordan could mop up the floor with any of us on a basketball court, but he gave us moments like this, in which, after winning his first championship and being named Finals MVP, he says he'll play a lot of golf, "If [my wife] lets me". See? He needs permission from "the boss", like the rest of us guys do!

The Mannings excel at that kind of stuff. The "aw, shucks" thing is programmed in their DNA, like blinking. Neither of them has uttered a syllable of trash talk in their lives. They don't insult their opponents, even in retaliation to one who's insulted them. They don't date supermodels; in fact, they even have the courtesy of being as ugly as basset hounds, so as not to give the rest of us a complex. 


The end result is that Peyton and Eli are likeable guys, easy to root for. 

He beat the Patriots in huge games. Twice. The past six months has taught me how deep Patriot hatred runs across NFL nation. If you live outside of New England, you probably can't stand the Patriots--and I'm not talking about ordinary, "Ohh, I hate this song!" hatred, either: Football fans are way more passionate than that! This level of loathing is normally reserved for Islamic terrorists, or techno versions of "Stairway to Heaven".

Think about it. The Greatest Show on Turf couldn't beat the Patriots. Rex Ryan, after a brief period of success, can't beat the Patriots. The Ravens actually beat the Patriots twice in the playoffs--and seemed to have their number--until this past season, when the Ravens blew not one, but two 14-point leads en route to a 35-31 loss at New England in the Divisional Playoff. Baltimore has never beaten the Patriots without Ray Lewis on the field, and now that he's long gone, it's easy to doubt their future chances, especially given their aforementioned collapse. 

Even the almighty Peyton Manning, Eli's brother, who some claim is the best QB ever to play the position, has an abominable 7-12 record vs. the Brady-Belichick machine. So what's a Patriot hater to do?

Eli is the only guy who's succeeded consistently in huge games against the Patriots without a dropoff. True, we're only looking at a two-game sample size. And true, the Giants have lost more games every year since their last title, and have gone 22-26 overall since then. But, quite simply, Eli is the last, best hope that someone can actually beat the Patriots.

If Eli has the cojones to ask for a higher salary than any other QB in the NFL, then his performance ought to be better than the league's best at that position, or at least comparable, no? With this in mind, I put all emotions aside and pulled together some stats to find out where he stands.


Exactly 20 NFL quarterbacks have started 50 or more games over the last five seasons. If we're trying to find the best QB in the game today, we'll likely find him on this list. Yes, Eli is there--but where does he rank among his peers?

Let's take a look at where Eli stands among The Big 20 in the major QB categories:


Not too impressive, is he? Manning only cracks the top ten in six out of the 14 categories listed. And he's dead last in both interceptions and interception percentage--and 19th out of 20 in games lost.

But who knows? Maybe all the elite quarterbacks have similar numbers! Let's compare Manning to Tom Brady, last year's Super Bowl MVP:


Wow.

Brady is in the top 10 in all but one of the 20 categories, and even then he's only 12th! (And let's face it: No one pretends Brady is a running QB anyway.)

Also remarkable is the huge difference in average rank between the two QBs. Brady is clearly one of the league's best--not bad for a man who was being fitted for a casket last year at this time.

Is Brady the only one who beats Manning that clearly? What about some of the other superstars? Let's take a look:

(click for enlarged view)

Rogers, Brees, and Eli's brother Peyton all clearly outpace Eli by a wide margin. For example, there's exactly one last-place finish in any category by the other four QBs combined, and Eli has two by himself.

I know what you're saying: "So Eli's not as good as Brady, Peyton, Brees, and Rodgers. Those are probably the four best QBs in the league. Eli is still better than everyone else besides those four."

I'm glad you brought that up. Let's see just exactly who Eli beats!

Here are the only QBs in the Big 20 whose average rank is lower than Eli's:

  • Andy Dalton (12.2)
  • Matt Schaub* (14.3)
  • Cam Newton (13.7)
  • Carson Palmer (15.1)
  • Mark Sanchez (15.4)
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick (16.7)
  • Josh Freeman** (16.9)
* Currently playing as a backup to Joe Flacco
** Currently out of football

Fun fact: Of the seven QBs shown above, all of them are younger and have less experience than Eli, and two of them have lost their starting jobs! Ryan Fitzpatrick would have been the third, but he'll be starting in Week 1, thanks to Geno Smith's broken jaw. That leaves four quarterbacks out of 20 who averaged lower than Eli Manning and still have a starting job in the NFL.

"But Eli really turned things around last year," you say. "He had one of the best seasons of his career!"

First off, what does it say about a player who has to "turn things around" at age 34? Is he still trying to figure this whole NFL football thing out?

But more importantly, we've apparently all forgotten that the Giants installed a new offense with Ben McAdoo in 2014. McAdoo had never served as an offensive coordinator, at any level, prior to last season, so the Giants' opponents were unfamiliar with his style. As you might expect, Eli's numbers looked good early in the season; but as time wore on, and their opponents got used to the new offense, Eli looked more like, well, Eli:

Eli Manning - 2014 Statistics


Yes, his completion percentage was 1% higher in the 2nd half of the season as compared to the first half, and he did throw for more yards in the last eight games than in the first eight. But, in every other major category, Manning's performance declined--and he had identical 3-5 records in each half of the season.

Oh and BTW, under McAdoo and Manning, the Giants treated us to a seven-game losing streak in weeks 6-12. Let me say that again:

A seven-game losing streak.

Forget everything else I've said for a moment. Just explain to me how an 11-year veteran can lead his team to that many losses in a row, and then become the highest-paid QB in league history.

I'm waiting.

"But what about those two Super Bowls?" you ask.

Ah yes, of course, those two Super Bowls, in which the Giants defense held their playoff opponents to an average of 15 points per game (over the 2007 and 2011 playoffs). In fact, the 2011 Giants held their opponents to 14 points per game, which was the lowest number since 2002.

Look, give Eli all the credit in the world for leading his team on TD drives, under huge pressure, with less than 2:00 left in each one of those games. He earned it both times. But the defense, and specifically, the defensive line, was able to keep those games close for Eli. Now that the defensive linemen are playing like mere mortals, the Giants haven't sniffed the playoffs, nor even a .500 record, since then. Do you think Eli is going to swallow a can of "spinachk" and win another championship next season? Or the one after that, when Tom Coughlin will likely be retired, and the Giants will be starting over under a new regime?

The Giants have problems, and with the huge salary Eli wants, they'll have less money to solve them. Players like Brady, who want to win championships, take one for the team and accept far less than their market value. But Eli is a man with a surprisingly big ego, a man who, as a college senior, had the brontosaurus-sized scrote to tell an NFL franchise that he didn't want to play for them. Are you shitting me?! 

We could ask Eli why he did such a thing, but... he can't remember why he didn't want to play for San Diego. Yes, of course. Any other player would have been hounded about such a thing until his dying day. But Eli is a Manning.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Why would Roger Goodell go after Tom Brady?

From the first pages of the Wells Report, it's clear that Tom Brady was in the NFL's crosshairs. It took a logical stretch, but Mr. Wells was sure to hang that "more probably than not... generally aware" label on old number twelve, opening the door for Troy Vincent and Roger Goodell to slap him across the teeth with a good, hard punishment.

The suspension itself proves that Brady must be guilty, some people say. Why would Roger Goodell go after Tom Brady, maybe the most recognizable face in the NFL, a man who has done nothing but promote good sportsmanship and class for the past decade and a half? Why would he punish him so severely, unless he had no choice?


The answer is deceptively simple, and you're on the right track with the "no choice" bit.


The outcome of this case was determined at 1:15am on the morning of January 19, 2015, just a few hours after the AFC championship game ended, and it was no more in doubt than the 45-7 final score. The Patriots were being investigated for tampering with their footballs, Bob Kravitz wrote, and just like that, an entire nation made up its mind. The Patriots were cheating. Again.


It's pretty funny how we Pats fans talk about "evidence" and "due process", as if this were America or something. Most of us fail to realize the condition the rest of the football world is in when it comes to our Patriots. 


Here in New England, the Patriots deserve to be innocent until proven guilty. They deserve to have a neutral party carefully study the facts and draw reasoned conclusions. 

Here in New England.

In anyplace but New England, it's no longer the United States. It's not even the Wild West. In the Wild West, at least you could carry a gun, and if you went down in a hail of bullets,  you could take a few of the bad guys with you. We're way past that.

Non-New England football fans live in an alternate universe. Patriot haters have undergone more systematic abuse than Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. Brady has a winning record against every single team in the NFL. He collects AFC East titles the way the rest of us collect 5-cent deposit cans. He seems to be in the Super Bowl every couple of years, and has already tied Joe Montana for the most championships by a QB, ever. And, most horrifyingly of all, he seems not to have gotten the memo that he's supposed to be in wind-down mode. 

In short, Tom Brady simply refuses to stop winning.

There's no weakness, no chink in the armor, nothing for a spiteful adversary to sink his teeth into. He's got the chiseled features of a Hollywood actor, and his wife, the woman he falls asleep next to every night, has appeared about 10,000 times in the Victoria's Secret catalogs that every high school boy hides under his mattress.

So no, when it comes to Tom Brady, there will be no due process. There will be no reasoned conclusions. There will be no logic. Now that they finally smell blood, there will only be Hell to pay.

The facts are irrelevant. The evidence was gathered in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2014. The irrefutable proof lies in Brady's four "rings", which look more like WWE championship belts. Unless you're a Patriots fan, January 19th felt like Christmas morning to you--and when you rip that package open, you're not going to settle for an argyle sweater from grandma.

This presents a problem for our pal Roger, who's got all the swagger of a substitute teacher. He couldn't persuade you to jump in a pool if your socks were on fire. He's not an innovative thinker or an engaging speaker. About all he can do is find out which way the wind is blowing and point his sails accordingly.

After the January 19 story, Goodell had to find the Patriots guilty. If he looked into it for three days or a week, then said,"Everything's fine--nothing to see here!" there would've been a tsunami of criticism:

"Goodell went easy on Ray Rice--now he's doing it again with the Patriots. He's gone soft on us!"
"Roger's burying another scandal for his BFF, Bob Kraft!"
...and so on.

He had to put the wood to the Patriots to satisfy the masses, and once he committed to that, he had to do the same to Tom Brady. How would it sound if he said, "Well, the Patriots were tampering, but Brady, the guy who handled the footballs on every play, knew nothing about it"? Again, the angry mob would never go for it.

Goodell's smear campaign against Brady was really just typical NFL media relations at work: Nothing is more important than getting the first headline. Striking first in the media allows you to set the narrative, to control the storyline. Maybe he didn't intend to harm Brady, but that was most definitely the result.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Roger and Me

Roger Goodell, Commissioner
National Football League
345 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10154

**VIA CERTIFIED MAIL**

Dear Commissioner:

As a lifelong NFL fan and customer, I have taken a great interest in the Wells Report and the penalties issued pursuant to it by your office.

After a thorough review of the report, and the transcript of Tom Brady's appeal hearing, serious questions remain with respect to which gauge was used by Referee Anderson for the pre-game inspection. I understand that you have accepted Attorney Wells' theory that Anderson used the Non-Logo Gauge, but no matter how ironclad it seems to be, it is still just a theory, not a fact, and can and should be subjected to a higher level of scrutiny than it has been--especially in light of three facts:


  1. Referee Anderson reconstructed the pre-game inspection in great detail from memory, including the minor variations in the PSIs of each teams' footballs. He also recalled that he used the Logo Gauge for the pre-game inspection. True, he did say he could have been mistaken, but it's unclear whether he offered this caveat on his own because he was truly uncertain, or rather simply admitted under questioning that he was not 100% positive.
  2. The football intercepted by D'Qwell Jackson was measured in the officials' locker room by NFL Director of Game Day Operations James Daniel, using the Patriots' game-day gauge, just as halftime was starting. The resulting three readings amount to a halftime measurement of a Patriots football using the Patriots' gauge, which provides a valuable comparison point to the other 11 Patriot footballs. The average of the three measurements of the Jackson football was 11.52 PSI, nearly identical to the 11.49 average of the other 11 balls on the Logo Gauge--and far above the 11.11 average on the Non-Logo Gauge. This strongly suggests that the Patriots' gauge matches the Logo Gauge, and therefore that the Logo Gauge was used pre-game.
  3. Mr. Wells testified at the appeal hearing that he could not find either team's game-day gauge. Wells' firm was hired five days after the game, and frankly, it strains credulity to suggest that both teams' gauges disappeared without a trace so soon after the conclusion of the game. 


Sadly, the Wells Report hasn't exactly enjoyed universal acceptance since it was released. A long line of researchers, amateur and professional, have loudly questioned all of its major conclusions. Given the harsh punishments issued by your office, and in the interest of transparency and full disclosure, you can, and should, endeavor to increase the comfort level of NFL fans everywhere by releasing all materials related to this investigation.

Failing a full release of all materials, I hereby respectfully request the following:


  1. Transcripts, notes, and any other documentation pertaining to all testimony of:
             Walt Anderson
             James Daniel
             Sean Sullivan
             John Jastremski
  2. A list of individuals who were questioned about the whereabouts of the teams' gauges, and any transcripts, notes, and other documentation related to their testimony, if not included in item 1 above.

Certainly, it would be expected and appropriate for your office to redact any portions of the above materials that are obviously sensitive, but I hasten to add that the NFL is not a government agency dealing in state secrets, or any other clearly confidential information. Your primary goal, and the goal of everyone you employ, should be to serve the fans--those who spend hard-earned money on tickets and merchandise, and who faithfully watch your games--without whom there would not be a National Football League. To those fans, sir, you owe a debt, not just of gratitude, but of transparency. In short, you must tell us everything you know, not just because it might change our minds, but because it is right--and because it would prove to the world that you had nothing to hide.

While it is true that the facts of the case have been judged, and are no longer available for review on their merits, a level of doubt remains. It is therefore beneficial to make as much of the truth as possible available for review by any interested parties.

I thank you in advance for your time and cooperation on this most critical matter.

Kind regards,
Dave Garofalo