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DeflateGate

Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:23 pm

When this whole thing started I figured it was just the usual media bashing of the Patriots & Belichick. As a Steelers fan I was on both sides as the Steelers have taken some of the same type of heat over the years, especially from Seahawks fans. Then I came across a pair of statistical analyses that laid things bare. Before I link, there's one important thing to remember. Prior to the 2007 season the game footballs were selected by the refs and used by both teams interchangeably. From 2007 forward the Competition Committee, thanks to lobbying by Brady and Peyton Manning, allowed each team to provide the balls it would use on offense.

Some stats geek went looking at fumble data from 2007 to date. After his first pass, he looked at players who came to the Patriots after 2007 or left the Patriots after 2007. Analyses are here:

http://www.sharpfootballanalysis.com/bl ... impossible

http://www.sharpfootballanalysis.com/bl ... ther-teams

The first link shows that the Patriots ability to not fumble is so far off the bell curve that it is both statistically significant and statistically improbable. The second link shows that players who came to the Patriots instantly showed a reduction in fumbles whereas players who left the Patriots instantly showed an increase in fumbles. Both links show that this improbable behaviour has continued for years.

Does this confirm deflation? Without actual PSI readings since 2007, no. That said, the way Patriots' fumble stats are such an outlier from the rest of the league over multiple years certainly implies "something". This is where we get into what I see as Belichick's mastery of the corners of the NFL rulebook and enforcement processes being on the same level as prime NASCAR teams who can get away with the same style of bending rules while leaving few, if any, direct bits of evidence of doing so. After all, it's long been known in NASCAR that if you ain't cheating, you ain't winning. At least NASCAR has the integrity (I think) to actually add each cheat they find to the inspection list for the next race. I fear the NFL looks only at Nielsen and the incoming cash flow to make its decisions.
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Re: DeflateGate

Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:46 pm

:P

Personally, I'm hoping that the Patriots win the Superbowl, and then the game/season is voided due to the cheating...

I don't put it past Belicheck to do whatever it takes to win..
 
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Re: DeflateGate

Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:51 pm

druidcent wrote:
I don't put it past Belicheck to do whatever it takes to win..

I've never disbelieved that, but somehow always thought it was a game-by-game thing whereby the method changed for each game. That's the sort of rule-stretching that's inherent in anything with printed rules (and again I go back to NASCAR). OTOH, those stats make something crystal clear.
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Re: DeflateGate

Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:43 am

Captain Ned wrote:


Wow, the stats Sharp quotes certainly make a person think a bit.
Another, related, blog entry worth looking at: http://www.sharpfootballanalysis.com/bl ... of-in-2007
 
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Re: DeflateGate

Tue Jan 27, 2015 8:24 am

Wow! Interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing.
 
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Re: DeflateGate

Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:35 am

Simple solution. Reverse the rule Brady and Manning lobbied for and have a shared pool of footballs for the Superbowl as well as all next year.

I am kinda bored of deflate gate and wish the news services would cover geopolitical news once in a while...but I can see for ardent football fans how painful it is to see potential cheating affecting games so much.
 
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Re: DeflateGate

Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:37 am

Looks like this is much more serious than originally thought. If those statistics are indeed correct, I'm left with the following questions:

  • Tom Brady has thrown around 65 interceptions since 2007. How is this the first time an opposing defender noticed the ball felt different?
  • Much more intriguing, the Patriots have played over 128 games since the beginning of the 2007 season, including every official in the NFL multiple times over. If they had an average of 64 offensive plays per game, that comes out to 8,192 snaps where at least one official handled the ball, not including playoff games. How is it possible that not a single offical to noticed anything in that time?
  • The stretch of 2007-2014 includes many current and former players. It's not realistic to think that all of them were aware and kept quiet, especially after leaving the team. It's also not realistic to think that NOBODY knew about it. So how many people knew, and who were they?
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Re: DeflateGate

Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:24 pm

The Egg wrote:
Looks like this is much more serious than originally thought. If those statistics are indeed correct, I'm left with the following questions:

  • Tom Brady has thrown around 65 interceptions since 2007. How is this the first time an opposing defender noticed the ball felt different?
  • Much more intriguing, the Patriots have played over 128 games since the beginning of the 2007 season, including every official in the NFL multiple times over. If they had an average of 64 offensive plays per game, that comes out to 8,192 snaps where at least one official handled the ball, not including playoff games. How is it possible that not a single offical to noticed anything in that time?
  • The stretch of 2007-2014 includes many current and former players. It's not realistic to think that all of them were aware and kept quiet, especially after leaving the team. It's also not realistic to think that NOBODY knew about it. So how many people knew, and who were they?


These are all excellent questions, unless of course everyone (or most everyone) has been doing it.
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Re: DeflateGate

Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:14 am

I'd heard a lot of talk from people on both sides of this and didn't have a strong opinion on the subject. But given my basic understanding of statistics those stats pretty well cinch it for me.
 
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Re: DeflateGate

Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:47 am

Kougar wrote:
I'd heard a lot of talk from people on both sides of this and didn't have a strong opinion on the subject. But given my basic understanding of statistics those stats pretty well cinch it for me.

The clincher for me is to find where on my first-linked graph Denver (as Peyton was the other QB advocating for the 2007 change) lies. That's right, second worst fumble record over the period of that graph.
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Re: DeflateGate

Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:18 am

(Full disclosure: I am a Colts fan)

First, I heard the rumor that the Patriots may have used deflated balls. I thought, "Sounds like something they would do, but it wouldn't have changed the game."

Then, we find out that 11 out of twelve balls tested under pressue (by ~2 psi, IIRC). I thought, "Okay, something is definitely fishy."

Now, we have statistics that show a stark change in ball handling (stop snickering!) in New England. I think, "This is a big effing deal."

Again, this would not have changed the outcome of the AFC Championship game played this year, but if they've been doing this for a long time, how many games would it have changed? If this gave the Patriots a 5 point advantage, then they lose in the divisional round this year (and Baltimore plays for the AFC Championship in Indianapolis). But go back farther. If you take away 5 points in every game New England played in 2014, they lose two additional games to the Jets and drop to 10-6. They still win the AFC East, but they lose homefield advantage AND a first round bye.
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Re: DeflateGate

Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:30 pm

I believe very little, if anything, of what I see at HuffPo, but the discussion needs to last until at least Monday morning, so here's their attempt at debunking some of those stats.
 
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Re: DeflateGate

Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:59 pm

so..if they only want outdoors games why not pull stats only from games played outdoors? Even a dome team (excluded from those) can play up to 8 games outside...and vice versa.

Anyhow, it's now looking like the NFL has egg on its face.
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 10:34 am

So after the Super Bowl and after the draft, it comes out that--more likely than not--the deflation was intentional, and Brady knew about it.

Interested to see what punishment--if anything--actually comes out of this, but let's be clear that no one wins from this. This casts a shadow on the Patriots, Tom Brady, and the League.
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 10:48 am

I feel like the punishment should be very severe. Take away their AFC and Super Bowl title, suspend Brady for at least 8 games, preferably more.

And no, this isn't because I'm from Seattle. I'm not suggesting that the Colts or Seahawks be named champions of the AFC or Super Bowl in the Patriots place.
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 11:09 am

adampk17 wrote:
I feel like the punishment should be very severe. Take away their AFC and Super Bowl title, suspend Brady for at least 8 games, preferably more.

And no, this isn't because I'm from Seattle. I'm not suggesting that the Colts or Seahawks be named champions of the AFC or Super Bowl in the Patriots place.

No Patriots fan here, but let's look at the scores. Assuming Brady got the soft balls he wanted in the first half, he threw one TD. When the balls were reinflated at halftime, he threw two more and dominated the Colts.

Is this something Belichick would do? Absolutely. He's a NASCAR team manager with the ethos of "it isn't wrong until I've been caught". Did it change the game in any appreciable way? Clearly no. From what I've read on sports sites not named ESPN, the "investigative report" isn't.

Many want to punish the Patriots as a whole and Belichick/Brady personally, mainly for the VideoGate affair, and are more than happy to grab on to weak conclusions in this report to get their revenge for what they think was whitewashed several years ago. Me, I'm a "just the facts" guy. Comes with the day job. Show me proof (and the Wells Report is far from proof) and I'll be the first to advocate for sanctions. No real proof, no sanctions.
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 11:18 am

Captain Ned wrote:

No Patriots fan here, but let's look at the scores.

Did it change the game in any appreciable way? Clearly no.



To me, neither of those points matter one teeny tiny iota. They cheated. If they didn't' need to cheat, but they still did, that just makes them stupid cheaters, not quasi-innocent.
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 11:29 am

The report struck me as saying "we don't have video evidence of Brady's hand in the cookie jar, but he does have crumbs around his mouth." The report did conclude that the balls were likely deflated intentionally (given that the pressure drop was greater than that of the "control" balls used by the Colts).

As I've said before, this is not an issue with the AFC championship game. If (and I will stress the "if") this happened in several games (like the divisional round against Baltimore) then we're seeing a very different playoff picture. Beyond that, it just doesn't sit well having a player/team sitting as league champions with evidence that rules were broken. Hence, "there are no winners here."

Also, the FiveThirtyEight crowd mentioned the Sharp analysis when this news broke. They pointed out that it should at least be looked into.
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 11:31 am

As a Colts fan, I would love nothing more than to see the Patriots get a huge punishment.

Yes, I'm biased, but I'm smart enough to know that the Patriots would've killed us in that game, deflated ball or not. However, they cheated, again. Knowingly, purposefully, and then those involved tried to cover it up. The report wouldn't win an arguement in a criminal case, but this isn't that, and there is enough evidence that a reasonable person could determine they cheated on purpose.

Throw the book at Brady, and give Belichick a suspension and fine as well. If Payton can get suspended a year for not knowing what his team was doing I fail to see how Belichick cannot.
 
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 11:42 am

5150 wrote:
The report wouldn't win an arguement in a criminal case, but this isn't that, and there is enough evidence that a reasonable person could determine they cheated on purpose.


Yep, this whole thing falls more into the preponderance of the evidence sort of realm. I think the Wells reports does fulfill that obligation without problem.

5150 wrote:
Throw the book at Brady, and give Belichick a suspension and fine as well. If Payton can get suspended a year for not knowing what his team was doing I fail to see how Belichick cannot.


Exactly
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 11:42 am

superjawes wrote:
The report struck me as saying "we don't have video evidence of Brady's hand in the cookie jar, but he does have crumbs around his mouth." The report did conclude that the balls were likely deflated intentionally (given that the pressure drop was greater than that of the "control" balls used by the Colts).

Then explain the second half of that game. I've got no skin in this one, but if one cheats, one expects a benefit from the cheat. The conditions for the cheat existed only in the first half and the score at halftime reflects a game still in play. The cheat was remedied at halftime and from then the game was a blowout.

Did the Patriots cheat? Evidence is trending to yes. Did they receive any benefit from the cheat? Based on how that game played, I'd have to say no. Should lack of benefit from a cheat be a defence to the cheat? Well, this is up to Roger Goodell and the chances of him sitting Brady for a season are minimal.

At the end of the day the rot is not among the teams. They all do similar things along the NASCAR ethos of "It's not wrong until I'm caught". Yes, Belichick is a master of where this edge lies but do not fool yourself, all teams push the limits as far as they feel comfortable. The real rot lies in the NFL office and their clear view that certain teams get breaks and the rest of them get screwed. Actually, not much different from NASCAR there as well. I don't think the NFL head office will ever forgive the Colts for the "Midnight Flight", especially given the current antics of their owner.
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 12:33 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Then explain the second half of that game. I've got no skin in this one, but if one cheats, one expects a benefit from the cheat. The conditions for the cheat existed only in the first half and the score at halftime reflects a game still in play. The cheat was remedied at halftime and from then the game was a blowout.

Did the Patriots cheat? Evidence is trending to yes. Did they receive any benefit from the cheat? Based on how that game played, I'd have to say no.

I agree that the outcome of the Colts game was not affected in any meaningful way. However, you're making the assumption that this was the one and only time Brady broke the rules and had balls deflated. I would call that extremely unlikely. It's possible that he did this for a good portion of last season, or maybe even YEARS for all we know. How many hotly contested games (such as the Baltimore divisional playoff) had their outcomes affected by this minor advantage?
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 12:42 pm

The Egg wrote:
I agree that the outcome of the Colts game was not affected in any meaningful way. However, you're making the assumption that this was the one and only time Brady broke the rules and had balls deflated. I would call that extremely unlikely. It's possible that he did this for a good portion of last season, or maybe even YEARS for all we know. How many hotly contested games (such as the Baltimore divisional playoff) had their outcomes affected by this minor advantage?

Whoever is responsible, clearly he/they thought they could get away with it in a championship game, so it isn't farfetched to think that they would have done it in less visible games.
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 12:59 pm

If you were at all surprised by the Wells report, you haven't been watching the Patriots for the past decade and a half. There is no doubt that Brady directed the flunky to deflate the footballs. The only thing in question is whether Roger Goodell dares to punish the golden boy. However, as my co-worker observed, at the end of the day, Tom is still going home with Giselle. :lol:


P.S.: My theory is that Tom Brady decided on January 19, 2002 that he wanted to deflate the football to make it easier to grip, though he would not have access to the game balls to start doing so until the rule change went into effect five years later.
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 2:26 pm

The statistical evidence is seriously damning. I can't say what Brady knew or didn't know; or whether he noticed or didn't notice. But from a purely statistical standpoint, starting in 2007 (coincidentally the league adopted new rules allowing teams to prep their own game balls) one of two things happened: Someone in the Pats organization found an old lamp, rubbed it, and made a wish; or there was some cheatin' going on in Foxborough.
 
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 2:34 pm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ear ... flategate/

The text messages are damning..and funny!

It sort of seems like Brady could be the instigator and perhaps belichick never knew.

No matter what the outcome is, football fans are not going to forget about this. Brady will always own this.
 
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 3:17 pm

Another interesting question that won't be answered for many, many years is if this affects his entrance in to the HoF.

Bonds, A-Rod, Clemens, Palmeiro, McGuire, etc.... those guys will never be in the baseball HoF because they cheated. I'm not saying what Brady did is perfectly analogous but it is in the same, ummmm... ballpark. :lol:
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Re: DeflateGate

Fri May 08, 2015 6:39 pm

MarkG509 wrote:
I believe very little, if anything, of what I see at HuffPo, but the discussion needs to last until at least Monday morning, so here's their attempt at debunking some of those stats.

I'n not a mathematician, but this explanation seems plausible to me...
"...The "data scientist" and the author validly assumed that fumbles per play followed a normal and then went ahead and calculated the Z-score based on plays per fumble, a variable that is strongly skewed to the right. Formally, X being normal does not imply that 1/X is also normal..."
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Re: DeflateGate

Mon May 11, 2015 4:36 pm

CBS News just broke the story that Brady's suspended for the first 4 games, Pats lose a first round draft pick and were fined $1M.
 
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Re: DeflateGate

Mon May 11, 2015 4:43 pm

MarkG509 wrote:
CBS News just broke the story that Brady's suspended for the first 4 games, Pats lose a first round draft pick and were fined $1M.

First round in 2016 and a 4th round in 2017. Brady can still be part of the team through camp & preseason; he just has to sit the first four games. The two yahoos who actually did the job cannot be part of football until and unless the NFL agrees.

And, of course, now it goes to the union and the lawyers. Probably take until the 2016 season to come to any final conclusion.
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