Months after the media storm known as deflate-gate came and went, Ted Wells’ report has finally been delivered to the NFL. For those who do not remember, Deflate-gate was about the alleged deflation of the footballs during the Patriots and Colts AFC Championship game.

As for the findings, words could not be more vague, as if the evidence is circumstantial and even Wells himself does not know the results of his investigation.  “It is more probable than not,” he states, that the Pats did it and Tom Brady had to be “generally aware.”

“For the reasons described in this Report, and after a comprehensive investigation, we have concluded that, in connection with the AFC Championship Game, it is more probable than not that New England Patriots personnel participated in violations of the Playing Rules and were involved in a deliberate effort to circumvent the rules,” the report said. “In particular, we have concluded that it is more probable than not that Jim McNally and John Jastremski [the two Pats employees questioned] participated in a deliberate effort to release air from Patriots game balls after the balls were examined by the referee. Based on the evidence, it also is our view that it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities of McNally and Jastremski involving the release of air from Patriots game balls.”

The wording of Wells’ conclusion is just simply off. After all of these months and more than 200 pages worth of findings, it is just odd that he uses the term “more probable than not” in the conclusion. Does that mean that he is basing his conclusion on circumstantial evidence and there is no way to say that the organization absolutely positively committed the crime? And perhaps this reflects my own problem with “legal burden of proof,” which in the past has defined evidence as needing to be “more probable than not,” but it just feels like Wells is giving a ‘maybe they did it.’

Now, he bases these findings on the text messages between McNally and Jastremski. In the two’s text messages, Jastremski promises McNally a whole punch of swag in regards to the “needle.” “Maybe u will have some nice size 11s in ur locker; Remember to put a couple sweet pig skins ready for tom to sign; U got it kid…big autograph day for you” their texts read.

On top of this, communications between Jastremski and Brady rose following the start of the NFL’s investigation. “Indeed, in our view, a contrary conclusion requires the acceptance of an implausible number of communications and events as benign coincidences,” the report stated. “Although we believe that a number of the communications between Jastremski and McNally were attempts at humor, based on the evidence and the communications in their entirety, we believe that McNally and Jastremski were joking about events in which they were actually participating that involved the deflation of footballs in violation of the Playing Rules.”

But a direct link between Brady and the deflation was not possible because he refused to hand over his emails, phone calls and text messages. Therefore, he was most likely “generally aware” of it, according to Wells.

However, one of the reasons the investigation allegedly began — when a non-approved kicking ball was introduced to the game — was reportedly a simple mistake made by the Patriots’ sideline crew. “Based on the evidence, the investigation has further concluded that that there was no deliberate attempt by the Patriots to introduce to the playing field a non-approved kicking ball during the AFC Championship Game,” the report continued. “Although Patriots personnel provided a kicking ball to game officials that did not have the distinctive inspection mark of the referee, we find that the Patriots personnel involved believed the ball to be authentic and appropriate.”

“While I respect the independent process of the investigation, the time, effort and resources expended to reach this conclusion are incomprehensible to me,” Patriots CEO Robert Kraft said in a press release. “Knowing that there is no real recourse available, fighting the league and extending this debate would prove to be futile. We understand and greatly respect the responsibility of being one of 32 in this league and, on that basis, we will accept the findings of the report and take the appropriate actions based on those findings as well as any discipline levied by the league.”

Expect to hear a punishment from Roger Goodell within the next few days.

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