The independent investigation of January’s Deflategate incident in the AFC championship Game between the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots concluded when the Ted Wells Report was published on Wednesday.
The report confirmed most rumors already known, including the fact that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady likely knew of the inappropriate actions that were taking place.
Almost four months had passed since the game was played on January 18th, and thequestions that most had about the game should be answered in the 243-page report. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hired Ted Wells in January to conduct the investigation.
Wells is a prominent criminal attorney who was first hired by Goodell in November 2013 to investigate Miami Dolphins teammates Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin. The investigation brought to light the issue of bullying in NFL locker rooms and how it is handled by the league.
The release put Deflategate saga officially to rest, and here is what you need to know about the report:
1. Wells Is a Prominent Criminal Attorney & 1 of the Best In the Nation
He is a litigation partner at the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. The National Law Journal has selected Wells as one of America’s best white-collar defense attorneys on numerous occasions. He received his B.A. from College of the Holy Cross, his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. His wife is former Secretary of State of New Jersey Nina Mitchell Wells, and the couple reside in Livingston, New Jersey.
Wells is most well-known for being the defensive attorney in the 2007 Scooter Libby trial — Libby was a high-ranking official under the Bush administration., and the highest to ever face criminal charges. He has also represented former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer.
2. Roger Goodell Went Back to Wells After the Miami Incident in 2013
In November 2013, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed Wells to direct an independent investigation into issues of workplace conduct involving the Miami Dolphins.
It was later determined that a pattern of harassment was occurring and that Richie Incognito bullied Johnathan Martin.
Goodell went back to the well (pun intended) for the handling of the Deflategate incident; Wells also planned on investigating the rest of the New England Patriots organization.
During Super Bowl Week, CNN’s Rachel Nichols asked if there was a “conflict of interest” when it comes to hiring outside investigators for these types of incidents. The question was intended as a jab at the time because Goodell has had a reputation of tip-toeing around directly answering questions, and usually gets lambasted for it on social media.
The Long Report Implicates Brady & 2 Patriots Employees
The entire 243-page report can be seen here. The other two Patriots employees implicated in the report are the two employees that have been at the forefront of the investigation for the last three-plus months, Jim McNally and John Jastremski.
According to the report, McNally and Jastremski deflated the footballs before the start of the 2014-15 AFC Championship Game. In the interview process from months ago, Brady revealed that he does work with the equipment staff and he is aware that they do deflate the footballs before games. The report confirmed what most knew, but the issue is how much the footballs were deflated going into the game and the decision for those two employees to strictly act along when doing it.
4. An Outside The Lines Report Leaked Information That Wells Has Knowledge Of
On February 18, it was revealed on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” that an NFL employee handed an an unapproved kicking ball to a Gillette Stadium officials’ locker room attendant who then subsequently tried to introduce the ball into the AFC Championship Game. According to the report:
The source said attorney Ted Wells and his team of investigators are aware of the chain of events, and have video of the exchange with the equipment manager. Wells has been hired by the NFL to conduct an investigation into accusations that the Patriots used underinflated footballs in the first half of their 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts that sent them to the Super Bowl.
It was originally Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson who tipped the NFL into investigating the footballs used in the game.
5. The NFL Had Several Investigations So Far in 2015
The other three incidents that the NFL looked deeper into include: the Cleveland Browns Owner texting coaches on the sideline during games — a violation of NFL rules, the Atlanta Falcons illegally pumping in crowd noise on game days and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson potentially tampering with his comment in regards to Darrelle Revis.
The Falcons were disciplined for the crowd noise; fined $350,000 and forfeited a 2016 draft pick.