THE DUMBNESS OF THE WHALE: Leading pundits just wanna have fun!

FRIDAY, MAY 22, 2015

Part 5—People, what’s in a word:
Did an employee of the New England Patriots let some air out of some footballs?

We can’t give you the answer to that. The NFL’s official Wells report says this: “more probable than not.”

If that actually happened, did the team’s wonderfully handsome star quarterback actually know about it?

We can’t answer that question either. The Wells report is highly speculative concerning that second point.

That said, we don’t critique NFL employees or handsome star quarterbacks at this site. We critique the work of the American press.

In many ways, the Wells report seems slippery and disingenuous. If anything, the journalism about the report has been substantially worse.

In what way does the Wells report sometimes seem disingenuous? In what way has the journalism failed to challenge this problem? Consider the passage shown below, in which the Wells report discusses what happened when the Indianapolis Colts intercepted a pass from a quarterback who is widely believed to be more handsome than their own signal-caller

Alberto Riveron is an NFL senior officiating supervisor. According to the Wells report, this is what occurred:
THE WELLS REPORT (page 64): Riveron told us that it was his call to collect the game balls for testing at halftime and that he did not consult with anyone else. Riveron believed that the combination of the pre-game concerns raised by the Colts and the information received about the intercepted ball made testing the game balls essential. At Riveron’s request, Daniel retrieved a gauge that was near the air pump in the dressing area of the Locker Room, and they tested the intercepted ball three times before the balance of the game balls were brought back to the Officials Locker Room. All three measurements were below 12.0 psi. A few minutes later, the game officials and other NFL representatives started arriving in the Officials Locker Room for halftime. Riveron took the intercepted ball from Daniel and walked into the dressing room area of the locker room.
“All three measurements were below 12.0 psi,” the Wells report dumbly says.

We call that statement dumb for an obvious reason. On page 113, the Wells report finally notes an extremely basic fact. According to basic laws of physics, the Patriots’ footballs should have measured “below 12.0 psi” by halftime of that game.

In fact, the Patriots’ footballs should have measured anywhere from 11.32-11.52 psi by halftime, given weather conditions. But the Wells report doesn’t mention that fact until page 113.

Forty-nine pages earlier, it tells us that the intercepted football measured “below 12.0 psi”—full stop! And uh-oh! Since readers have already been told, early and often, that the “permitted range” was 12.5-13.5 psi, that statement clearly seems to imply that these readings—the footballs were below 12.0 psi!—meant that something was wrong.

“All three measurements were below 12.0 psi,” the Wells report dumbly says. Was that statement deliberately disingenuous, or is it just an artifact of lousy writing?

We can’t answer that, but the statement is massively dumb. It plainly suggests that the psi of the intercepted ball meant that something was wrong.

It makes this obvious suggestion even though the authors of the Wells report knew that the football should have produced such a reading by halftime. At best, that is horrible writing. A cynic could wonder if it’s actually deliberate deception.

The suggestion that passage makes is monumentally dumb. But as we noted yesterday, the New York Times adopted this ridiculous framework in all its reporting about this matter.

Amazing! In two lengthy front-page reports and a third informational column, the New York Times never told readers about the way weather conditions affected air pressure in the Patriots’ footballs. With remarkable dumbness, the Times adopted the gong-show framework according to which the Patriots’ footballs were judged to be “underinflated” because they measured below 12.5 psi at halftime.

In three lengthy reports, Times readers were never told that the Patriots’ footballs should have measured below 12.5 psi. The famous newspaper didn’t seem to have made it all the way to page 113 of the Wells report.

The Wells report is very poorly written. At various points, it’s hard to tell if the poor quality of the writing has been done deliberately, for a nefarious purpose.

“Appendix 1” to the Wells report was written by Exponent, a scientific firm with a somewhat shaky reputation. The appendix is much more competently composed than the 139-page Wells report proper.

The appendix actually offers answers to some of the questions which the Wells report proper seems to duck. For that reason, it’s possible that some of the misleading work in the Wells report results from simple incompetence, rather than from bad motives.

That said, the journalism in the New York Times was just amazingly bad. This brings us to the dumbest part of a truly hopeless performance by the American press corps.

All across the American press, that hopeless performance quickly focused on a single word from a single text message. That single word became the primary focus in the coverage of this consensus scandal.

Everyone knew that this single word was the last nail in the coffin! When the Wells report appeared, the New York Times seized on the new talking-point in the very first sentence of its very first news report:
BRANCH (5/7/15): He called himself the deflator. A longtime locker-room attendant for the New England Patriots, Jim McNally, was responsible for controlling the air pressure in the footballs that quarterback Tom Brady would use on the field.

Another Patriots employee, an equipment assistant named John Jastremski, was in direct communication with Brady and provided McNally with memorabilia, including shoes and autographed footballs.

Those three men—two low-rung employees and Brady, the passer regarded as one of the best ever—are now linked in a scandal that threatens Brady’s legacy and further tarnishes the reputation of the Patriots, a team that has taken suspicious paths to success.
“He called himself the deflator,” the Times said in its opening sentence. As the consensus scandal progressed, this was treated as the definitive point—as a virtual confession—all across the American press.

“He called himself the deflator!” In part because of slippery writing in the Wells report, reporters may not have understood that McNally “called himself this” exactly once, and that he did so in May 2014, three months after the Patriots played their final game of the previous season.

No football games were being played when McNally made this lone remark in a cryptic text message. If McNally ever let air out of footballs in an inappropriate way, he hadn’t done so for at least three months at the time this lone remark was texted.

The Wells report interpreted the remark in a nefarious way. In at least one passage, it seemed to pluralize the remark—seemed to convey the impression McNally may have “called himself the deflator” on a regular basis.

Many journalists took it that way. Eagerly, they gulped the bait they had been offered.

One week later, in their rebuttal report, the Patriots said that lone remark wasn’t a reference to deflating footballs. Starting on ESPN, American pundits reacted to the passage shown below with utter derision, as in all such consensus scandals, and with the greatest joy known to the modern journalist—the appalling joy of the hive:
PATRIOTS REBUTTAL REPORT: There was a second way that Mr. Jastremski and Mr. McNally used the term “deflation” or “deflator” which the report disregards. The Wells investigators had the May 9, 2014 “deflator”/espn text string in their possession several weeks before their full day, four lawyer-staffed interviews with each of Mr. McNally and Mr. Jastremski. They came to the interviews with laptops, documentation and had obviously prepared extensively for each interview. They never asked either of them about that May 9 “deflator”/espn text. Perhaps that is not surprising since the word “deflator” appears in only ONE text from among many hundreds of texts that were made available to the investigators. The Report then takes this one word, in this one text, and uses it throughout the Report as a moniker for Mr. McNally. Is this true objectivity? Further, when they sought their additional interview with Mr. McNally, they never candidly said they had overlooked this text and therefore wanted Mr. McNally back for another interview to ask him about it. They never asked Mr. Jastremski about it in his interview. Had they done so, they would have learned from either gentleman one of the ways they used the deflation/deflator term. Mr. Jastremski would sometimes work out and bulk up—he is a slender guy and his goal was to get to 200 pounds. Mr. McNally is a big fellow and had the opposite goal: to lose weight. “Deflate” was a term they used to refer to losing weight. One can specifically see this use of the term in a Nov. 30, 2014 text from Mr. McNally to Mr. Jastremski: “deflate and give somebody that jacket.” (p. 87). This banter, and Mr. McNally’s goal of losing weight, meant Mr. McNally was the “deflator.” There was nothing complicated or sinister about it. If there was any doubt about the jocular nature of the May 9, 2014 texts, a review of all the texts between these two men that day would dispel it...
Is it possible that this explanation was true? Is it possible that McNally and Jastremski used that term as a jocular reference to losing weight?

Is that possible? Of course it’s possible! People use unconventional joking language with friends all the time. Of course it’s possible that Jastremski and McNally spoke with each other that way.

The fact that this is possible doesn’t mean that it’s true, of course. It’s also possible that this is a joking reference to letting air out of footballs in a surreptitious manner, although McNally couldn’t have done that for at least three months at the time he made this one remark, a remark which was quickly pluralized across the American press corps.

Is it possible that McNally and Jastremski jokingly refer to weight loss as “deflation?” Yes, of course it is! But it isn’t possible inside a hive whose inhabitants mainly like to cavort and play, as they’ve done so many times in matters of much greater consequence.

When the Patriots rebuttal appeared, we turned on ESPN. Groups of ex-jocks were taking turns laughing about “the deflator.”

Their analysis was clear. They had never spoken that way. So plainly, no one else had!

On ESPN (the network of record), the analysts were having great fun that day. They never asked why the NFL sent that bad information to the Patriots. They never asked why their own network had reported a bogus set of statistics, attributed to “NFL sources.”

They didn’t ask why the NFL didn’t correct or disavow that false information. They never mentioned the clownish aspects of the data collection which lay at the heart of this messy consensus tale.

Most of them were former jocks. When X’s and O’s are no longer involved, their analytical skills aren’t among the best. Talking about statistics is hard. Joking and laughing are fun!

That said, their joking and laughing was reproduced all around the press corps. We’ve seen almost no discussion or analysis of the NFL’s clownish data collection, or of its apparent lying concerning the data it gathered.

All in all, American journalists just wanna have fun. We think Cyndi Lauper said that!

Our pundits don’t know what McNally meant by his single use of that term. But all across the American press, the dumbness of the whale is such that no one is able to understand or say that.

Al Gore said he invented the Internet! Inside the hive, that provided two solid years of good solid fun!

Given the dumbness of the whale, all the hive-dwellers knew it was true. Even though they didn’t!

They enjoyed two years of fun. At least in the case of the man who “called himself the deflator,” their silly clowning won’t result in death all over the world.

The power of pluralization: How do talking-points spread within the hive? On the day of Branch’s front-page report, Michael Powell included this in his New York Times column:
POWELL (5/7/15): The evidence fell a couple of feet short of definitive. Investigators, however, unearthed a clubhouse fellow who went by the wonderfully suggestive nickname ''the deflator.'' Mr. Deflator worked closely before games with another clubhouse attendant. When word of the scandal broke, that attendant spent a lot of time talking and texting with Brady.
Mr. Deflator “went by that wonderfully suggestive nickname” exactly one time!

The joy of the hive was spreading fast. The next day, Dan Barry had some fun in his own New York Times column:
BARRY (5/8/15): McNally and a longtime friend, a Patriots equipment assistant named John Jastremski, felt comfortable enough to exchange candid texts about deflating footballs (he even refers to himself as ''the deflator''), collecting Patriots memorabilia and trash-talking about Brady.
He even “refers” to himself as the deflator? In fact, he did it exactly once, at a time when “deflating footballs” simply wasn't possible.

Later in his column, Barry referred to McNally as “the self-proclaimed ‘deflator.’ ” As when they joked and clowned about Gore, these whales just want to cavort and play. Our children just wanna have fun.

Why did the NFL distribute all that bad information? How strange! Neither columnist asked!


  1. So far so good--the Deflategate posts have been excellent.

    Of course, TDH doesn't do requests, but Deflategate has spawned this:

    A Harvard Biz School grad who is now a University Bigwig lectures Tom Brady on ethics. She's an expert on ethics and taking to the media to use Deflategate as a teaching moment. Obviously, she is far too busy to read the Wells report or figure out what it means. Apparently, being informed on the facts isn't a part of ethics as taught at the Center for Applied Ethics. Hilarious.

    1. Trollmes, i'm guessing you were too busy to read the report. I suggest you look at it rather than trust Bob about what it says. If you're busy, just go to Page 113 and ask yourself "Was Bob honest about what this page says?"

    2. Snarky and cryptic you are, but what's your point? Yes, the page establishes that one would expect that from temperature alone (not including game play and other factors) one would expect the Pats footballs to measure around 11.5 ish. They don't go further and say how much variance one would expect given the standard deviation of measurement error, but they make it plain that measurements at or somewhat below 11.5 are to be expected as completely normal and should be considered untainted and properly inflated for NFL game play.

      If you have some tiny point, please be more explicit.

    3. Trollme, actually it does not say that. Rather it explains that the measurements were taken in the locker room, NOT outside, so there were be an increase in pressure over what you'd expect to find at 48 degrees. The balls would have to have been measured within two minutes of getting inside the locker room in order for the pressures to be that low. So it cannot be explained away simply due to the cold outside temperatures.

      Clearly you haven't read the report or you'd know that. Here's a NYTimes article explaining it in layman's terms.

      If you don't want to read the whole article, here's a paragraph from it. Enjoy:

      "The report punctured a key assertion of some physicists around the country who believed that the temperature difference between the locker room, where the balls were inflated, and the playing field could provide an innocent explanation for the pressure drop. However, the balls were taken back to the locker room at halftime, where they warmed up again before the measurement, the report said. Therefore, the report concluded, 'the reduction in pressure of the Patriots’ game balls cannot be explained completely by basic scientific principles.'"

      (ps, Bob's made a rube out of you)

    4. This is 4:42, apologies Trollme it appears you only read the main text of that single page (like the Harvard grad you whine about, you can't be bothered to read the whole report, but you know what it says - Bob told you.)

      Anyway, may i suggest you also read the footnotes, which extend to page 142 or better the Exponent conclusions, they're all laid nice and clear.

      As usual, when it comes to math or science, Bob is confused.

      Carry on.

    5. Did they take into account the insulating properties of the material the football is made out of? How do they know how quickly the air inside the football warms up? The balls would have had plenty of time to cool down outside but they had much less time to warm back up. My understanding is that leather and rubber (or whatever footballs are made of) tend to be insulating rather than conducting, so you would expect a slow warming that could well have taken more than several minutes.

    6. Anon 458,

      If you have a tiny point, please state it. You really have no idea what I've read, so offering opinions on that hurts your credibility. You referred to a page, but now you claim that you are really referring to some other parts of the reports. What are you talking about? What is your point?

    7. Anon 442,

      The Wells report provides no data on the temperature of the balls when the halftime readings were taken. They don't bother to quantify how much heating they think took place. The speculation that they cram into footnote 67 is supported by precisely zero NFL historical measurements.

      Do you know the exact temperature the footballs were at halftime, because that would certainly be a help? If not, then you're the one who has been played, my friend.

    8. troll me, the point is Bob (and you) failed to note that the Wells report and Exponent stated the balls were measured inside so the drops expected at 48 degrees would NOT be what was measured in the locker room. So Bob's entire (huge) poiint, about how you'd expect the PSIs to be what were measured is incorrect. Why? because Bob fails to note the tiny point that the inert gas rule works the other way as well.

      Note, the report does in fact provide estimates of the temperature in the lockerroom (in fact a range of normal indoor temps).

      They also did empirical testing, see the Exponent Report.

      Trollme, this isn't hard to grasp even for Bob. My guess, he's playing you for a fool.

    9. Trollmes, I am not sure if you're being a troll or if you're truly confused.

      Bob has been going on and on the last few days discussing the physics of gas and temperature. His main point is this;

      "In fact, the Patriots’ footballs should have measured anywhere from 11.32-11.52 psi by halftime, given weather conditions. But the Wells report doesn’t mention that fact until page 113."

      What Bob forgets to mention is the report clearly states the balls "should" have measured in that range IF (and here's the crux), they were measured outside in the 48 degree air. However, as the report notes, the PSIs were measured in the locker room, which was at room temperature.

      Exponent ran lab tests on the balls - had them cooled than re-warmed and found that after two minutes (or so) the PSIs would be significantly above the measurements found for the Pat's balls.

      Unless you think all balls were measured within 2 minutes of entry into the locker room (interviews with those involved show that's highly unlikely), the inert gas law does not prove what Bob claims it proves.

      Will Bob discuss this fact? No. He's got a script and he'll stick to it.

    10. Please enlighten me on the Exponent lab tests--exactly what psi should the Pats footballs have been expected to be?

      Oh, what a surprise, you don't know.

    11. Trollmes, they do not need to know the exact pressure the balls were, they just need to know whether it's scientifically possible to be the pressures measured.

      They have a chart showing the range of pressures vs how long the balls were in the locker room before being tested.

      On that chart, it's clear that in order for the pressures to be what was measured on game day, they would have to have been taken less than two minutes after entering the room.

      So, while they do not know the exact amount of time the balls were in the room before testing, after interviewing people involved they ruled it was implausible that they were tested in that time frame.

      Read the freakin' report. And ask yourself, why has Bob never mentioned this key point?

    12. Well I don't think it' s such a key point, so there isn't any reason for me to ask myself why Bob didn't mention it. Using the Colts balls as a control when they didn't have time to measure them all isn't exactly state of the art research, but it' s good enough for you, I guess. Assuming the temperature of the officials' locker room is 71 at halftime--right after a bunch of people walk in from a Jan night--because why? oh, because it has a thermostat that turns on the heat when the temperature is below 71. Wait, if the heater went on, doesn't that mean the temp in the room was below 71? Was it 70? 65? Do you know?

      None of the referees or their NFL bosses had expertise or experience in this kind of measurement. It got screwed up. Some things can't be un-screwed up.

    13. Trollmes, ah yes, football officials walking from 48 degree outside temps into a 71 degree lockerroom will drop the temperature by more than 4 degrees F! Even Bob and the Pats are not making up such bullshit. Bob at least had the grace just to ignore the uncomfortable fact that the balls were measured inside not outside in the 48 degree air.

      Anyway, you either did not read the study, you did not understand it, or you're just as full of crap as Bob.

    14. Anon 236,

      You seem to think that the NFL Commisioner's lawyers are operating to seek the truth as opposed to representing their client's interest. It' s a childlike innocence that is unappealing in adults.

      Do you think actual scientists would call the Colts balls a control group? Do you know the temperature of the rain that night? The temperature of the footballs when measured? The temperature of the room where they were measured? When they were measured? Which gauge was used to measure them? Or do you know none of these?

      You are confident, I will give you that. You do realize that the people who screamed for witches to be burnt believed the spectral evidence presented, right? And today, on the basis of a bunch of incompetent hacks using faulty gauges under conditions that have no precedent or historical context, you are ready to believe a Commissioner who has a steady track record of crowdsourcing disciplinary actions.

      I've been on jury duty, I've seen people like you.

  2. " 'All three measurements were below 12.0 psi,' the Wells report dumbly says. Was that statement deliberately disingenuous, or is it just an artifact of lousy writing?"

    "The mess boys ate the strawberries" Ensign Harding told me. Was that statement lies, or the act of deliberate disloyalty?

    1. " 'The mess boys ate the strawberries,' " is massively dumb. It plainly suggests that the ingestion of the strawberries meant no key to enable food pilfering exists."

    2. "I took the initiative in creating the Internet" Al Gore dumbly said. Was that statement deliberately disingenuous, or an artifact of lousy thinking. It is massively dumb. It plainly invites the suggestion that he invented something.

    3. "It plainly invites the suggestion that he invented something."

      Only to dumbass mental midgets.

    4. 12:33 PM,

      I notice in your search for truth you couldn't even manage to quote Gore's entire sentence, let alone place it in its context. "Was the statement deliberately disingenuous, or an artifact of lousy thinking[?]" Neither.

      BLITZER: I want to get to some of the substance of domestic and international issues in a minute, but let's just wrap up a little bit of the politics right now.

      Why should Democrats, looking at the Democratic nomination process, support you instead of Bill Bradley, a friend of yours, a former colleague in the Senate? What do you have to bring to this that he doesn't necessarily bring to this process?

      GORE: Well, I will be offering -- I'll be offering my vision when my campaign begins. And it will be comprehensive and sweeping. And I hope that it will be compelling enough to draw people toward it. I feel that it will be.

      But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I've traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system.

      During a quarter century of public service, including most of it long before I came into my current job, I have worked to try to improve the quality of life in our country and in our world. And what I've seen during that experience is an emerging future that's very exciting, about which I'm very optimistic, and toward which I want to lead.

      BLITZER: On this political front, the polls currently see Governor George Bush of Texas and even Elizabeth Dole ahead of you in a hypothetical race nearly two years away from today. Why do you think that's the situation?

      As to your own 12:33 PM comment, you, yourself, conceded, "It is massively dumb." Agreed.

    5. mm & CMike:

      Way to go rubes. You proved 12:33's point.

    6. CMike thanks for all of the transcript you posted.

      Bush, and even Elizabeth Dole were whipping Gore in the polls long before the press used "Al Gore invented the internet" to cause the death of hundreds of thousands in Iraq.

    7. "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

      The suggestion that passage makes is monumentally dumb.

    8. "Only to dumbass mental midgets."

      I've wondered what "mm" stood for. Now I know.

    9. 2:32 PM, I guess from your Maddow-is-da-bomb World your view of things is that Gore lost the 2000 election in a blowout so what did any of the press coverage matter. Can't argue with that kind of insight.

    10. CMike the one who is hung up on Maddow, beside Bob, is you. I think very little of her. And not very often either.

      But I would suggest, since your boy Bob seems to put a lot of faith in poll results to support his "press War on Gore" elected Bush theory at least once every week since 2000,
      that polls indicate Gore's problems preceded the deadliest major salvo in that war.

    11. I took the initiative in creating the internet


      Spell Syllables
      Synonyms Examples Word Origin
      verb (used with object), created, creating.

      1. to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.

      2. to evolve from one's own thought or imagination, as a work of art or an invention.

      Synonyms Expand

      2. originate, invent.

      Spell Syllables
      Word Origin
      adjective, dumber, dumbest.

      1. lacking intelligence or good judgment; stupid; dull-witted.

    12. initiative: in sing. ] the power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do: we have lost the initiative and allowed our opponents to dictate the subject.

    13. From

      Synonyms for create


    14. From

      Synonyms for initiative


  3. "In fact, the Patriots’ footballs should have measured anywhere from 11.32-11.52 psi by halftime, given weather conditions. But the Wells report doesn’t mention that fact until page 113."

    Does it say they "should have" been between those figures. No it doesn't. In fact the only way it could be between those figures (based on the ideal gas equation) is if the ball's pressures were all measured within 2 minutes of being brought back into the lockeroom at halftime.

    The reason? Just as pressure goes down when the air is cooled outside, it goes back up when it is warmed back inside.

    See Page 214 of the Wells Report (the Exponent portion).

    So could the lower pressures be caused by lower temperatures? Yes, that could have happened, but only if the pressures were measured two minutes after returning to the locker room.


    1. Actually page 113 DOES say "should have" but only with the caveats noted by 12:51, meaning the pressures should have lowered outside, but then they should have also increased once back inside (where they were measured at half time).

      Bob leaves that part off - not sure why.

    2. Hey Mr. Science (12:51)! Why did the Colts balls' pressure go down? They were in the locker room longer than the Patriots balls, because (cough, cough) they didn't have time to measure them all.
      If they thought Mr. Anderson could not remember which gauge he used, then why did they believe his memory of his readings of the pressures when they were much more consistent than the readings in which they had written documentation?
      The science in that report would get a failing grade in Lab 101 at a party school.

    3. 1:32, i'm not sure what you're getting at, no one is claming that the pressure would return to pregrame ambient pressure during the 15 minute lockeroom break.

      The Colts went down but not as much as the Pats. It's possible the 48 degree outside air lowered the Pat's pressure by the magnitude measured, but only if the pressures were measured within 2 minutes of returning to the locker room.

      There's a possibility that the Pats balls were in fact measured within 2 minutes of entering the lockeroom and the Colts more than 2 minutes, which would explain the difference between the respective team's measurements. That's also discussed in the Exponent Report. Again read it.

      As for the which gauges was probably used, that's explained, quite logically, in the report. Note it was NOT based on Mr Anderson's memory.

      Bob is treating you like a rube.

      I suggest you read it and not depend on Bob

    4. anon 2:00 p.m, are you saying that the footballs, being outside for the first half, more than 1 hour, thereby getting deflated by the colder weather all that time, bounce back to the original, inflation measurement after only 2 minutes, when they get brought back inside again? Not sure that makes sense.

    5. AC/MA - another person who won't read the Report.

    6. Some of us don't even watch football, much less read reports about violations of esoteric rules about the game (it is a game).

    7. AC/MA i'm just telling you what the report says. It does not say they'll get to the original pressure in two minutes, it says the pressure they'd get to in 2 minutes is significantly higher than what was reported, so the whole "it was because the balls were outside..." is not scientifically valid.

      Bob "forgets" to mention that part of the report.

    8. ANON 6:14. and 7:35 I doubt (either of?) you read the Patriots' rebuttal. I've looked at the Exponent explanation of why they failed to credit anderson's assertion that he used the non-logo guage when he tested the Patriots footballs before the game, and it doesn't make any sense. If anderson was correct about what gauge he used, then the average psi of the Patriots' footballs at halftime was 11.49, which is within the normal predicted range of between 11.32 and 11.52 according Expnent's own report. The concept raised here that the psi increased once brought inside to be measured is not used by Exponent to support its theory, and in any event, it appears the measurements took place within about 4 minutes of being brought inside. Exponent's much more emphasized point is that there was a greater disparity of loss of psi between the Patriots' footballs and the Colts.' That appears to be the case, but the fact is that but for the assumption that Anderson was wrong about which gauge he used, the evidence of tampering is considerably weakened.

  4. This topic is dumb! Obviously the NFL makes up the rules as it goes along in an attempt to satiate the public. But for this no one cares about the punishment. Journalists can write whatever crap they want to on this topic because nobody cares enough to pay it any attention.

    1. Oh, just on this topic. Nothing to learn here. Journalists grow some ethics when they report on important stuff, right?

  5. I'll bet stupid middle school principals suspend students on the reports of dumb teachers (like Bob Somerby used to be) every day.

  6. THE DUMBNESS OF THE SOMERBY READERS: misleading blogger just wanna have fun!

    "Most amazingly, Times readers have never been told about the basic physics of the case."
    Somerby Yesterday

    "In the End, Science Works Against the Patriots"
    New York Times headline for James Glanz article May 6

    1. The Times actually read the report: "The report punctured a key assertion of some physicists around the country who believed that the temperature difference between the locker room, where the balls were inflated, and the playing field could provide an innocent explanation for the pressure drop. However, the balls were taken back to the locker room at halftime, where they warmed up again before the measurement, the report said. Therefore, the report concluded, 'the reduction in pressure of the Patriots’ game balls cannot be explained completely by basic scientific principles.'"

      Did Bob ignore the fact the balls were measured inside at half-time (as the Exponent report and the NYTimes describes)?

      Did Bob simply not know?

      Is he as dumb as a whale or is he figuring we're as dumb as whales? Are whales even that dumb?

      I look forward to more crystal clear and honest analysis from Bob.

    2. That only makes it even worse. Is 13min 30 seconds long enough to warm the ball up to the same tamp as before the game? I have have my doubts, but who knows!

    3. Anon 305,

      You know how when you take milk out of the refrigerator it's cold, right? And then if you took it outside for say 2 minutes on a summer day, do you think the milk would be 95 degrees? It would be warmer than the 40 degrees it was in the fridge, but much warmer? You don't know; I don't know; the NFL and their consultants don't know. And if the consultants do know, they're not saying. Nobody knows what the temperature of the footballs was. Nobody has done game conditions tests on footballs to see the effects of temperature and use. At this point, it's speculation.

      I expect next year the Pats and others will do some careful testing and I hope we get to see the results. I don't think this Times piece would qualify as investigative journalism.

    4. Trollme, actually Exponent did run tests on the temperatures.

      But you wouldn't know that because you're one of Bob's rubes.

      Seriously, just read the fuckin' thing, it's less lengthy and far more clearly written than a typical bob post.

    5. "I don't think this Times piece would qualify as investigative journalism."

      Let's consider the subthread you are commenting in. You are worried that the Times piece does not meet your personal definition of investigative journalism?

      The point of the subthread, based on the comment from Anonymous @ 2:43 is that Bob's posts don't qualify as accurate media criticism.

      "Most amazingly" to borrow from Bob, Somerby was not telling the truth. Except this happens all too often to be amazing.

    6. So you would rather someone go away than tell you the little boy crying "the Emperor has no clothes" is in fact himself an old guy telling a factual untruth?

      The untrue allegation here involves telling you not just a lie, but a lie alleging someone didn't tell you something that they did tell you. Since the old guy's whole purpose is to decry inaccuracies in the telling of things, I'd say the dumb ones around here are the ones who defend Somerby. The ones who are pointing out his false tales are the ones doing Somerby's purported job. And for that they get called trolls. By the dumb.

    7. Anon 739,
      You don't know what Exponent did because they won't talk to the Times or anyone not named Goodell.

    8. Anon,
      Do you think the Times article was a good example of investigative journalism? Maybe the Times did enough of a discussion of whether the psi data was consistent with a conclusion that the Pats probably deflated the footballs for you. I guess you're satisfied with that level of reporting and analysis. I'm not.

    9. But you are satisfied with its existence.

      Let's compare the quality of the Times article to the honesty of Somerby's post, shall we?


      "Most amazingly, Times readers have never been told about the basic physics of the case."

      New York Times:

      "The laws of physics worked in favor of the New England Patriots when a football spiraled into the arms of one of their players at the end of the Super Bowl. But those same laws could not save the Patriots from the conclusion that they almost certainly tampered with footballs — by improperly deflating them — to help the team win an earlier playoff game."


      "Most amazingly, Times readers have never been told about the basic physics of the case."

      New York Times:

      In a report commissioned by the National Football League and released Wednesday, a noted engineering firm and a Princeton physics professor concluded that an equation known as the Ideal Gas Law could not explain why the Patriots footballs were at such low pressures when they were measured at halftime of New England’s postseason victory over the Indianapolis Colts.


      "Most amazingly, Times readers have never been told about the basic physics of the case."

      New York Times:

      The report punctured a key assertion of some physicists around the country who believed that the temperature difference between the locker room, where the balls were inflated, and the playing field could provide an innocent explanation for the pressure drop.

      Somerby Paraphrased:

      In many ways, the (Howler) report seems slippery and disingenuous.....We call that statement dumb for an obvious reason. On (May 6, 2015 the New York Times reported exactly what Somerby asserts they did not.) Was that statement deliberately disingenuous, or is it just an artifact of lousy writing?

      We can’t answer that, but the statement is massively dumb.

  7. Girls just wanna make more than 77 cents on the dollar for what the guys makes. I think Cyndi Lauper meant that.

  8. THE DUMBNESS OF THE SOMERBY READERS: misleading blogger just wanna have fun!

    "Times readers have never encountered even the most fundamental facts about this ridiculous case.

    They’ve never been told about the NFL’s clownish attempt at data collection. They’ve never been told that the NFL gave false information to the Patriots and apparently to the press corps itself."

    Somerby yesterday

    Have Howler readers ever been told?

    Patriots Won’t Appeal N.F.L. Punishment, Owner Says"?

    New York Times Headline May 19

    1. 3:23, you are a simpleton. The decision not to appeal proves little, unless there was some viable legal mechanism for him to appeal, which in essence there isn't.

    2. You should have stopped after the word "little." By the way, Brady and the NFLPA are appealing his suspension.

    3. AC/MA it is possible such information is relevant to Bob's readers. Anything is possible. He acts just like the bad old New York Times and, like the brutish editors of the paper of record, decides not to tell his readers about it.

      The decision "proves little?" Well, not knowing it was made tilts the playing field in favor of Bob's position, which I think is what he accused the NFL and ESPN of doing to the Patriots. But that's just my view. Yours may differ.

    4. anon 6:26, TDH is criticizng the press for ignoring apparent flaws in the Wells report, e.g. that the finding of "more probable than not" tampering is based on an assumption that Anderson measured the psi pre-game using the non-logo gauge. You're not condoning this are you? This is comparable to the way the press handled Rice's statement on the news shows about Benghazi. Instead, we have anon 3:23 and you (the same person?) countering with TDH doesn't mention Kraft won't appeal, and therefore is a hypocrite, being just as bad as the "brutish" NYT editors. (This constant mimicking of TDH's style reminds me of certain obnoxious eighth graders). That Kraft dropped his appeal was fully publicized in the press (not so much though that there was little in the way of a legal mechanism to do so). To argue that TDH by not referencing this particuar point was somehow misleading anybody is kind of stupid.

    5. AC/MA allow me to mimic your style by making tardy commentary. First you call someone a simpleton. Then compare them to an eighth grader in another comment you made two days later. This reminds me of someone on the sidewalk talking to themselves.
      two days after .

    6. Anon 9:59, that's all you have, that I was tardy?

  9. Why hasn't Bob weighed in on the domestic violence issue racking the WNBA?

    1. Bob writes a blog about the media, not actual news issues. Besides one married couple hardly counts as being wracked.

    2. Like the GEICO ad says "Everybody knows that." But did you know the media coverage of this incident differed from the coverage of Ray Rice?

  10. Next week: Back to Bob's subject for the next 19 months: "Hillary's [scandal du jour} is just like what those bastards did to Al Gore! Don't even think about believing what they're saying, or it's President Walker!"

    1. Actually, what they're saying about Hillary today is that she is being impeached by the right because she is running as if she were already president, not a candidate. The evidence for this is that she won't talk to the mainstream press. Never mind that presidents have press secretaries specifically for the purpose of talking to the press, hold press conferences and behave in ways not much like the way Hillary is conducting her campaign.

    2. "Actually, what they're saying about Hillary today is . . ."

      Let me fix that for you.

      "Actually, what I imagine they're saying about Hillary today because it fits my narrative is . . ."

      You're welcome.

    3. Atlantic has an article this month that not only calls grandmothers useless (why are they still alive) but says being a grandmother doesn't make you a good person, explicitly referencing Hillary's supposed deceit.

    4. Our guess? Such cluelessness from Clinton supporters may represent her “biggest problem.”

    5. @ 10:24 is right. This vicious screed against women over 60 plays all the anti-Hillary cards.

      It ought to be examined by Somerby soon.

      OTOH the views about the wage gap are similar to those Somerby has expressed.

  11. What happened to the description of Meredith Vieira's mansion we were promised?

    Enough with the Deflategate! A few more blog posts on Deflategate and we ARE going to end up with President Walker!

    1. I would like the recipe for Diane Sawyer's meat loaf sandwiches.

      But that was never promised.

    2. Make meatloaf. Let cool. Cut into 1/2 inch slices. Lay a slice on top of a piece of bread. Lay another piece of bread on top. Cut sandwich with knife. Eat. Reflect on Diane Sawyer's "meatloaf sandwich humblebrag." Imagine life under a President Walker. In mirror, see tear roll down your cheek.

    3. Sounds pretty dry. But if you enjoy it watching a giant flat-screen TV like the one that hangs in front of Maddow's large hot tub, there's nothing “wrong” with a dry sandwich.

    4. Perhaps Maddow's wife can "bring" some mayonnaise for the Sawyerwich. Maddow herself is busy, worshiping at the shrine that contains the framed letter announcing her Rhodes "scholarship."

    5. Butyraceous AdiposeMay 24, 2015 at 12:59 PM

      That would certainly make the sandwich a slippery saponaceous treat, but likely to leave the hot tub an oily oleaginous mess and make you and unctuous unwelcome old coot of a guest.

  12. Consider the financial tie-ins, NBC broadcasts Sunday Night Football, ESPN broadcasts Monday Night Football. That makes both business partners with the NFL. When non-independent "news outlets" produce PR posing as journalism, including disseminating false information, they deserve scrutiny. Good on Somerby for shining a light!

  13. Just because all of this did not keep the Pats from winning the Super Bowl does not mean it won't give us President Walker.

  14. "Why did the NFL distribute all that bad information? How strange! Neither columnist asked!"

    Since the NFL did not distribute the bad information (it was attributed by and ESPN reporter to unnamed NFL sources) is it possible that the two columnists who don't work for ESPN did not care to ask?

    Yes. It is possible. It is possible both columnist referred to their childhood weight gain as "The Inflator." Anything is possible.

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