In January, during a very important football game a few things happened. One, the Indianapolis Colts were thoroughly dominated by the New England Patriots. Two, the Patriots went to their sixth Super Bowl under coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.
Three, an investigation was started regarding under-inflated footballs used by the Patriots. On Wednesday, the results of that investigation by Ted Wells found that employees of the Patriots were probably guilty of willfully deflating the footballs and, more importantly, that Brady told them to do it.
Since the news broke, New England fans have gone into full denial mode and its turned into attacks against everything in the world. Most of that anger is directed towards the Colts for kicking off the whole investigation (and obviously being jealous of the Pats success).
But most of the attacks against the Wells Report or Colts are baseless, nitpicky, woefully ignorant or all three. The Colts have taken the high road with this report, acknowledging it and essentially moving on.
Here are some of the biggest claims against the report and Colts:
“More probable than not” is just opinion and doesn’t mean anything.
Actually, it does. In the terms of how the NFL conducts their investigations, this is saying that Brady and the Patriots are guilty. They don’t have a smoking gun (hissing ball?) or an admission of guilt, but every shred of evidence they do have points to wrongdoing by the team and QB.
Per Greg Bedard on twitter: “‘More probable than not’ is the threshold used by NFL. It was used on purpose. It’s NFL-speak for guilty.”
The NFL doesn’t need to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Pats cheated (at least not to people outside of the northeast) and this isn’t a court of law. The league regularly punishes players and teams for merely making the NFL look bad and in this case, they have actively impacted the integrity of the game (and didn’t even need to do so).
The refs didn’t do their job properly. The could have prevented this from happening.
Well, sure. The refs could have done a better job of keeping track of the balls and preventing a Patriots employee from sneaking away with them and heading to a bathroom to deflate the team’s balls. But even with extra scrutiny the staff went ahead and cheated like they have probably done every game this season.
There’s no hard evidence.
Right, besides the chart in the report that shows every single one of the Pats balls was under-inflated at halftime. All 11 balls, tested twice, failed. Four of the Colts balls were tested and they failed three of the eight tests barely.
Besides the video evidence that the Pats ball attendant entering a bathroom with the footballs before heading to the field. Besides all the text messages between Jim McNally, the Officials Locker Room Attendant, and John Jastremski, an equipment assistant, which covers everything from deflating balls, taking bribes, and going to ESPN with the story.
This was a sting operation and a setup! The NFL is out to get the Patriots.
And? The NFL has no obligation to tell Brady and the Patriots to knock it off. In fact, there is more of an obligation for Brady and the Patriots to, you know, not cheat.
What does the NFL have to gain by going after its most accomplished team in the past 15 years and one of the faces of the NFL? The player that has been propped up as a poster child for QBs is likely a cheater and the NFL is alright with it?
Bob Kraft has been one of the biggest supports of Roger Goodell, and if there were ever a team that the league would let something slide with, it would be the Pats.
But that argument completely jumps the fact that members of the team were cheating, willfully and offered or taking bribes to do so.
The police don’t notify a drug house before a raid, why would the NFL give the team a heads up about this situation? The NFL doesn’t have to tell the Pats not to cheat or to knock it off, the team, and players, should have more integrity than that.
The Colts cheated too, they pumped in artificial crowd noise to the RCA Dome.
Actually, no, that never happened and was never proven after an investigation. That was thoroughly debunked back in 2007.
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In the mid 2000s (’05-’07) a few coaches remarked as to how loud the stadium was and that it had never been like that before. Well, yeah, when had the Colts ever had a team worth cheering so loudly for in their tenure in Indianapolis?
Having been to a few dozen games and talking with longtime season ticket holders, the RCA Dome could get incredibly loud. When Marlin Jackson intercepted Brady’s pass in the 2006 AFC Championship game, a low rumble could be heard a quarter mile away down the street from the stadium. A few moments later fans at bars knew why as they feed caught up with what had just happened in the Dome.
The closed stadium could regularly be heard all over downtown Indy during the Peyton Manning-era.
And don’t say that the crowd noise isn’t the same at Lucas Oil. Its a completely open structure that also features a retractable window and roof that lets sound out. This new stadium wasn’t designed to funnel sound down onto the field like CenturyLink Field Seattle.
The Colts tanked to get Andrew Luck in 2011.
No. Just no.
That team played hard week in and week out but its was utterly, laughably reliant on Manning doing Manning things that they crumbled without his leadership. The Colts didn’t have the cap space for a decent backup QB (and were living in cap hell with four players eating most of the available space) and Curtis Painter really didn’t have any business being in the NFL.
The team tried to get better by signing Kerry Collins, the best available free agent QB at the time, but he was out for the season by Week 4 with a severe concussion. The Colts were left with Painter and Dan Orlovsky (famous for running out of the back of his own end zone) to help the team. To his credit, Orlovsky did lead the team to two wins.