Raging and Ranting

It’s difficult to post when you’re in the midst of a rage that grows with each passing moment.

At some point reason and common sense will take over, right?

ESPN’s Legal Analyst Lester Munson actually wrote this sentence this week.

lester-munson

Three men who beat up a partner or child, and a guy who according to the NFL’s own report, and even that is in much doubt, more probably than not was at least generally aware of some scheme to deflate footballs by .02 PSI.

(A more credible study shows that no deflation was done at all, and it can all be proven by science.)

The NFL has made Tom Brady into a criminal.

Most of the public and the national media believes it.

Now, disgraced plagiarist Ron Borges is floating the theory that Bill Belichick never believed Tom Brady, and the media is lapping it up and treating it as fact.

Robert Kraft has abandoned the fans and his QB, and is quoted as saying he’ll encourage Brady to accept whatever Roger Goodell decides at his appeal.

You’ve got the official NFL Twitter account (Run by — you guessed it, a Jets fan) trolling Brady and the Patriots with a Tweet about great QB’s possessing:

Precision.
Strength.
Intelligence.

PSI – Get it! Haha!

The Tweet has since been removed.

You’ve got NFL.com writers putting an asterisk next to Brady’s name when listing out the Top QB’s in the game.

You’ve got Roger Goodell, dodging questions about NFL leaks and conduct, and telling bold faced lies to the media in his press conference, and most them just accepting it and not questioning it.

You’ve got local sports radio shows blaming the fans and insulting them as “toothless.”

You’ve got local sports columnists, including the “voice of New England sports” taking multiple victory laps while also mocking fans.

Yes, there are some media around here fighting the good fight. But they’re being drowned out in the noise. Noise which is just increasing in volume and vociferousness.

Robert Kraft’s stated reason for dropping the fight was to “end the rhetoric.” That’s not happening.

Instead of our own columnists we have to turn to the Washington Post (again) for the best take on this:

In trying to restore his authority through DeflateGate, Roger Goodell undermined his credibility – Sally Jenkins again takes Roger Goodell to the woodshed.

An Open Letter To Mr. Robert Kraft

Mr. Kraft –

I have great feelings of warmth, gratitude and respect for you as owner of the New England Patriots, and for all that you’ve done for professional football in our region. Purchasing the team, hiring Bill Belichick, building a new stadium, overseeing four Super Bowl Championship teams has been an exhilarating experience for someone whose first Patriots experience came with Ron Erhardt at the helm.

So what exactly have you accomplished? Tom Brady is, at the moment, still suspended for four games. The team has lost a 5-10 year starter in the 2016 first round draft pick, and another asset in the 4th round pick, you’re out a million dollars, your fans are furious and everyone else still thinks your team and QB are cheaters. 

My feelings today however, are those of disappointment, disillusionment and anger. Patriots fans for the most part are a loyal bunch and have steadfastly defended the team through many incidents, most of which were precipitated by jealous and frustrated opponents. True Patriots fans hung loyal through Spygate, recognizing that the team was being punished for a violation that many are still not fully educated on. The act of videotaping signals from the wrong location. That 2007 season was the ultimate in emotional swings as the team answered challenge after challenge, even as they were being relentlessly hounded by an ignorant press, aided by a bumbling commissioner who overreacted and handled the affair as poorly as could ever be expected. The crescendo came when a local paper published a story claiming that the Patriots taped a walkthrough of the St. Louis Rams prior to New England’s first Super Bowl win.

The story proved false, but the damage done. To this day, when people think of the Patriots, one of the first things they reference is “taping practices.” Patriots fans have endured that for nearly eight years now. The “Cheater” label has never gone away, and as fans, we are left on the front lines having to battle ignorance, ridicule and trolling from opposing fans. Never once have the fans wavered in their support.

Then this deflated footballs incident happened.

Before the facts were even known, the media and opposing fans were even more zealous in their attacks on the integrity of the New England Patriots franchise. The NFL had leaks coming from within their offices taken as absolute truth, but were just recently exposed as total falsehoods. The national press swarmed to Foxboro to interrogate Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, who were left to try and explain something which they had no knowledge of. Bill Belichick took time away from his Super Bowl preparation to investigate on his own. The talk and hatred from the outside was fierce, and again Patriots fans endured the taunts of cheating and calls for suspensions and even to vacate their place in the Super Bowl. The story led the national news.

To your credit, upon landing in Arizona, you took the offensive. Fans were heartened. It seemed that finally, this wave of negativity and innuendo was enough to make you move against a commissioner who most of America can see is way in over his head in this job. Mr Goodell ordered an “independent investigation” into the matter, and 100 days later the conclusions  of Mr Wells and his team are so sloppy, biased and incorrect, that you are again forced to speak out. Then the punishment from a once again overreaching NFL comes down, and you’re forced to speak out again. Your legal team offers up it’s own rebuttal to the Wells Report, and fans are again heartened.

Fans have been putting up with nonsense for years now. Both locally and nationally. We’re feeling that finally, something is going to be done about this. Sabres are rattled, court documents prepared. The fight is about to be joined.

But today, you capitulate to Roger Goodell, citing your love for being part of the NFL. For the “dream” of being one of 32 clubs in the National Football League. For putting the interest of the 32 over the interest of the one. You chose the Shield.

Mr. Kraft, I’m not sure you fully understand what a slap in the face that was to the fans. More than that. It was a gut-punch. You chose the “club” of ownership over the fans. The fans have defended the Patriots at every turn. They have taken on all comers, and with a dedication and determination that is astounding. This was going to be the case in which it was revealed that the emperor had no clothes. Roger Goodell and his corrupt cronies at the NFL were finally going to be exposed and some of the Patriots good name restored. Not all of it, of course, because to many people this franchise will always be “cheaters.” Fans live with that on a daily basis.

Instead, you gave in. The rhetoric is not going away, and in fact, all this has done has confirmed in the minds of many that the Patriots did in fact do something wrong.

The fight would’ve been difficult, it would’ve been long, it would’ve been expensive. It would have been ugly.

It also would’ve been worth it. Even in defeat, you would’ve shown that you were here for the fans who have given their unwavering support.

Instead, you’ve got your own fans angered at you, swearing in the heat of the moment never to watch another game. Nationally, people still believe the Patriots are cheaters.

So what exactly have you accomplished? Tom Brady is, at the moment, still suspended for four games. The team has lost a 5-10 year starter in the 2016 first round draft pick, and another asset in the 4th round pick, you’re out a million dollars, your fans are furious and everyone else still thinks your team and QB are cheaters.

But you’re still in the club.

I guess that’s what you wanted?

You asked fans today to trust your judgment on this matter.

It’s difficult, but I’m trying.

Sincerely,

Bruce Allen

Chris Russo Meltdown Microcosm Of National Reaction To Patriots

If you had the misfortune of listening to Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s appearance on WEEI this morning, you may well feel, as I do, that you lost 20 IQ points from the exchange.

Kirk Minihane and Gerry Callahan did a good job challenging Russo, who would not hear or acknowledge any of it. He screamed for the entire segment. I know that’s his schtick, “Mad Dog” and all, but WEEI probably should’ve just hung up on him when Russo admitted that he had not read the Wells Report.

He also said he will not read the Patriots response at WellsReportContext.com.

He said he doesn’t have time for that, it’s not his job! (His exact words)

What’s interesting is that you can take this segment and pretty much get the entire national view of deflategate (God, I hate that term) from Russo. How he feels is how much of the nation outside of New England (and plenty inside New England too – just read the letters to the Globe).

These are Russo’s main points, and he will not take any rebuttals to them:

MCNALLY TOOK THE BALLS WHEN HE WASN’T SUPPOSED TO AND BROUGHT THEM INTO THE BATHROOM!!!!! OF COURSE HE WENT IN TO DEFLATE THEM!!!! HE CALLED HIMSELF THE DEFLATOR!!!

McNally taking the balls to the field was what he did, and no one in the crowded room thought it unusual enough to ask him what he was doing.

As for the bathroom, he was in there for 95 seconds. What’s more plausible – that he actually used the facilities, or that he went in and took air out of all the footballs in that time? Remember, a team of officials did not have enough time to gauge all the footballs at halftime, but he could do this?

The “deflator” nickname was from a May text. Russo made it sound like McNally took the balls into the room, did his thing, and then sent out a text calling himself the deflator.

Russo, like all of America, has latched onto the “deflator” text, without knowing any context. They know the Patriots rebuttal said it referred to weight loss, which was dismissed by most people as ridiculous.

It may be ridiculous, but if it were made up, you’d think the brains down there would’ve come up with something slightly more plausible.

Former Patriot Matt Chatham has said that it was very common for staff at the stadium to have had weight loss competitions in the offseason. “Deflation” is a fairly common term used by weightlifters (and steroid users) – who knows? On the surface, it is a damning term when used in this case. Being unwilling to look at context (there was a second text using deflate and referencing a JKT.) is lazy and intellectually dishonest.

But that’s what most HotSportzTakers are, right?

TOM BRADY HAS NOT SPOKEN ON THIS TOPIC!!! HE DIDN’T HAND OVER HIS PHONE!!! IT MEANS HE’S GUILTY!!!!

Pretty much his entire case is built on this. Brady hasn’t come out, guns firing and denied this, so he’s guilty. Guilty. Guilty. GUILTY.

Did these guys not notice that Brady hired the biggest anti-NFL gun out there in Jeffrey Kessler? When Brady does his talking, it will be final. He’s taking the legal steps to defend himself and at the same time punish those who made those allegations. Mr Brady will be heard from.

As for the phone, why can’t people see it was an NFLPA thing? Stephen Gostkowski also refused to hand over his phone. Where’s his suspension for non-cooperation?

The sad thing, Russo is speaking for much of the country with his takes here. Those two points, he just screamed over and over and over again. No pause for reason. That’s what most other fan bases are doing as well.

He didn’t even read the reports.

*****

A couple links to read:

Should Tom Brady Sue The NFL And Roger Goodell? A Deflategate Email Exchange

Did Deflated Footballs Really Give the Patriots a Fumble Advantage?

The Very Best Of The DeflateGate-Debunking Links

To anyone with half a brain and an ability to think critically, the NFL’s entire handling of the so-called deflategate scandal has been a complete farce and bag-job.

Fortunately that has become clear to more and more people around the country, many of whom are in no way Patriots fans or supporters.

Here are some of the best articles from the last few days which expose Ted Wells, Roger Goodell and the NFL for their role in this disgraceful episode:

UPDATE – we can now add this to the list:

The Wells Report in Context – The Patriots official rebuttal. It’s long. 

———

This is how the NFL let deflate-gate get out of control and ridiculous – Dan Wetzel brings the hammer on Roger Goodell. And Chris Mortensen. This is what Wetzel says about Mortensen false report that 11 of the 12 balls were “more than 2 pounds per square inch below the league minimum of 12.5.”

At that very moment, the NFL had to know the story wasn’t true. Yet it did nothing.

So the league either created a fake story that was extremely prejudicial to the Patriots by leaking inaccurate information or someone else did it and the league office let it run wild rather than correct it with the actual air pressure measurements. It’s tough to figure out which scenario is worse for Goodell.

Once it appeared the Patriots were up to something big then the public and media rightfully demanded a serious investigation into what wasn’t that serious of a story. Goodell didn’t steer this to the truth and away from the heated condemnation of a signature player and the validity of a Super Bowl participant (and soon champion).

He instead commissioned Wells’ report, lending credence to a false narrative. Abdicating his authority to Wells led to the build-up for the report, which allowed a pack of Manhattan lawyers to serve as the cops, judge and jury.

There is probably no report without that demonstrably false ESPN story. What would be the point?

He goes into why the NFL let this happen.

DeflateGate punishments are NFL’s weak attempts to right its own wrongs – Sally Jenkins has been critical of the Patriots plenty of times in the past. About this, she says:

DeflateGate would be more of a ‘Gate’ if the league had proven that the balls were in fact deflated. But it hasn’t. That’s what is so peculiar about this entire deal. The Ted Wells report commissioned by the league is perfectly clear on this point: No one is sure which of two gauges were used to check the pressurization of the balls. The gauges gave significantly different readings; one read much higher than the other and showed the balls were legally inflated. The referee in charge of checking the footballs, Walt Anderson, is pretty sure he used this gauge. Yet the NFL disregarded this critical point — and the testimony of their own official. Nevertheless the NFL decided the “preponderance of the evidence” showed Brady and the Patriots manipulated the game balls. That’s how eager they are to find wrongdoing.

She goes on to say that the punishment is an attempt to make up for the inept handling of the Ray Rice case.

The only thing worse than our system of public justice is … – David Post examines Ted Wells’ emphasis on “preponderance of the evidence” which is then completely ignored in the conclusions reached in the report. Post concludes:

[And Memo to NFL:  you might want to think about not having your “investigators” decide your cases for you, eh? It smacks a little of Soviet-style justice.  Especially when your investigators’ ability to get more multi-million dollar engagements in the future depends on pleasing the client (i.e., you).  Not exactly a good design for reaching the right result, I would say.]

Soviet-style justice = Integrity, I guess.

The Physics of Deflategate – Chicago-based Data Scientist Drew Fustin completely destroys the science used by Exponent, whom he reminds you, produced a report that claimed that secondhand smoke does not cause cancer. In the Wells report, Walt Anderson claimed that to the best of his knowledge, he used the “logo” gauge in pregame measurements. The Wells Report dismisses that, and uses the data as if it were coming from the “non-logo” guage.

So, a scenario where the Logo Gauge was used by Walt Anderson pre-game, the Patriots halftime measurements were recorded at the beginning of halftime, and the Colts were measured at the end of halftime yields an average initial pressure of 12.56 psig for the Patriots balls and 13.01 psig for the Colts ball. Both are what Anderson measured pregame without tampering having to be invoked.

He has all the formulas and charts and results you could need.

The NFL Thinks You’re Stupid – Matt Chatham attacks the independent claim of the Wells Investigation.

This isn’t an investigation team searching for truth.  These are trial lawyers hired to build a case just like they did against the players in the concussion case.  In my view, not being forthright about exactly who the parties involved are to the fans and other players that will read both this statement and the Wells document itself is shameful – especially for a former player like Troy Vincent.  This is the kind of shame a lifetime doesn’t wash off.

10 REASONS WHY AN APPEAL OVERTURNS TOM BRADY’S SUSPENSION – A look by Daniel J Flynn at the fatal flaws of the Wells Reports, which are sure to be exposed in a hearing with a truly independent judge.

After further review, a theory on how #DeflateGate initially unfolded – Mike Florio, of all people(!) with a surprisingly reasonable explanation of how things went down.

Goodell, NFL Get Exactly What They Want

Usually about this time of year, about all NFL fans have to look forward to is passing camp coverage. Then, in a month or so, there would be a mandatory minicamp worth a couple days of coverage.

Today, the NFL Network will present (at least) 12 hours of coverage of deflategate and the Tom Brady suspension.

People are talking about the NFL. In May.

In fact, it’s the number one story in the country right now. The majority of people in the country think that the NFL got it right, finally nailing that cheater Tom Brady and his team, the New England Patriots. Roger Goodell is being lauded in the New York tabloids and elsewhere.

Worthless columnists like Bob Kravitz are feeling their oats and getting their licks in. The whole country is enjoying a measure of comeuppance.

Do the Patriots push the boundaries? Of course they do. Is what they do worthy of the reaction it causes? Not if you look at the precedents in the league. Things don’t become a big deal until the Patriots do them.

Now, the NFL has its entire offseason mapped out, and will remain in the headlines. Brady’s appeal. Then inevitable action after the appeal. Possible legal action from Robert Kraft, strategically placed leaks from the NFL offices, the anticipation of what is going to happen opening night – will Goodell be there? Will the Patriots raise their banner without Brady? Will Patriots fans even show up?

Make no mistake, deflategate is a boon for the NFL. They’re loving it.

The Patriots are the only NFL team they could get away with doing this to. Why? Because they might be the only entity in the league hated more than Goodell.

The same people who mocked the Mueller Report when it came out (and by the way, Goodell never gave up a personal cell phone in that investigation either) are viewing the Wells Report as Gospel.

The NFL can’t keep its stories or policies straight, but the majority of people don’t care, because the Patriots got nailed.

The NFL and sports media are perfect for each other. Both are full of corrupt, hypocritical carnival barkers who only care about their own agendas, which usually consist of attention being brought on themselves.

Barflys like Dan Shaughnessy accuse the Patriots and their fans of being paranoid and thinking that everyone is out to get them. It’s not paranoia if it is true.

The Patriots have pissed people off because they win too much and their coach isn’t friendly to the media. The two parties are complicit.

That is what this entire thing boils down to.

Other league executives are tired of being taken to the woodshed by the Patriots, so they leak information to the media, most of whom are only too glad to have something to “get back” at that meanie, Belichick with. This causes this firestorm as media figure after media figure try to top each other in condemning the Patriots.

Do the Patriots push the boundaries? Of course they do. Is what they do worthy of the reaction it causes? Not if you look at the precedents in the league. Things don’t become a big deal until the Patriots do them.

Did the league care about PSI before January? Apparently not. teams get caught messing with balls in the middle of the game and they get a warning. Aaron Rodgers tells CBS that he likes to get the balls overinflated and sneak them past the officials. The Wells Report indicates that Walt Anderson was one of the few officials who regularly check the footballs, and yet the league made sure to remind him again to do so. And he still didn’t write down the measurements or keep track of the footballs.

In December, Ndamukong Suh had his one-game suspension for stepping on Rodgers overturned because all of a sudden, As noted by Judy Battista of NFL Media, the league now provides a player with a clean slate if he goes 32 games without a violation.

That 32 game standard apparently doesn’t apply to teams, as Troy Vincent specifically mentioned Spygate as a reason for severity of the Patriots punishment yesterday.

Spygate was eight years ago.

Vincent also cited the Patriots lack of cooperation in the investigation as reason for the harsh penalty.

A look at page 23 of the Wells Report will find this line: “the Patriots provided substantial cooperation throughout the investigation.”

Who are the driving forces behind all of this? The Colts, who have been getting their asses handed to them by the Patriots. Indianapolis columnists Kravitz and Gregg Doyel. The Ravens who were embarrassed by a then-legal formation and called out on it by Brady, Mike Kensil, a former Jets executive with a well-established grudge against the Patriots. The investigation was led by NFL EVP Jeffrey Pash, who took shots at the Patriots when the Broncos had their version of Spygate, and by Ted Wells, who has now shown that he’ll bring the goods home for the NFL in his independent investigations. Helping him on the investigation were lawyers from the same firm who represented the NFL in its concussion lawsuit.

On NFL Network and its wall-to-wall coverage you’ve got Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner crowing over the penalties, both have well known grudges with the Patriots. You’ve got Charley Casserly claiming the Patriots got off easy. Casserly and Belichick have a well-known hate feud as well. (Go ask Charley Casserly, he’s got all the answers.) Hipster Mike Silver, he of of the “growing disconnect” between Brady and the Patriots loves to get his voice heard.

Media everywhere, who don’t like how Belichick operates are only too glad to pile on.

Make no mistake, the NFL loves this attention. NFL Network is buzzing with deflategate talk. Sports talk radio across the country is talking about the league. Columnists everywhere are writing about it.

The NFL has exactly what they want. People talking about the league during what is normally the deadest time of the year.

And they’re not talking about domestic violence or child abuse. They’re talking about PSI.

More Probable Than Not That NFL “Independent Investigation” Was Anything But

The Wells Report is mindblowing. And not because of the contents. Because of the arrogance, the ineptitude and the lack of neutrality.

Roger Goodell commissioned this as an “Independent Investigation” despite the fact that it was being led by an NFL Executive Vice President in Jeff Pash and by Ted Wells of the law firm of Paul Weiss, which had several lawyers who had represented the NFL in previous lawsuits:

Remember when Rachel Nichols had the temerity to point out these possible conflicts during the Super Bowl week press conference? What was Goodell’s response?

Well, Rachel, I don’t agree with you in a lot of the assumptions you make in your question. I think we have had people that have had uncompromising integrity. Robert Mueller is an example. I think you asked me the same question last fall about a conflict of interest. Their integrity is impeccable. Ted Wells’ integrity is impeccable. These are professionals that bring in outside expertise, outside perspective and their conclusions are drawn only by the evidence and only by the attempt to try to identify that truth. So, I think we have done an excellent job of bringing outside consultants in. Somebody has to pay them, Rachel. So unless you’re volunteering, which I don’t think you are, we will do that. But we have the responsibility to protect the integrity of the league whether we have an owner that’s being investigated or whether we have a commissioner that’s being investigated. They’re done at the highest level of integrity and quality.

The arrogance just oozes off the screen there. “we have done an excellent job.” “done at the highest level of integrity and quality.” Pat yourself on the back a little harder, Roger.

How in the world could you suggest that men who have defended the NFL in court in the past could possibly have any sort of bias in favor of the league?  Ted Wells integrity may well be impeccable. I don’t know the man. I do know that he led the investigation into the bullying in the Miami Dolphins lockerroom, and came back with a report that the NFL apparently liked. So they went back to him again.

Can it really be an “Independent” investigation if you’re using people the same people who have gotten results in your favor in the past? Wouldn’t it be clear to Wells that if he keeps bringing back results the NFL likes, they’ll keep using him?

Then, during the course of the investigation into the Patriots, Wells hires a firm named Exponent Inc. to do forensic testing. Here are some of their greatest hits:

In the late 1980s, it was hired by Suzuki to conduct tests that showed that the Samurai sport utility vehicle wouldn’t tip over during turns at 38 mph, disputing research published by Consumer Reports magazine. In Exponent’s research, the Samurai successfully completed turns at 43 mph. It called the Consumer Reports test “stunt like.”

About 10 years ago, Ford, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler hired Exponent to help with their defense in a slew of lawsuits filed by mechanics who alleged that asbestos in brakes caused them health problems. Exponent’s findings upheld the automakers’ argument that the brakes were not a hazard.

The firm was hired by Exxon to show that a double hull probably would not have prevented the Valdez disaster of 1989. It was also hired by NASA to help determine causes of the Challenger shuttle explosion, and by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to survey the damages to the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building after the Oklahoma City bombing.

Swiss Re, an insurer of the World Trade Center, hired Exponent after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks to argue its case that it should have to pay only half the $7 billion in claims sought on the grounds that the collapse of one tower would have compromised the entire complex even if the second tower had not fallen.

Last May, (2009) the Amazon Defense Coalition alleged that an Exponent study finding that dumping oil waste in the Ecuadorean rain forest did not increase cancer rates was tainted because the firm’s largest shareholder was a member of the board of Chevron Corp., which commissioned the study.

Then they were hired by Toyota over sudden acceleration in their vehicles. That brought this comment:

“If I were Toyota, I wouldn’t have picked somebody like Exponent to do analysis,” said Stanton Glantz, a cardiologist at UC San Francisco who runs a database on the tobacco industry that contains thousands of pages of Exponent research arguing, among other things, that secondhand smoke does not cause cancer. “I would have picked a firm with more of a reputation of neutrality.

(Emphasis mine.) You’d think the NFL and an “Independent Investigation” would know better than to open themselves up to this sort of criticism, but no. They arrogantly plowed ahead with their investigation, using whatever means they deemed fit to “win” the case for the NFL.

Goodell vowed that the NFL would be more “transparent” in its workings. Was this report transparent at all? We’ve already heard from Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Brady’s agent Don Yee about their complaints about things that were conveniently left out of the report. Patriots refused to make McNally available for a follow-up interview. Oh, you had already interview him FOUR TIMES? When does it stop? You interview him nine times and the tenth time they say no, you’re just going to mark down the “refusal?” You mention Brady’s lack of cooperation. Not mentioning that you spent a whole day questioning him and were given access to phone data.

Not addressed at all were questions about the actions of the Colts, (They stuck a needle in the ball which came off  to the sideline after Brady’s interception!)  how the story was leaked to Bob Kravitz and then to others such as Chris Mortensen, and the expressed concerns of the Patriots about bias from the likes of Mike Kensil were flippantly dismissed. Every one of them.

Why interview Dean Pees, and not say, Bill O’Brien? You’re going to interview a guy who used to coach the Patriots defense (and was let go) about something in the QB room? Why not talk to the former QB coach and Offensive Coordinator?

A friend of mine made the following point about the fact that the officials only measured four of the Colts balls at halftime (they claimed to be running out of time, but the Wells Report insisted that McNally could deflate 12 balls in 100 seconds) –  note the order they were measured. They “ran out of time” to finish the Colts. Meaning they measured the Patriots first.

The Colts footballs were given extra time to reach equilibrium with the indoor temperature they were originally measured at (higher PSI reading). But it was only 15 minutes! Sure, and Exponent claims the Patriots gloving procedure impact could dissipate in 15 minutes ..  oh just ignore that though, the report isn’t meant to be internally consistent.

The conclusions are not supported by the evidence, but instead are a lot of suppositions.

Think about this. What the Wells Report is claiming, and it all boils down to this is:

Basically, Wells wants us to assume this “scheme” involves devious skullduggery in order to remove – after atmospheric/temperature effects are accounted for – about .2 or .3 PSI from footballs.  That’s POINT TWO. This is what has is leading the nightly news casts? 

Really?

Four months, 243 pages and it’s “more probable than not” that Brady was “at least generally aware” of a devious, CHEATING plot to bring the footballs down a miniscule amount.

 

And the whole country now says Tom Brady is a lying cheater.

A league with an immense PR problem has a four-time champion who is the perfect spokesman for the sport, and they were determined to bury him. By any means necessary. Why? Because the Colts were attempting a little gamesmanship going into a game against an opponent that had dominated them recently? Because Brady’s name was first on the lawsuit against the NFL a few years ago? Because of the former Jets executives in the league offices?

I don’t know. I just know that something ain’t right.

Bill Simmons Leaving ESPN

News is breaking this morning that the former Boston Sports Guy, Bill Simmons is leaving ESPN and Grantland.

ESPN President John Skipper Statement on Bill Simmons:

“I decided today that we are not going to renew Bill Simmons’ contract. We have been in negotiations and it was clear it was time to move on. ESPN’s relationship with Bill has been mutually beneficial – he has produced great content for us for many years and ESPN has provided him many new opportunities to spread his wings. We wish Bill continued success as he plans his next chapter. ESPN remains committed to Grantland and we have a strong team in place.”

This is something that has been rumored about for some time now, but most people seemed to feel that Simmons wouldn’t leave the platform that he has at ESPN. The wording used by Skipper in that statement is rather strong, making it seem like it is ESPN deciding they’re going to part ways simply by not renewing his contract, when in reality both sides have been sparring publicly for a while.

Simmons’ creation, Grantland will apparently remain ESPN property, meaning Simmons could either join another media company, or even begin his own.

It will be absolutely fascinating to see what he does next.

Bill Simmons and ESPN Are Parting Ways – Richard Sandomir of the New York Times was the first to break the news.

******

Wells Report news didn’t change many minds – Chad Finn’s media column has a look at media reaction to the Wells Report, noting that the contents didn’t do much to change people’s minds one way or the other. If you felt one way before, you likely feel the same now.

Wells Report Points Finger at Tom Brady, Equipment Lackeys

After all this time, the Wells Report on the underinflated footballs in the AFC Championship game was finally released.

The league allowed Robert Kraft and the Patriots the courtesy of a preemptive statement on the report, the contents of which did not please Mr Kraft, or anyone who is a fan of the Patriots.

The basic conclusion of the report is that Jim McNally (the Officials Locker Room attendant for the Patriots) and John Jastremski (an equipment assistant for the Patriots) were responsible for the PSI levels of the footballs, and that it is “more probable than not” (51-49?) that Brady was aware of what they were doing. But they have no evidence of anything. Lots of text messages, which will provide endless fodder, but no evidence.

Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft, the rest of the coaches, and the Head Equipment manager were cleared of any wrongdoing.

Punishment for Brady (and others) could be forthcoming from the league offices.

I’m sure there will be more dissection and discussion about this report than we can possibly handle forthcoming in the next few days and weeks. Buckle in.

Who’s The FA? UDFA! (2015 Edition)

A gander at last year’s column here, with notable mentions of linebacker James Morris and a certain West Alabama cornerback who may or may not have made one of the biggest plays in Patriots history. (Go on. Go ahead: Watch it again. We’ll wait.)

Lots of info out floating around out there regarding UDFAs. We tend to stick with NEPatriotsdraft.com for all our NFL undrafted rookie signing needs. Below is a rundown of fresh free agents the Patriots called to Gillette. Plus: high school fun facts!

Georgia On My Line: After picking up two guards in the fourth round (Tre Jackson and Shaq Mason), New England continued to add to the interior offensive line with center David Andrews from Georgia.

Why undrafted: At 6-2, 295 pounds, Andrews resides on the smaller side of offensive lineman. This was also a solid drafting year for guards and centers, taking on-the-bubble players like Andrews out of the action.

Why invited: He has three years of experience as a starter. Makes up a bit for his relatively diminutive stature with speed (5.12-second 40) and strength (27 bench reps). Showed consistency, playing in 50 games in his Georgia career. From a positive Pats perspective, he was given the Frank Sinkwich Toughest Player Award (named after Georgia’s 1942 Heisman winner). Also voted the Bulldogs’ “overall permanent captain.” Somewhere Bill Belichick let out a happy sigh.

High School Fun Fact: At Wesleyan High in Johns Creek, Georgia, Andrews was named the 2010 Gwinnett County Offensive Lineman of the Year.

Come On, Quarterbacks Can’t Play Receiver: Former Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner (6-3, 218) tries to follow in the footsteps of another QB-to-WR convert currently working in the Foxboro area.

Why undrafted: Julian Edelman notwithstanding, the aforementioned conversion fails more often than not. As a QB in 2014, Gardner threw for 10 TDs and 15 INTs. At his pro day, he ran a 4.65-second 40, which put him on the slow end of receivers. His 9-foot, 9-inch broad jump was less than explosive.

Why invited: The Pats aren’t exactly overstocked with larger pass-catchers, and Gardner did haul in 16 passes as a junior. He showed guts with his 2013 performance  vs. rival Ohio State (passed for 451 yards and four TDs). Also put up some solid pro day numbers beyond the 40 (Beyond The 40, by the way, should be the title of the book on New England’s draft strategy). He had 15 bench reps and a 6.96-second 3-cone drill.

High School Fun Fact: Gardner was teammates with former Wolverine and current Patriot linebacker Cameron Gordon at Detroit’s Inkster High.

Wait – Is That Pronounced “Hopper”? Well, now it is, sort of. Cal-Berkeley pass-catcher Chris Harper (5-11, 182) gets a shot with the Patriots, looking to add depth as a slot receiver.

Why undrafted: During this draft, teams had their pick of solid wide receivers (Draft. Pick. Get it?), especially those in the slot role. Even as a smaller player, Harper’s weight (or lack of it) could concern some teams. While he has decent stats (see below), nothing there stands out. A down year for 5-7 Cal, with no players drafted.

Why invited: Harper caught 52 passes for the Golden Bears in 2014 (second-highest on the team) for 634 yards (12.2 avg) and six touchdowns. He also served as their main punt returner (7.7 avg). He has decent speed (a 4.52 40 at his pro day), and quickness (a reported 7.03 3-cone drill). Also – and most importantly – he made this rather Gronkesque catch vs. UCLA last October.

High School Fun Fact: As a senior, Harper led the Serra League in receiving at Crespi Carmelite High. He also played cornerback and was ranked as the 12th-best corner in Southern California.

Come Back to the Nickel and Dime, Jimmy Jean, Jimmy Jean: Free safety Jimmy Jean out of Alabama-Birmingham adds some height to the defensive backfield at 6-2, 202 pounds.

Why undrafted: The NFL seems to overlook Conference USA a bit. More importantly, Jean had an unimpressive showing at his pro day, with a meh 40 (4.58), blah 3-cone (7.34) and yeesh bench press (seven reps).

Why invited: Jean did some of everything for the Blazers, compiling 42 tackles, one interception, six pass breakups, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. He’s also got the height New England could be seeking this season.

High School/Junior College Fun Fact: After attending Blanche Ely High in Pompano Beach, Florida, Jean played two years at Arkansas Baptist Junior College, where he earned their Little Rock Touchdown Club 2012 College Player of the Year Award.

You Come At The King, You Best Not Miss: New England went after – and got – another bigger defensive back, strong safety Brandon King (6-2, 217) out of Auburn.

Why undrafted: Though he went into Auburn as a safety, ranked as one of the top junior college DBs in the country, it seems that King got moved around on defense for the Tigers. Didn’t compile many stats there. Ended up with just 12 tackles on the season last year.

Why invited: Took one for the team in 2014, as he was asked to take on a pass-rushing role (had two QB hits). Tested very well at his pro day, with a 4.49-second 40, a 10-foot-6 broad jump, and 19 bench press reps. Has similar size to draft pick Matthew Wells, which makes us think that Belichick is up to something with these safety/linebacker hybrid types.

High School Fun Fact: As a senior at Thompson High in Alabaster, Alabama, King racked up 116 tackles, including 21 tackles for loss.

While We’re Young: Looks like Shane Young out of Sam Houston State will try to get a chair at the increasingly crowded tight end table this summer.

Why undrafted: Not anything in particular. As in, not particularly fast (4.90 40), nor particularly quick (7.45 3-cone), nor particularly explosive (31.5-inch vertical). Young (6-3, 250) only played in three games last year, catching four passes. Sam Houston State runs in the Southland Conference, which is part of a lower division (FCS).

Why invited: Caught 11 passes for 151 yards and two TDs as a junior. Went to the FCS National Championship with the Bearkats that year. Can play H-back and fullback.

High School Fun Fact: A captain at Lago Vista (California) High, Young was named the offensive line MVP. He was also All-District in baseball.

He’s A Brick, House: Ah, the Commodores. Appropriate reference for Vince Taylor, a defensive lineman from Vanderbilt who manned the nose tackle spot.

Why undrafted: At 6-1, 306 pounds, Taylor seems a bit small for the position. Does not have much speed (5.40 40) or quickness (7.46 3-cone). Vandy went 3-9 last year, 0-8 in the Southeast Conference.

Why invited: We’ll refer again to the “Brick House.” At his pro day, Taylor bench-pressed 225 pounds 36 times, which would have led all defensive linemen at the NFL Combine and tied for second-best overall. Last fall, he had 43 total tackles, including 20 solo stops and three for loss (1.5 sacks).

High School Fun Fact: A First-Team All-State defensive tackle as a senior at Oak Grove High in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Taylor had 97 solo tackles (117 total) and returned a fumble 55 yards for a touchdown.

Another Non-Starter For Red Sox

With the obvious disclaimer that it’s just the first week of May, things aren’t looking so great for the Boston Red Sox at the moment.

The biggest problem continues to be starting pitching, which has been worse than likely even the most pessimistic observer had feared. Seemingly every night they’re getting lit up, and while the offense has generally been OK, last night saw their best hitter thus far, Hanley Ramirez exit the game with a shoulder injury.

Real bad, real quick: Hanley Ramirez injury punctuates Red Sox problems – Rob Bradford looks at how just about everything has gone wrong thus far.

Red Sox-Yankees series a tale of two bullpens – As Alex Speier tells us, the bullpen hasn’t been great, either.

Weak pitching, light hitting land Sox in cellar – Scott Lauber has the scuffling Sox trying to figure things out.

Sox season could hinge on length of Ramirez’s absence – Sean McAdam says that the rest of the season might be in jeopardy if Ramirez is out for a while.

For Hanley Ramirez, health has always been easy come, easy go – Gordon Edes is pessimistic on Ramirez returning anytime soon.

If you want some memories of better times with the Red Sox, may I recommend:

pedrobookcover

It’s out today. Enjoy.

Speaking of books being released, we should expect the Wells Report sometime this week, right? While @SharksofVegas has been adamant from the beginning that the investigation was not focused on the Patriots, the comments of Roger Goodell recently have me thinking that he’s going to whack the team no matter what. He also misses the point completely by saying he’s not going to apologize for the investigation, because the investigation itself was never the issue. The issue was the slanted leaks from the NFL offices which made the Patriots look guilty, even if Goodell continues to insist that no judgments were made.

I know nothing about Alcohol rehab, so I should probably stop here, but does it strike anyone else as strange that John Dennis has been Tweeting from rehab? And that he’s claiming to be in the “homestretch” after only two weeks?

Welcome To The 2015 Sports Radio Draft – The website SportsRadioPD had 32 sports radio program directors across the country select who they would wish to start their station with.

A few interesting notes:

WEEI Program Director (and NY Sports fan) Kevin Graham picked Mike Francesa at #8

Former WEEI afternoon host Mike Salk, selected 98.5’s Fred Toucher at #13

Bruce Gilbert at Cumulus/Westwood One-Dallas picked Rich Shertenlieb at #32.

No other locals were involved.

Finally, NESN interviewing “Darth Vader” while the Red Sox were getting destroyed last night might well be a low point in the network’s history.