Foxboro, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - The New England Patriots have released a response to the Ted Wells report concerning the deflated balls scandal from the AFC Championship Game and said the conclusions of the investigation are basically insufficient.
The report, which indicated that New England quarterback Tom Brady was "generally aware" that locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski were letting the air out of balls, led the NFL toward penalties that included a four-game suspension for the two-time MVP, a hefty fine against the Patriots and the loss of two draft picks.
Brady's suspension was issued by the NFL on Monday and the team on Thursday released a link to a website called "TheWellsReportContext.com," which attempts to convey inconsistencies in the Wells Report.
"The conclusions of the Wells Report are, at best, incomplete, incorrect and lack context," the text on the website began. "The Report dismisses the scientific explanation for the natural loss of psi of the Patriots footballs by inexplicably rejecting the Referee's recollection of what gauge he used in his pregame inspection. Texts acknowledged to be attempts at humor and exaggeration are nevertheless interpreted as a plot to improperly deflate footballs, even though none of them refer to any such plot."
The Patriots have stood by Brady since the NFL's suspension was issued and did so again on Thursday.
"There is no evidence that Tom Brady preferred footballs that were lower than 12.5 psi and no evidence anyone even thought that he did," the website stated. "All the extensive evidence which contradicts how the texts are interpreted by the investigators is simply dismissed as 'not plausible.' Inconsistencies in logic and evidence are ignored.
"Our intention is to provide additional context for balance and consideration."
A main issue in the Wells Report centered around the term "Deflator," which is used in texts between Jastremski and McNally. The Patriots, in their response, said "deflate" was a word the two men used in reference to losing weight.
McNally, the Patriots' response said, is a "big fellow" who had a goal to lose weight.
The Patriots said the use of text messages to derive meaning should not have been utilized as prevalently as the Wells Report used them because they do not convey tone of voice.
"Although the report recognized the texts between Mr. Jastremski and Mr. McNally were filled with hyperbole and attempts at humor, it arbitrarily decided where the joking ended and what the jokes referred to. Texts and e- mails can be important to any investigation, but relying on texts subject to various meanings without other corroborating evidence is a questionable approach. Here, the other evidence does not corroborate the report's interpretation of the texts -- it actually contradicts it."
The Patriots said the Wells Report continued to ignore the scientific explanation of the natural loss of PSI (pounds per square inch) due to the weather conditions and that three of the Colts' footballs that were measured that day were also below the required PSI on a different gauge.
Since the Patriots assert that Colts' footballs also lost PSI, they said in the response Thursday that the league had already prejudged the issues and only had the Patriots investigated by Wells.
The Wells Report also said Brady did not fully comply with the investigation because he did not turn over his phone to allow investigators to check texts he may have had with Jastremski or McNally. The Patriots countered by saying that investigators had the phones of both men and would, therefore, have any potential texts that may have been written in correspondence with Brady.
Brady, who last Thursday in a public appearance said he had no reaction to the Wells Report, has appealed the four-game penalty.
The Patriots were hit with a $1 million fine and must forfeit a first-round draft pick in 2016 as well as a fourth-round selection in 2017.